Departments - News Coverage

May 28, 2010

EPA Announces New Restrictions on
Phosphine Fumigants

Tragedy in Utah prompts EPA action.

By Brad Harbison

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A recent tragedy in which two Utah children (ages 4 and 15 months) died from having inhaled a phosphine fumigant used to treat a rodent burrow (on a residential property) has resulted in EPA taking action to restrict the use of products containing aluminum and magnesium phosphate.

Four-year-old Rebecca Toone and her 15-month-old sister, Rachel, died in February after an applicator treated the family’s lawn in Layton, Utah. Investigators said they believe toxic phosphine gas from the pellets seeped into the home and sickened the girls. The Utah Medical Examiner’s Office said both girls had elevated levels of phosphorous and lung damage "consistent with inhaling a harmful substance," according to a statement issued by the Layton Police Department.

In response, on April 7, EPA announced the new restrictions, which prohibit all uses of products containing aluminum and magnesium phosphate around residential areas; increases buffer zones for treatment around non-residential buildings that could be occupied by people or animals; and creates more protective product labeling.

INDUSTRY ACTIONS. NPMA Senior Vice President Bob Rosenberg met with EPA shortly after the Utah incident and was made aware that EPA would be acting quickly. Rosenberg and other members of NPMA’s Government Affairs Committee convened to discuss the issue.

OPC Pest Control President Donnie Blake, chair of NPMA’s Government Affairs Committee, said the committee surveyed members and made phone calls to find out how many pest management professionals were actually using these products and how many were using them specifically for residential burrow control.

"What we found is that the vast majority were not using them, particularly for residential burrow control," Blake said. "For that reason, with the type of difficult situation we were facing (the Utah case) we took a look at recommendations that were made, and the discussions that we had, and we decided that the EPA decision was the most reasonable outcome we could have had."

Rosenberg said the bottom line for pest management professionals is that the use of phosphine fumigants will be strictly prohibited around single and multi-family housing, but still permissible under certain conditions at athletic fields, parks and recreational areas, golf courses, cemeteries, airports, rights-of-way, earthen dams, and other non-residential institutional or industrial sites (see related story, right.).

INDUSTRY IMPACT. The practice of treating rodent burrows with phosphine fumigants is not widespread throughout the pest control industry. Aluminum and magnesium phosphide fumigants are primarily used to battle pests in grain silos and other agricultural operations. However, there are some pest management professionals that do use phosphine fumigants to treat for burrowing rodents, especially rodents such as prairie dogs, gophers, groundhogs, etc.

PCT Technical Editor Richard Kramer, president of Innovative Pest Management, Brookeville, Md., said this practice has inherent risks. Using phosphine pellets next to a structure is risky because as the gas is released it is going to rise into the structure and if someone is in the area they could be at risk, Kramer said. "Personally, it’s not something I would do. To me, using it in any scenario around a structure that might be occupied, even periodically, is a risky operation."

Kramer also said the industry has alternative effective tools that have minimal risks. "We’ve got a lot of good products out there. While (phosphine fumigants) might be a little more efficient, we have other tools. You can trap (burrowing animals), you can bait them and you can use dusts — although dusts have some limitations."

The practice of using fumigants for burrow control is more common in western states, where burrowing rodents such as prairie dogs and gophers are more prevalent. Thomas Rieland of Roy’s Pest Control & Tree Service, says his company has been using fumigants to treat burrows for 25+ years. He cited product efficiency as an important factor for choosing this method. "I am not aware of any product that works as well or as quickly and dissipates after usage," he says.

Rieland, who says Roy’s Pest Control & Tree Service does $25,000 per year in rodent burrowing control, says he would have rather seen stricter regulations with regards to training. "The material has been used safely for some time," he said. "It certainly is not as big a problem as Toyota is dealing with. From what I have read (the Utah case) sounds like a misapplication of the product by the applicator or, in short, human error. It’s something you cannot regulate, but you could (address) with increased training."

Rieland says his company is investigating alternative products but that "in the interim, gardens, fruit trees, etc., will be sacrificed."

The author is Internet editor and managing editor of PCT and can be contacted via e-mail at bharbison@giemedia.com.


What it Means to PCOs

Representatives of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and the product manufacturer met with EPA officials on a regular basis since late February about EPA’s concerns regarding the use of Fumitoxin in residential areas and prospective label language. What follows is a brief overview of the upcoming label revisions:

Use is strictly prohibited around all residential areas, including single and multi-family residential properties, nursing homes, schools (except athletic fields, where use may continue), day-care facilities and hospitals.

