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Three new species of colorful scarab beetles named after dragons in the television series “Game of Thrones” are featured in a recently published book-length monograph by University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) researcher Dr. Brett Ratcliffe.
Gymnetis drogoni is from Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay; Gymnetis rhaegali is from French Guiana; and Gymnetis viserioni is from Panama, Colombia and Ecuador.
Although Ratcliffe is a “Game Of Thrones” fan, the names were chosen to draw attention to biodiversity. “When you create names like these, you do it to gain a little bit of notoriety and bring public attention to it,” he told the Associated Press. “We’re still discovering life on Earth. One of every four living things on Earth is a beetle. We haven’t discovered them all. We’re not even close.”
The new monograph from Ratcliffe, who also is the curator of the Entomology Research Collections at the University of Nebraska State Museum, is the culmination of a decades-long research project on a group of chafers that live in Central and South America, according to a UNL press release.
In addition to the three new species named after “Game of Thrones” dragons, the text includes five other new species among the 56 in the book. It can be ordered at here.
Ratcliffe has conducted field research in the tropical forests of Central and South America virtually every year for more than 45 years. He has spent his career at Nebraska training graduate students and promoting increased communication, sharing specimens, techniques and data to colleagues and students around the world to better understand the megadiversity of beetles and their important role in natural ecosystems.
Ratcliffe’s lab at UNL is known as Team Scarab, and he was responsible for bringing to UNL the U.S. National Collection of Scarab Beetles from the Smithsonian Institution for a lengthy period of off-site enhancement. The scarab beetle collection at Nebraska is among the five largest in the world.
Control Solutions Inc. has introduced ProFlex, which is part of the firm’s encapsulated solutions family. 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, the company says.
Bell Laboratories announced the registration and launch of Contrac Soft Bait for the Canadian market. Similar to Bell’s Contrac Bait Blox, Contrac Soft Bait is made using the firm’s bromadiolone formulas, which are known for their outstanding rodent acceptance and control, the company says. Contrac Soft Bait underwent comprehensive field testing in urban, rural, commercial and residential settings, Bell Labs reports.
In addition to its rodent acceptance and control, Bell’s Contrac Soft was specially formulated with an optimal blend of saturated and unsaturated fats. In addition, the manufacturing process further increases bait acceptance by ensuring maximum contact of the paper sachet to the soft bait, the company adds. Contrac Soft Bait’s preservative package is designed to withstand almost any climate, meaning the bait won’t freeze, mold or melt.
Contrac Soft Bait is available in a 16-pound pail size; this Soft Bait pail is differentiated from all other Bell Laboratories pails with an orange lid for easy identification. Contrac Soft Bait is available in 10g sachets with a minimum mouse placement of 10g and a minimum rat placement of 90g.
Central Life Scienceswww.centrallifesciences.com
Gentrol Complete Aerosol by Zoëcon combines an Insect Growth Regulator and an insecticide for quick knockdown and residual control of cockroaches, fruit flies, ants and 21 other listed pests. Offering the advantages of a tank mix in a convenient aerosol, this one-step solution saves on labor costs by breaking the pest life cycle — preventing reinfestations, Zoëcon says. Ideal for use in sensitive treatment areas, including food-handling establishments, Gentrol Complete can be applied as a general surface spray, spot treatment or crack-and-crevice spray.
Nisus says its imidacloprid-based iSTRIKE Insecticide Foam is a go-to product for WDOs: wood-boring beetles, carpenter bees, subterranean and drywood termites and listed ants. iSTRIKE kills on contact as the foam fills galleries, voids and holes, leaving a residual to continue protection. Specifically designed for residential structures, Nisus says the easy-to-use aerosol can comes with a flexible applicator hose and two tips: one for narrow cracks and crevices or small holes, and a wide tip for larger holes and wider area application.
Polyguard can help homes and commercial properties keep the outside out and the inside in, including water, moisture and pests. Knowing how pests enter a structure helps PMPs design programs to keep them out and many PMPs have realized the value of preventive programs focused on keeping pests out and less on pesticide use, the firm says. Polyguard from TERM Barrier Systems is backed by 18 years of university research and ICC Evaluation Report #3632. PMPs can optimize building waterproofing by adding non-chemical termite barriers like Polyguard.
