Termites have found ways to adapt and thrive for, some estimate, more than 200 million years, living in soil, dry or damp wood and occasionally invading structures. Now, however, some Pacific dampwood termites, Zootermopsis angusticollis, have a new home in Termitat, a tabletop display that allows people to watch a small colony chew their way through wood.
ORIGINS. Termitat was created by Christopher Poehlmann, who developed the idea after designing habitats for other species of social insects for a San Francisco natural history museum. “I discovered this species, the Pacific dampwood termite, while doing the research for this project,” Poehlmann said. “I decided then that this species would make an ideal display animal for a desktop exhibit for home, office, school and museum.”
He added that these termites are ideal because they are large, easy to observe, function well in small colony sizes and are relatively easy to collect in the forests of the West Coast.
Poehlmann began a Kickstarter funding campaign in 2015 and was able to start his online Termitat business by the end of that year. Since then, Termitat has been marketed toward anyone who has an appreciation for the natural world, including “schools, universities, educators, pest control service operators, natural history institutions and those enlightened Homo sapiens that are curious about a fellow species that has also figured out the most successful organization strategy for survival in Earth: sociality,” said Poehlmann.
“My favorite customer is one who hears about the idea and is immediately fascinated by it.” Those are the “wow” people versus the “eww” people, he said.
MAINTENANCE. Termitat comes in two designs, the Tripod Model and the Tower model, $125 and $150, respectively. Both models include a 32-page illustrated manual for directions and a water syringe for maintenance. Poehlmann said that maintaining Termitat is simple; owners only need to add a small amount of non-chlorinated water every two weeks with the syringe. Termitat should be kept in a cool spot that does not receive direct sunlight.
“The termites are very industrious and keep everything tidy, organized, sealed against too much air movement and nothing is wasted, so the expired colony members are consumed,” Poehlmann said. “Instructions for the occasional watering and placement selection are easy and included.”
The water is deposited in a recessed hole at the top of the display and keeps the Pacific dampwood termites in their preferred environment of damp wood, which allows for optimal viewing of termite activity. Once the wood slice has been chewed through, Poehlmann said Termitats can be returned to him, and a new wood slice, molded ring and colony, if needed, is installed for a small fee. The Termitat is then returned via USPS Priority Mail.
Poehlmann added that there is no worry of termites escaping the Termitat because the case around the wood slice is constructed of ¼-inch acrylic, and one has yet to be broken.
MESSAGE. The appeal of Termitat, Poehlmann said, is that it gives people (not PMPs!) a glance into a world they would not normally have access to and can teach about scientific topics such as adaptation, biology, evolution and sociology.
“We are a fellow species with the termites on this big, universal experiment involving life forms on a water planet flying around a star,” he said. “It might be a great idea to learn and appreciate some of the great success stories in this experiment. These stories will instill a wonder and awe in this big picture and might even give us clues as to how to make our own story one of long-term survival and continuing higher evolutionary success.”
To learn more, visit https://termitat.com. — Kierra Sondereker
BirdBGone announced two new assets: a new website and catalog.
The company says the new www.birdbgone.com website improves the overall customer experience and offers complete access to resources, including:
- Full product offerings
- Best-practice tips and tricks
- Sales and marketing tools
- BirdBGone University
- Education videos
The fully redesigned BirdBGone catalog integrates a layout with logical, step-by-step processes for more accurate specification of bird deterrents. The product arrangement allows the reader to easily navigate and locate products, while presenting essential information in a precise format, the company says.
“Our new website and catalog have launched right in time for bird season. These assets will provide the highest-quality information for bird species identification, Authorized Installer connection, and most importantly, accurate product specification,” said David Smith, BirdBGone chief operating officer. “The BirdBGone team strives for world-class customer experience, and these resources are yet another way we will support our professional bird control providers.”
Terramera says its Cirkil Vapropad is an easy-to-use, sprayless treatment that penetrates deep using plant-based vapor action to kills bed bugs, dust mites and their eggs in as little as 24 hours. Vapropad gets deep into the cracks and crevices of items that can’t be laundered such as electronics, books, luggage, clutter, furniture and mattresses when placed inside a treatment bag.
The product is 100 percent effective when used as directed, reaches hidden areas without spraying, leaves no harmful residue, is a plant-based biopesticide, and is effective against pyrethroid-resistant bed bugs and their eggs, the company says. Cirkil Vapropads are available in a Mattress Treatment (five Vapropads and one Mattress Treatment bag) or Electronics & Clutter Treatment (10 Vapropads and five Clutter Treatment bags).