The products must only be used outdoors for control of burrowing pests, and are for use only on agricultural areas, orchards, non-crop areas (such as pasture and range land), golf courses, athletic fields, parks and recreational areas, cemeteries, airports, rights-of-way, earthen dams, and other non-residential institutional or industrial sites.

Products must not be applied in a burrow system that is within 100 feet of a building that is or may be occupied by people or domestic animals. This buffer zone for treatment around non-residential buildings that could be occupied by people or animals has been increased from 15 feet to 100 feet.

When this product is used in athletic fields or parks, the applicator must post a sign at entrances to the treated site containing the signal word DANGER/PELIGRO, skull and crossbones, the words: DO NOT ENTER/NO ENTRE, FIELD NOT FOR USE, the name and EPA registration number of the fumigant, and a 24-hour emergency response number. Signs may be removed two days after the final treatment.

When this product is used out-of-doors in a site frequented by people, other than an athletic field or park, the applicator shall post a sign at the application site containing the signal word DANGER/PELIGRO, skull and crossbones, the name and EPA registration number of the fumigant, and a 24-hour emergency response number. Signs may be removed two days after the final treatment.

Fumigant management plans must be written before all applications of phosphine products, including all burrowing pest fumigations. A fumigant management plan is a written description of the steps designed to plan for a safe, legal and effective fumigation. The certified applicator and owner of the property to be fumigated must characterize the area to be treated and include all safety requirements in the plan before application.

NPMA added that if PMPs have additional questions they should contact Bob Rosenberg or Gene Harrington at 703/352-6762.


Terminix launches
traveling bug exhibit

MEMPHIS, TENN. — Terminix in February unveiled a traveling educational exhibit – Harry’s Big Adventure: My Bug World! – at The Children’s Museum of Memphis.

The popular exhibit, developed by Terminix, is a multisensory experience that immerses visitors into the world of bugs. Hosted by Harry the Chinese praying mantis and his insect friends, the exhibit features live bugs, video, audio, games and more, and is designed to give spectators an up-close view of nature and a new perspective of the role insects play in our environment.

"As a company, we’ve always worked to advance the awareness and understanding of insects," said Tom Brackett, Terminix president and chief operating officer. "Given our knowledge and expertise of the insect world, it was only fitting that we develop this one-of-a-kind experience that celebrates insects in their natural environment and educates people about the complex role they play in our ecosystem."

Harry’s Big Adventure: My Bug World! takes visitors on a journey through the habitats, sights, sounds and social structures of some of the ecosystem’s smallest, yet most important contributors. Guests get an opportunity to explore freestanding habitats like a cropland, forest, meadow, swamp and even a house to see how insects and arthropods impact their surroundings, the environment and ultimately human lives. Special weekend programming features a live insect petting zoo, cricket spitting competitions, roach races and a bug chef, Terminix said.

Harry the Chinese praying mantis originally made headlines in 2008 when he traveled from Memphis, Tenn., to New Orleans, La., for the grand opening of Audubon Insectarium. Since then, Harry has journeyed to other science centers and children’s museums to educate the world about bugs and has enjoyed so much success that Terminix decided to create an exhibit to further his efforts.

Harry’s Big Adventure: My Bug World! is more than 3,000 square feet in size and will travel to educational centers around the country. The exhibit will be at The Children’s Museum of Memphis through June 13.

To learn more about the Children’s Museum of Memphis, visit www.cmom.com or call 901/458-2678.


Dow AgroSciences celebrates 15 years of Sentricon System

INDIANAPOLIS — This month marks the 15-year anniversary of the launch of the Sentricon Termite Colony Elimination System, the first termite bait to hit the market. Commercially introduced in 1995, the Sentricon System is manufactured by Dow AgroSciences and is one of the most widely recognized brands for subterranean termite protection.

"One of the most gratifying aspects of the Sentricon System has been the opportunity for ongoing innovations," says Dave Morris, commercial leader for the Dow AgroSciences U.S. Urban Pest Management business. "Developing new technologies and working with our industry partners to bring those technologies to market has meant added value to consumers. We appreciate our partners’ continued support and reaffirm our commitment to the continuous investment in the Sentricon System."

Last fall, Dow AgroSciences introduced the latest innovation to the system when it received U.S. EPA registration for Recruit HD termite bait, a new, durable bait. Recruit HD termite bait contains noviflumuron, the same active ingredient currently used in Recruit IV termite bait for the Sentricon System, but is contained in a special bait matrix designed to extend durability. Each Sentricon station featuring Recruit HD contains the new bait device at installation, and bait devices are intended to remain in the stations as long as a service contract is maintained.