Fleetio launched an integration with national and independent automotive maintenance shops around the United States to allow its users to automatically record service data in Fleetio from a repair shop’s point of sale, electronically approve repair orders and get one bill including all maintenance vendors.
Through Fleetio’s Maintenance Provider Network, users can automatically pull data into Fleetio from more than 30,000 maintenance shops including national providers like Firestone, Pep Boys, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) (including Dodge and Jeep), Sears Auto Center and Monro Auto Service and Tire Centers. The network includes more than 22,000 independent shops. Many national providers that are a part of the Maintenance Provider Network are offering Fleetio customers exclusive fleet discounts and regular special offers.
Fleetio says its Shop Integration gives users increased control over repair order approvals and improves efficiency, allowing fleets to get vehicles out of the shop and back on the road faster. Users can set up automatic approvals based on certain parameters like price, service type and vendor, or users can choose to receive instant notifications for repair work and approve or deny them with one click.
“We’re automating many of the outsourced maintenance processes that fleet management companies have been facilitating through large staffs and call centers for the past couple decades,” said Tony Summerville, founder and CEO of Fleetio. “With our shop integration, we’re bringing control and visibility back to the fleet customer at a much more cost-effective price point.”
SiteOne Landscape Supply launched a mobile-friendly e-commerce website that allows customers, including PMPs, to place orders from anywhere at any time. Customers can search product availability, get access to their specific pricing and place orders for pickup or delivery on the website 24/7.
“The new SiteOne.com is a major step forward in customer convenience,” said Doug Black, CEO. “We’ve completely redesigned the online capabilities for our customers to save them time and make ordering easier than ever before. In addition to finding product availability and pricing, they can also create custom lists to help organize their needs for particular jobs or seasonal purchasing during the year. Additionally, a local SiteOne associate will review orders when they are placed on the site to make sure customers get what they need, when they need it. We are very excited to deliver this new level of service to our customers.”
To take full advantage of the new site’s features, users must set up an online account. Once registered, customers will be able to place orders, manage their account and access many other new features. In addition to the site’s enhanced e-commerce abilities, SiteOne.com provides resources such as video tutorials, business tips, product category specific articles, industry event information and more.
As younger generations continue to join the workforce, there is increasing pressure to include digital learning within training programs. For years, the use of technology within corporate learning centered around a single platform: the learning management system (LMS). Now, as technology becomes more integrated into the workflow, additional digital learning strategies are starting to supplement the tried-and-true LMS platform.
Digital learning utilizes electronic technologies to access educational resources outside of a traditional classroom. This can range from a course or program that is delivered online through an LMS, to just-in-time training videos that are available to technicians the moment they need it in the field. It also may include software programs that help your learners interact with the material as you are presenting it, and games that test your learners’ mastery of the material. Most importantly, digital learning is not simply a PDF of text or a PowerPoint presentation.
Incorporating digital learning into a training program provides both short- and long-term benefits to learners and their employers. In the short-term, digital learning brings interactivity to training that was unheard of just a few years ago. It allows learners to practice with the material, which can lead to improved comprehension and retention levels.
Over the long term, digital learning provides trainers and learners with more diverse teaching methods, and typically gives learners more control over the material and the way in which they learn it. This more personalized learning strategy inspires self-exploration by learners and is likely to result in higher intrinsic motivation to learn compared to more structured learning. Finally, the inclusion of digital learning enables trainers to create and update content and provide learners with programming at a much faster rate. This also means that learners can access the content faster. This acceleration helps learners, and therefore enhances the company’s human capital and performance.
In my time as a training coordinator, I have had the opportunity to use several digital learning programs in my own training programs. My favorites are discussed below.
IN THE FIELD. A learning management system is a software application that administers, documents, tracks, reports and delivers educational courses, training programs or learning and development programs.
The main benefit to using an LMS is that all content (i.e., courses, worksheets, videos, etc.) is stored in one location. This means that learners can easily access all content through a website or app on any computer or mobile device, while in any location.
LMSs can be utilized to house initial training videos, Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) courses and related content such as worksheets. They also can be used for ongoing training intended for experienced technicians, and may be used to assign and access client-specific certification courses and requirements.