Fibertrap, a micro-technology company headquartered in Holbrook, N.Y., has introduced a new bed bug trap. Fibertrap uses microfiber trapping technology to attack bed bugs’ physical traits and prevent the insect from evolving away the weakness the trap exploits. The device measures 3 by 2½ by ¾ inches and employs specific lures, appealing to three of the five senses and inviting bed bugs into the microfiber traps. As bed bugs’ legs come in contact with the cloud of microfiber, specifically tailored loop structures
entangle their legs, making them struggle and die of exhaustion, according to the manufacturer. Each of the five traps has an adhesive backing, making it possible to catch bed bugs in favored hiding places.
The product has been in development for seven years and was the brainchild of the late Glen Nelson, CEO and founder of the Matrix Realty Group, after a recurring bed bug issue plagued a New Jersey apartment building. Dr. Shan ‘Harry’ He, vice president and chief scientist at Fibertrap, explained, “We specifically designed the mechanical strength of the fiber network such that it can entangle the bed bug legs without breaking or flowing. Without the ability to move, they struggle and eventually die of exhaustion.”
Power Selling Pros
Customer service and call-handling training company Power Selling Pros announced the launch of PowerChats, an artificial intelligence-powered chat service exclusively for those serving home service industries.
Utilizing more than 10 years of knowledge of how to nurture incoming leads and create positive customer experiences, Power Selling Pros was able to create an innovative online chat service that, according to Power Selling Pros and PowerChats Founder/President Brigham Dickinson, converts web users into leads at a much higher rate than other lead-capture tools. “Our data shows that we generate more leads, positive reviews and completed chats than companies that only offer live chat,” Dickinson said. “The problem is most businesses treat their website like an empty storefront; it’s pretty, but no one is there to greet the customer. PowerChats greets the customer, captures their lead info and does so faster than other tools.”
PowerChats works by offering website visitors a user-friendly interface and a clear choice that allows them to dictate how they want to steer the chat. The company says by offering consumers the ability to choose whether they want to chat, leave a review, schedule an appointment or call the business, potential leads arrive at their desired destination or outcome in less time. This results in more completed chats, more lead information captured and happier customers, the company adds.
Power Selling Pros says the technology is versatile, with customizable interfaces and Facebook Messenger integration, among other features that all work to modernize the communication between customers and home service businesses.
“By combining our expertise in customer-service training with the technology element of an AI-powered chat service, we’re able to help companies own the customer conversation,” Dickinson said.
Editor’s note: Suppliers, if you offer mosquito control products that you would like to have highlighted in an upcoming issue, please send a press release and a high-resolution photo to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Catchmaster brand continues to expand its line of intelligent pest management tools with the launch of Final Feed — the company’s first mosquito bait. Catchmaster says this innovative formula stands apart from other mosquito sprays as the only proven method to attract mosquitoes, kill most within one to two days, reduce appetites and collapse populations.
The first and only mosquito bait available on the market, Catchmaster says Final Feed mimics mosquitoes’ natural food source to bait, kill and collapse. The dual action formula — part attractant and part killing agent — is composed of natural sugars to first attract mosquitoes to the bait, while the microencapsulated active ingredient (garlic oil, 0.4 percent) reduces their appetite and then kills them. A key component of Integrated Mosquito Management, Final Feed stops the breeding cycle, reduces mosquito populations by 90 percent within two to three weeks and controls for up to four weeks, the company says.
“We couldn’t be more excited about this extremely innovative and ground-breaking formula. It stands alone in the market as the only mosquito bait in the industry, yet remains safe for families and pets and actually gets the job done. Eco-friendly and effective are two priorities for the Catchmaster brand. We are excited to add to our growing mosquito control line and look forward to Final Feed hitting the marketplace,” says Jonathan Frisch, vice president of sales and marketing, AP&G Co.
With mosquitoes presenting an under-utilized source of revenue for PMPs nationwide, Final Feed proves to be an incremental revenue opportunity for this group and easily fits a monthly service schedule, Catchmaster says. Final Feed is a non-toxic, environmentally safe alternative to typical mosquito pesticides, is safe to use around people, pets and food, making it ideal for even the most sensitive accounts, the manufacturer adds.