The Sentricon System is the only termite control product ever to receive the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award, which recognizes technical innovation that incorporates the principles of green chemistry into design, manufacture and use. The bait used in the Sentricon System was the first termite treatment active ingredient accepted for registration under the EPA’s Reduced Risk Pesticide Initiative.

Dow AgroSciences says the system has been used at more than two million structures, including numerous historical structures, such as the White House, Statue of Liberty and Independence Hall.


Copesan helps raise money for Pi Chi Omega and the NPMA Foundation

WASHINGTON, D.C. — During its recent National Conference in Las Vegas, Nev., Copesan held a raffle to benefit two programs that contribute to the future of the pest management industry.

In total, conference attendees raised $5,525, which Copesan matched, bringing the total to over $11,000. Two organizations will receive the monies: Pi Chi Omega and National Pest Management (NPMA) Foundation. Pi Chi Omega will also receive $150, raised by auctioning the Stored Product Pest Identification Guide, which was donated by Gerry Wegner, technical director and staff entomologist of ProGuard Commercial Pest Solutions of Columbus, Ohio. Another $150 was raised by auctioning the Mallis Handbook of Pest Control, donated by Dr. Eric Smith, director of Technical Services at Dodson Bros. Exterminating Co., Lynchburg, Va.

Pi Chi Omega, a pest management industry fraternity, provides scholarships to entomology students. Several $1,000 scholarships are given each year to entomology students at universities across the country and around the world. The NPMA Foundation, which has been in existence for more than 30 years, provides grants for the research, development and refinement of pest management tools and techniques.

"Copesan is proud to support both the Pi Chi Omega scholarship fund and the NPMA Foundation for research" said Deni Naumann, president of Copesan. "Raising a record amount of money created a lot of excitement among our Partners and staff attending this event."

The raffle, sponsored by Syngenta, awarded prizes as follows:

  • Grand Prize – $1,000 Target Gift Card – Jim Schmitt, Wil-Kil, Appleton, Wis.
  • First Runner-Up – $500 Northwest/ Delta Airlines Voucher – Ray Kidwell, McCall Service, Jacksonville, Fla.
  • Second Runner-Up – $300 Wal-Mart Gift Card – Mike Rodgers, American Pest Management, Takoma Park, Md.
  • Third Runner-Up – $100 Starbucks Gift Card – Alfie Treleven, Sprague Pest Solutions, Tacoma, Wash.
  • Fourth Runner –Up – $100 Home Depot Gift Card – Michele Vance, Schendel Pest Services, Topeka, Kan.


Bed Bug Central announces dates for upcoming events

Lawrenceville, N.J. – If you’re interested in learning more about how to control bed bugs or expand your company’s service offerings to include this ubiquitous pest, Bed Bug Central is offering two valuable educational opportunities in the coming months.

First up are the summer sessions of BedBug University: Boot Camp, a four-day training course designed to shorten a PMP’s learning curve about all things bed-bug related, according to Phil Cooper, founder of Bed Bug Central. "With a three-to-one student/teacher ratio, these comprehensive training programs dramatically shorten the learning curve of companies interested in breaking into the bed bug market or enhancing their bed bug business model," he said. "The cost of registration also includes a full hour of post-attendance consultation with Bed Bug Central instructors, which is something PMPs who have already gone through the course really appreciate."

Summer sessions are scheduled for June 1-4 and August 24-27 at Bed Bug Central headquarters in Lawrenceville, N.J. For additional information, call 877/411-1142 or e-mail university@bedbugcentral.com.

Bed Bug Central is also hosting the inaugural BedBug University North American Summit 2010, Sept. 21-22 in Chicago, Ill. (see related story on page 36). Featuring a teacher faculty of leading university researchers and industry experts, the two-day conference will provide a comprehensive overview of the latest bed bug treatment techniques, as well as a discussion of how to avoid bed bug-related litigation and bed bug detection devices and techniques. For additional information about the summit, visit www.nabedbugsummit2010.com.


Professional Pest Management Alliance announces winner of
student PSA contest

FAIRFAX, VA. — The Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA) has announced the winner of its national science and technology competition for students on its educational children’s Web site, PestWorldForKids.org.

Red Bank Middle School, of Red Bank, N.J. has won the grand prize and will be awarded $3,000 in support of science education for its entry titled "Club Roach."

The contest challenged teachers and students in grades 4 through 8 to create educational Public Service Announcements (PSAs) that highlighted the health and property risks posed by household pests such as rodents, ants, termites, cockroaches, stinging insects and ticks.