There are many learning management systems available for purchase. An LMS should be chosen based on your company’s needs and desired features and functionality.
Videos often can be an effective training tool as well, especially in an industry that emphasizes hands-on learning. While formal, structured videos are useful in a classroom setting, just-in-time videos can be a great tool for technicians in the field.
Just-in-time videos should be short, one-to-two-minute videos that provide information on just one pest, treatment, technique or policy change. Because they are short in length, just-in-time videos give technicians the information they need without having to wade through other, more lengthy material. These short videos should become part of a larger, searchable library of resources that is accessible through an LMS or other shared access folder such as Dropbox or OneDrive.
STRUCTURED LEARNING SETTINGS. Since classroom learning should never be overlooked, there are many digital learning programs that can be used within a classroom setting to enhance learning. K-12 teachers have integrated digital learning into their classrooms for years, and a lot of the software they use is adaptable to our industry’s classrooms as well. Four programs I’ve had success using are Pear Deck, Quizlet, FlipGrid and Kahoot!.
Pear Deck allows trainers to plan and build interactive PowerPoint presentations through Google Slides. Adding interactive elements to a presentation, especially PowerPoint presentations, increases retention and interest.
When participating in a Pear Deck presentation, students are able to interact with each slide via any mobile device or computer. Examples of interactions include drawing on the slide, typing in a short response, matching and more. Trainers also can share student answers with the rest of the room to stimulate discussion or highlight correct responses.
In my own training programs, Pear Deck has been used to play Pest ID Pictionary and present more traditional topics like bed bug control and IPM in schools and daycare centers. Pear Deck provides template slides that can be manipulated to fit whatever the trainer desires.
Pear Deck requires a paid subscription, but offers free, 30-day trials to those interested in testing out the program.
Quizlet assists trainers in creating flashcards, tests, quizzes and study games that are accessible online and via a mobile device. This allows learners to access study materials whenever and wherever they are without having to keep track of paper reference or study materials. Quizlet offers both free and paid versions, depending on the desired features.
FlipGrid is an active, social learning platform that engages learners through video-based discussion. FlipGrid may be accessed via any computer or mobile device and creates opportunities for reflection, discussion, demonstration and collaboration.
Within FlipGrid, trainers can create grids of short, discussion-style topics to share. Then, learners are expected to add their own video responses related to the proposed grid topic. This helps to expand collective knowledge and enhance community, especially in companies that cover a large service area in which technicians may not interact frequently. FlipGrid is free for anyone to use.
Kahoot!, a popular game-based learning platform, allows trainers to create multiple choice quizzes that can be accessed via a web browser on any computer or mobile device.
While playing via Kahoot!, learners are rewarded for the speed and accuracy at which they answer questions. Players may play individually or in teams.
Games have been shown to encourage learning and offer a way for students to assess their own comprehension in a low-stakes environment. Games can add a fun element to your learning program while also testing mastery. Kahoot! offers both free and paid versions to trainers.
ADDING DIGITAL LEARNING. When deciding on which digital learning program to use, it is important to consider the following:
- What is the purpose of this tool? Each digital tool selection should be made with a clear purpose in mind (i.e., what can the learner do with that digital tool?).
- How accessible is this tool? Nothing will discourage use more than difficulty in accessing the material.
- Is this tool meant to give your learner a sense of community or is it meant for individual work? If your company has a wide geographical footprint, digital learning can foster a sense of community and allow learners to interact with each other. It also can be used to test individual knowledge within smaller settings.
- Does this program provide practice and feedback opportunities? Digital tools can provide learners with the chance to practice and interact with the material. They also can provide useful feedback for trainers.
- In what context will this tool be used? Depending on your pest management training program, tools may be better suited for classroom use or field use.
- What is the cost? Some digital learning programs are free of charge and some are of significant cost.
Regardless of the digital learning program you choose, your learners will benefit both in the field and in the classroom.
Kirby has a master’s degree in adult education from the University of Minnesota and a B.S. in wildlife ecology — natural resources from the University of Wisconsin. She is the training coordinator at Plunkett’s Pest Control.
Copesan is an alliance of pest management companies with locations throughout North America. To learn more, visit www.copesan.com.