Final Feed mosquito bait is classified as a 25(b) exempt minimum risk pesticide by the U.S. EPA. With this classification, Final Feed has been determined to pose little to no risk to human health or the environment and does not need to be registered under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).
The Catchmaster brand has been trusted in the pest management industry for more than 40 years. The launch of Final Feed allows the brand to expand their mosquito line, which already includes the Ovi-Catch mosquito trap. Ovi-Catch prevents the hatching of up to 1,000 mosquitoes per each female caught, the company says. Final Feed and Ovi-Catch combine to form an effective, low-cost integrated mosquito management program in an eco-friendly way.
“Final Feed is a game-changing mosquito control product,” says Dr. Stan Cope, vice president of technical products and services, AP&G Co., and past president of the American Mosquito Control Association. “The efficacy and environmental safety are solidly backed by peer-reviewed, published science. The use of Final Feed also helps combat insecticide resistance, which is an increasing problem in mosquitoes. PMPs and their customers now have a reliable, effective and easy-to-use mosquito control product to add to the public health toolbox.”
B G Equipmentwww.bgequip.com
The Versa-Fogger is a lightweight (26 pounds) backpack fogger designed and configured for backyard mosquito control. The weight is balanced to accommodate extended use and its adjustable nozzle delivers a consistent droplet size for effective barrier treatment, the company says. The fogger has the following features:
- Droplet size is ideal for covering the top and bottom of leaf surfaces, without runoff and dripping from leaf surfaces. Ten percent of the spray droplets are suitable for adult mosquito control.
- Low nozzle air-speed provides uniform coverage of backyard vegetation, without pushing spray droplets into non-target areas.
- Pressurized formulation tank ensures consistent flow rate to the nozzle and uniform droplet size throughout application time.
- Versa-Fogger nozzle delivers 6 ounces per minute and a 21-minute application time from the 1-gallon formulation tank.
- Honda GX35 engine has a run time of 50 minutes from a full fuel tank.
- Versa-Fogger nozzle is designed to handle formulations for barrier application and adult mosquito control. The adjustable nozzle delivers 32- to 35-micron (VMD) droplets; 10 percent of the spray droplets are below 17 microns and suitable for adult mosquito control.
- Nozzle delivery and droplet size have been calibrated by USDA — Agriculture Research Service. (Droplet data is available from email@example.com.)
Control Solutions guarantees 90 days of no callbacks after PMPs apply ProFlex for residential control of mosquitoes. The company says the combination of lambda-cyhalothrin, novaluron and pyriproxyfen provides superior performance with the security of CSI’s ProFlex 90-day Mosquito Program Program. (The program ends Nov. 20, 2019.)
ProFlex is a microencapsulated concentrate containing lambda-cyhalothrin, novaluron and pyriproxyfen. These three active ingredients provide three modes of action that make ProFlex a fast-acting and long-lasting solution for several hard-to-control pests including mosquitoes, cockroaches, fleas and ticks.
For more than 20 years, Control Solutions has been a leader in the development of sustainable pest control formulations with the industry’s widest array of active ingredients, the company says. As one of the 40 subsidiaries that make up ADAMA, Control Solutions says it is proud to represent the company’s global approach to innovation, product development and the strictest standards of environmental protection and quality control.
More than 300 PMPs in the U.S. market use the In2Care Mosquito Trap, an environmentally friendly and effective tool, to control day-biting mosquitoes, the company says. In2Care says its Mosquito trap is an innovative control tool that uses adult Aedes mosquitoes to spread larvicide to surrounding breeding sites. The trap efficiently kills both larvae and adult mosquitoes, the firm says. The product is exclusively distributed in the U.S. by Univar Solutions.
In2Care says its Mosquito Trap offers the following benefits:
- A unique, environmentally friendly solution to kill mosquitoes.
- It can be used by pest managers in combination with other mosquito control methods.
- The Mosquito Trap can be used on small and large mosquito control jobs.
- Deployment training and comprehensive marketing/sales sup-port tools are available.
- The placement of approximately two traps per average yard is sufficient.
- Time required for control is reduced because the Mosquito Trap system only requires monthly servicing, which can be done in minutes.