"The Pest PSA Contest was designed to promote our industry and engage children in understanding the importance of professional pest management," said Missy Henriksen, executive director of PPMA. "We were thrilled to receive many excellent submissions, but Red Bank Middle School’s ‘Club Roach’ entry stood out for its creativity, originality, humor and emphasis on educational messaging about the threats posed by cockroaches and other household pests."

All entries were judged on criteria including originality and creativity, adherence to creative assignment, health messaging, and overall appeal. The top five finalists’ entries can be viewed at www.PestWorldForKids.org.


Protect-A-Bed opens office in United Kingdom

CHICAGO — Protect-A-Bed, a leading provider of bedding protection products with a presence in 27 countries, has acquired London-based Shine Capital Europe LTD which distributes Protect-A-Bed products across Europe. The acquisition creates a formal corporate presence for Protect-A-Bed in Europe.

Simon Zamet, owner of Shine Capital Europe LTD, has been named CEO for Protect-A-Bed Europe.

"This acquisition gives Protect-A-Bed a direct relationship with valuable customers across Europe," said Protect-A-Bed CEO James Bell. "Simon’s team in London is perfectly positioned to continue growing Protect-A-Bed’s reputation for superior bedding protection and bed bug management products."


Univar relocates its Sacramento supply office

AUSTIN, TEXAS — Univar USA recently relocated its West Sacramento, Calif., office just 10 minutes from the old location.

The new Pro Center location has a full service will-call display area and built in classroom facilities. The Sacramento facility will support sales operations for all areas surrounding Sacramento as far south as Stockton, east to Reno, west to Vallejo and north to Redding, Univar said.

The new 7,000-square-foot building has a full-service 3,000-square-foot showroom, where customers can shop for materials and see a variety of equipment and product displays. The new center also has a large training center and conference room which will be utilized for industry seminars. The training and conference areas will also be available for use by customers for their specific training and meeting needs. "The new facility was built for the purpose of providing better service and support to our customers on several different levels," said Terry Davis, sales manager for Univar. "The location is more centrally located to our customer base, the retail environment and showroom allows the customer to see the multitude of products available to them in differing package sizes, and finally, the training center was designed to increase the number of seminar offerings in a comfortable environment."

The facility is located at 198 Opportunity Street, Suite 4, Sacramento, Calif.


North Fulton Pest Solutions opens new corporate office

ALPHARETTA, GA. — North Fulton Pest Solutions (NFPS) announced the opening of its new office location in Alpharetta, Ga. The new 6,600-square-foot facility will house their corporate operations, as well as the Alpharetta branch. This new complex will also be home to the new 1,500-square-foot training center, set to open this summer.

"We are proud of our new state-of-the-art facility," said Joey Edwards, CEO of NFPS. "This now positions NFPS to expand our operations and to broaden our services related to the pest control industry, as well as the implementation of new services outside the scope of our industry."


DVD addresses pests and food-borne illnesses

ORLANDO, Fla. — "Pests on the Menu," a new 13-minute training DVD, explains how pests can spread illness and disease, and reviews preventive measures.

The DVD includes high-quality macro video of pests such as cockroaches, flies, birds and rodents, and explains how and where they can spread disease. It also emphasizes the importance of a good inspection; explains the Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points (HACCP) management system; and reviews the high costs of pest-related problems at an account.

"Pests on the Menu," was the brainchild of Steven Sklare of the Food Safety Academy, who recognized a need for a training tool that provides pest management professionals and food industry professionals with a better understanding of one another’s roles. Sklare’s idea was to resurrect and update a previous video produced several years ago by Jonathan Peck of Killgerm for use by UK-based Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH). Enlisting the help of Environmental Health Testing (EHT), a U.S. company partly owned by CIEH, the DVD was Americanized with audio narration by Orlando, Fla.-based IDEAS with assistance from Sklare. The video costs $49.95 and can be ordered online at https://www.nrfsp.com. — Brad Harbison


Breaking News: Univar acquires Southern Mill Creek Products of Ohio

Austin, Texas — Univar Professional Products & Services announced in late April that it had purchased Southern Mill Creek Products of Ohio, headquartered in Eastlake, Ohio.

"This is another step in our growth and commitment to the pest management marketplace," said John Bolanos, vice president of Univar. "The acquisition of SMCP allows Univar to further expand its business in important geographies. We can take advantage of SMCP’s strength and reputation and match it with our extensive customer-focused resources to create an even stronger source for all pest management companies."

"This is a growth step and a chance to share best practices," said Doug Ashbridge, president of Southern Mill Creek Products, who will remain in a key role with Univar. "We have the opportunity to share and build-on the best of both companies. Our cultures are based on great customer service with outstanding resources to support and assist our customers."

