Editor’s note: More than 230 entomologists and others from academia and industry attended the National Conference on Urban Entomology and Invasive Fire Ant Conference last week in New Mexico. Much of the current and future research in the structural pest control industry was reviewed and previewed at this bi-annual event. Dr. Grzesiek Buczkowski, Purdue University, attended this year’s event and provides highlights in the following article.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — More than 233 people attended the National Conference on Urban Entomology, held last week in Albuquerque, N.M., making this year’s event the second highest attended ever. In fact, five people from outside the U.S. attended the NCUE, so if this trend continues, perhaps we’ll need to change the name to International Conference on Urban Entomology.
Conference and Program Chair, Dr. Kyle Jordan (BASF), did an excellent job planning the conference. Industry sponsors contributed funds that made the conference possible.
It was the first time the National Conference on Urban Entomology was held together with the Invasive Fire Ant Conference. The two meetings had been held separately over the past few decades, but recently a proposal was made to have a joint meeting. The first joint meeting was a great success and future NCUE meetings will likely include the Fire Ant Conference.
It was also the first time the conference had a symposium dedicated wholly to rodents. The symposium, Urban Rodent Control, highlighted the recent developments in urban rodent management. This included rat, mouse, and gopher management in urban settings, and field evaluations of new bait formulations for rodent management.
Dr. John Klotz of University of California Riverside (emeritus) received the 2016 Distinguished Achievement in Urban Entomology Award and presented the 2016 Arnold Mallis Memorial Lecture titled “Trailing with the ants.”
A student paper competition was held to provide the opportunity for students to present their research and compete for awards. Sydney Crawley (University of Kentucky) won 1st place, Aaron Ashbrook (Purdue University) won 2nd place, and Mark Janowiecki (Texas A&M) won 3rd place. In addition, Sudip Gaire (New Mexico State University) received the Master’s of Science Award and Zachary DeVries (North Carolina State University) received the Doctoral Award.
The conference included more than 100 presentations (see program). Because the NCUE conference was combined with the Fire Ant Conference, the majority of talks (35) were on advances in managing invasive and urban pest ants. Other topics included IPM outreach in urban settings, indoor biomes, mosquito management in residential and commercial settings, gaps and challenges in urban pest control strategies, termite control, bed bug management, and pest prevention in buildings.
A special symposium was held on “The Future of Urban Entomology.” The symposium was organized by Dr. Shripat Kamble and included talks by prominent urban entomologists on the challenges and opportunities in the field of urban entomology. Despite some challenges, such as entomology department mergers and reduced funding, urban entomology continues to be a strong field and offers almost unlimited possibilities.
Due to the recent interest in mosquito control, the conference had a symposium on “Barrier Applications for Mosquito Management in Residential Settings.” The symposium was organized by Syngenta Crop Protection and included eight speakers from a variety of industries and universities. Topics ranged from the evaluation of various barrier applications for controlling container mosquitoes to backyard mosquito treatments, to public and community-wide management approaches. In addition the conference had a panel discussion on the Zika virus. Mosquito control was arguably the “hottest” topic of the conference.
Social activities included the Awards Luncheon (sponsored by Bayer), Evening at the Albuquerque Museum (sponsored by BASF), and a dinner combined with a visit to the Sandia Peak Tramway (sponsored by Syngenta). Fun was had by all (until the next morning).
The next meeting will be held on May 2018 in Raleigh, N.C. The meeting does not give CCH credits to PMPs but presents lots of valuable information and is certainly worth attending. Registration for the 2 1/2 day meeting is only $200.