The trap’s first active ingredient is pyriproxyfen (PPF), a WHO-recommended mosquito larvicide that is effective in the water of the Trap and kills the pre-adult stage of the mosquito. A bonus is that PPF can be spread to other breeding sites, In2Care says. The egg-laying mosquito becomes contaminated with PPF particles, which adhere to her skin. Because of her behavior, she flies from one water source to another, spreading a small amount of PPF to all breeding sites, which prevents the development of larvae into biting adults covering an area of at least 4,300 square feet. The second active ingredient is a fungus that’s safe for mammals and humans but toxic to mosquitoes, the company says. The fungus spores infect the mosquito upon contact and kill it within a few days. The fungus grows slowly enough to allow the female mosquito to continue to spread the PPF to several breeding sites in the area. When infected with the fungus, the mosquito’s ability to blood-feed and potentially transmit disease is heavily reduced.
OneGuard Multi MoA Concentrate is the all-in-one mosquito control solution that pest management professionals will want to use this season, MGK says. Formulated for mosquito control, OneGuard features a knockdown agent, a microcapped residual adulticide, NyGuard IGR insect growth regulator and a synergist for enhanced control. OneGuard delivers effective knockdown, long-lasting control, and reduces mosquito populations by inhibiting adult emergence, the company says. This all-in-one solution is easy-to-use, eliminates guesswork and saves PMPs time in the field when compared to tank-mixing multiple products, MGK reports.
Nature-Cide says using a 25(b) exempt product falls in line with an IPM approach for the control of mosquitoes. In normal weather conditions for applications from 2 to 4 ounces per gallon of water for heavy infestations, Nature-Cide Pest Management X2 gives 21 to 30 days of a control factor for mosquitoes. Nature-Cide Pest Management X2 also can be applied near or around bodies of water such as ponds, streams and/or lakefront properties without causing a negative environmental impact or harming beneficial fish, the company says. Nature-Cide Pest Management X2 can be combined with an IGR and/or sticker and applied using mist blowers, power sprayers and backpack sprayers to ensure lasting coverage in large areas of vegetation growth, where mosquitoes breed and find harborage. The Nature-Cide Pest Management X2 also can be used in conjunction with Nature-Cide Granular, which can be spread on turf, bedding and ground areas where small puddles of water form, which could allow mosquitoes to breed.
EcoVia MT Mosquito & Tick Control is among the latest of Rockwell Labs’ FIFRA 25(b) exempt and research-based botanical insecticides, featuring naturally derived active ingredients, the manufacturer reports. Rockwell Labs says its EcoVia MT is designed for use in compressed air sprayers, mist blowers and foggers to deliver quick kill control and residual repellency for optimal mosquito and tick management outdoors and in unfinished indoor areas such as attics, basements, garages and sheds. Key product features include:
- EcoVia MT’s concentrated form- ula results in low use rates (0.33 ounce/gallon for mosquitoes and deer ticks).
- It can be fogged over water with no set-back.
- Like other FIFRA 25(b) products, there are no notification requirements (PMPs should verify by checking with state regulations).
- There are no pyrethroid application restrictions.
- Its water-based formula will not leave behind an oily residue.
EcoVia MT is available in a 16-ounce squeeze-n-measure bottle and a 64-ounce tip-n-measure bottle. This Green Zone product is suitable for green service programs, Rockwell Labs says.
The Demand CS insecticide and Archer insect growth regulator (IGR) Multipak is PMPs’ mosquito solution in one box, Syngenta says. This cost-effective combination can be used as part of the SecureChoice Mosquito Assurance Program to provide homeowners with a significant reduction in mosquito populations for up to 60 days, the company adds.
The Demand CS + Archer Multipak contains two 1-quart bottles of Demand CS and five 1-pint bottles of Archer, providing up to 80 finished gallons of solution when using Demand CS at the high-labeled rate and Archer at the low-labeled rate. Additionally, the Multipak qualifies for yearlong savings as part of the PestPartners 365 Program.
Demand CS is formulated with proprietary iCAP technology, which features microcaps of multiple sizes that provide immediate and residual control of adult mosquitoes, Syngenta says. As an IGR, Archer can help further suppress mosquito populations by controlling mosquito larvae before they hatch into adults. Using Demand CS and Archer together every 60 days can help manage mosquitoes throughout the season, the company adds.