At present time, the existing warehouses and staff will all remain in place to serve all PMP customers. Customers and vendors should plan on conducting "business as usual." After the closing, customers and vendors can go to www.PestWeb.com/smcp for more specific information.



Comings & Goings

If your company has added new personnel, send a photo and press release to jdorsch@giemedia.com.

Dr. C. Kathleen Heinsohn, entomologist for NPMA since 2006, has left the association to join American Pest Management, Takoma Park, Md. Prior to working at NPMA, Heinsohn was employed by Western Pest Services, based in Virginia.

Fumigation Service & Supply has added two new managers to its team. Curt Lilleodden is now the regional manager of the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, office. Ryan Yutzy joined the headquarters in Westfield, Ind., as a safety coordinator and fumigator in training.

Jessica Z. Bassman joined Kness Mfg. Co. as its new director of sales and marketing. In this role, Bassman is responsible for leading the company’s sales and marketing efforts both domestically and internationally.

Carmen Tovar joined the PestWest team with responsibilities for the Caribbean and Central and South America. Previously, Tovar was the primary purchasing agent for an international greeting card company.

The Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA) appointed Tony Massey to its board of directors. Massey serves as the president and chief operations officer of Massey Services in Orlando, Fla., where he is responsible for all company operations including residential and commercial pest prevention, termite protection, landscape services, and Massey’s new construction division.


Anstar Products offers TrapRite Station instructional video

NILES, ILL. — Anstar Products recently filmed and posted an informational video in which President Jerry O’Hara provides instructions on how to effectively set up and use the company’s line of TrapRite Stations.

The stations are cardboard boxes available in a variety of sizes and designed to hold one or more standard rodent glueboards and snap traps and to be used in sensitive areas.

On the eight-minute video, O’Hara demonstrates the use and benefits of the cardboard stations, which are designed to hold one or more snaptraps or glueboards.

The TrapRite informational video can be accessed at the company’s web site, www.anstarproducts.com, under the heading, "Check out our latest video."


J.T. Eaton promotes
‘OneKey’ concept

TWINSBURG, Ohio — J.T. Eaton is asking the industry to consider adopting a "universal key" which could open bait stations regardless of make, model or manufacturer. The company says using a universal key would save time and labor costs, ultimately improving efficiency for companies.

To make the universal key concept a reality, the J.T. Eaton team has culled support from a number of industry stakeholders and is opening up discussions to the industry at large. Toward this end the company is offering pest management professionals (PMPs) free keys to all its Gold Key Stations, Mouse and Rat Fortresses and Rodent Rocks, and is also offering the diagrams and digital files for the Gold Key system to any manufacturer interested in using its proprietary locking system.

PMPs can learn more about the concept at http://onekeyindustry.org.



Send your announcement at least 14 weeks in advance to jdorsch@giemedia.com. For additional dates, visit www.pctonline.com/events.

June 29-July 1: Goose Damage Management Workshop, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Neb. Contact: Stephen Vantassel, svantassel2@unl.edu, call 402/472-8961 or visit http://icwdm.org.

July 22-24: NPMA Academy, Omni Resort at Championsgate in Orlando, Fla. Contact: NPMA, 703/352-6762 or visit www.npmapestworld.org.

July 23-24: University of Florida Associate Certified Entomologist (ACE) prep course, Orlando, Fla. Contact: call 352/273-3974 or visit http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/baldwin/webbugs/Florida_ACE.htm.

July 25-28: 93rd Annual meeting of the Florida Entomological Society, Jupiter Beach, Fla. Contact: www.flaentsoc.org/annual10.htm.

Aug. 3-5: Shooting in Sensitive Environments Workshop, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Neb. Contact: Stephen Vantassel, svantassel2@unl.edu or 402/472-8961 or visit http://icwdm.org.

Aug. 5-7: NPMA’s Carolinas/Mid-Atlantic Summer Conference 2010, Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Kiawah Island, S.C. Contact: See July 22.

Aug. 29 -Sept. 1: 2010 Association of Structural Pest Control Regulatory Officials Annual Meeting, Charleston, W.Va. Contact: Bonnie Rabe 505/646-2133 or brabe@nmda.nmsu.ed.

Sept. 7-10: RISE 20th Annual Meeting, Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island, Fla. Contact: 202/872-3860 or visit www.pestfacts.org.

Sept. 21-22: BedBug University North American Summit 2010, Chicago. Contact: Visit www.nabedbugsummit2010.com or call 877/411-1142.