Zoëcon Professional Productswww.zoecon.com/mosquito-control
Mosquitoes don’t just take the fun out of time outdoors…they pose a serious health risk, spreading diseases like West Nile, chikungunya and Zika viruses. Zoëcon Professional Products says PMPs can help their customers reclaim outdoor spaces with treatments from its line of products that address every stage of the life cycle, including larvicides, such as Altosid Pro-G Insect Growth Regulator, which prevent mosquito populations from growing, and insecticides, such as Lambda 9.7 CS, which provide customers with the immediate relief they seek.
Pest management professionals can visit the company’s website to learn more about the mosquito control solutions from Zoëcon Professional Products, including resources, brochures, white papers and a webinar on mosquito control.
Suspend PolyZone, from the Pest Management & Public Health business of Bayer, is a residual spray that combines the active ingredient, deltamethrin, with a proprietary polymer suspension. The proprietary polymer formulation provides a more even surface distribution of the active ingredient, which results in increased bioavailability to the target pest, mosquitoes, Bayer says. This controlled release formulation, which resists erosion, ensures pest management professionals’ treatments will continue to control targeted pests for up to 90 days. It stays effective where it’s sprayed even in tough conditions, the company adds.
QualityPro is now accepting applications from accredited companies looking to certify their mosquito and rodent services through the new QualityPro Public Health certification program. QualityPro Public Health is designed to equip pest management companies with resources they need to build science-based, effective and commercially viable services that control pests of public health significance and a marketable brand to help advertise certified services, QualityPro officials state. The certification also includes access to national exams and study resources.
The QualityPro Board of Directors worked closely with an 11-person task force to develop the QualityPro Public Health service certification standards and establish a formal process for earning and maintaining the credentials. The task force was comprised of representatives from the National Pest Management Association, the American Mosquito Control Association, the National Environmental Health Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Entomological Society of America, in addition to participants from a vector control district, universities and pest management companies.
QualityPro Public Health is available to all QualityPro accredited companies. Those interested in certifying their mosquito or rodent services apply by submitting a $100 application fee, along with service documentation that advises employees of the proper way to perform the specific service and educates customers on what they can expect when the technician arrives. Learn more at www.npmaqualitypro.org.
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in a PCT e-newsletter titled “Targeting Mosquitoes,” which was sponsored by MGK.
There isn’t a pest management professional out there that hasn’t ventured out on a limb and added a new service in the hopes of generating new revenue streams and establishing a deeper, more profitable relationship with customers.
From wildlife services to mold remediation to lawn care and pool cleaning, pest professionals have tried it all with varying levels of success.
A service more pest professionals are considering adding to their offerings is one many customers assume they already perform — mosquito control.
Depending on where your business is located, there may be a local mosquito control board or other government entity that provides remediation services but these treatments do not significantly impact mosquito pressure in a homeowner’s backyard. This creates an opening for pest management professionals to step in and provide their expertise.
When Scherzinger Pest Control in Cincinnati, Ohio, decided to add mosquito control to its stable of residential pest services, it took a measured approach.
“We had been watching the market and saw more and more requests from customers asking for mosquito control,” says Eric Scherzinger, vice president of procurement and marketing for the company, which serves residential and commercial clients in the greater Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus markets. “They just assumed since we were the ‘pest’ guys that we did it.”
In 2014 and 2015, Scherzinger test marketed the service at the homes of employees and select customers and with a positive response, the company made its initial push to existing customers in 2016.
“We experienced a better-than-average response from our existing residential customers, which told us the demand was there to open it up to everyone,” Scherzinger said.
As a result, the company made the decision to offer the service to customers.
“Our technicians sell and service both general pest control and termite services so it was a natural fit,” adds Scherzinger. “It gave our techs another valuable service in their toolbox to solve a customer’s problem.”
Scherzinger says adding mosquito services also has led to more production from technicians and contributed to higher customer retention rates.
“We were able to realize some solid organic growth with a service many customers were shocked to find out we didn’t offer five years ago,” says Scherzinger.
The fourth-generation pest professional notes that increased awareness of the public health threat mosquitoes present contributed to an uptick in customer interest.
“You can never play on the fears of the public when explaining the value of pest management services but the timing of the Zika outbreak and us introducing mosquito services to our existing customers certainly did lead to more questions, which we were happy to answer,” adds Scherzinger.
“We are opening doors with both new and existing customers with a service that fits in our wheelhouse,” says Scherzinger, who notes the company has expanded its service footprint by opening an office in Ohio’s largest city — Columbus. “We have built our brand as a full-service, full-time provider of pest solutions for customers and mosquito services complements that nicely.”