With the combined professional skill sets of a scientist and an entomologist, Stoy Hedges has forged a significant literary impact on the pest management industry. Consider his body of written work, which includes author of more than 160 trade journal articles; author of ANThology: The Best of Stoy Hedges; author of five Field Guides about ants, beetles, flies and spiders; and editorial director of the three editions of the Mallis Handbook of Pest Control.
“People ask me, ‘Have you always wanted to be an entomologist?’” said Hedges, a 2013 Pest Management Professional (PMP) Hall of Fame inductee. “I always reply, ‘Not in my mother’s womb, but right after that, yes.’ I always knew I’d grow up to be a scientist of some kind, and so did my classmates. I had a chemistry set and ran my own experiments. As a freshman in high school, I knew I’d be attending Purdue to study entomology.”
Launching a Career
As a junior at Purdue, Hedges learned he had cancer and was given a 35-percent chance to live five years. He spent the fall semester of his senior year going through chemotherapy and taking classes.
To earn money while he was attending Purdue, Hedges began his career in pest management at Mooresville Pest Control, in his hometown of Mooresville, Ind. He credits George Mountain, owner of the company, with being not only his first industry mentor, but his second father in life.
“My first day in pest control was drilling out a crawlspace for termite control, and after that summer, I returned to Purdue and switched my focus to urban and industrial entomology under Dr. Gary Bennett,” he said. “I owe a debt of gratitude to George Mountain for helping me get started in this industry.”
Beating the odds with cancer, Hedges realized his dream to graduate from Purdue in 1981. He became a supervisor at Pest Control Services in Indianapolis, and then relocated to Houston in 1983 to be an entomologist and sanitarian for Big State Pest Control. In 1985, he became technical manager of ChemLawn-PestFree in Columbus, Ohio, and then in 1989 became technical director of Waste Management Pest Services in Oakbrook, Ill.
Since 1991, Hedges has been with Terminix International in Memphis, Tenn. As Senior Technical Professional for the company, he develops technical training programs and articulates intuitive pest management systems in pursuit of public health and structurally significant pest species. He also presents educational seminars for Terminix operations and food-processing facilities, and has conducted training for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and U. S. Department of Defense.
Training and Technologies
A board certified entomologist (BCE), Hedges is a professional sanitarian (PS) and an active member of the Pi Chi Omega pest management fraternity. He’s a renowned speaker at numerous pest management conferences and events, which includes his alma mater, where Hedges has conducted training at the annual Purdue Pest Management Conference for 27 consecutive years. Since 2007, he has served on the Purdue Department of Entomology Planning Committee.
Hedges — who resides in Memphis with his wife, Kathryn — said the industry looks to technology for recording inspection information through data collection, analyzing data to determine building areas at most risk, and focusing time (a PMP’s commodity) on targeted treatments or more service visits.
Hedges is a novel thinker. For example, he was instrumental in commercializing the use of vacuums to facilitate sensitive-environment pest management. He identifies future technologies as those revolving around the concept of integrated pest management (IPM).
“IPM is prevention, procedures and processes that involve the customer,” he said. “It’s helping the customer identify conducive conditions and the judicious use of pesticides.”
In addition to George Mountain, his mentors in the pest management industry include Dr. Gary Bennett, Norm Ehmann, Dr. Austin Frishman, Harry Katz, Dr. John Osmun and Dr. Lee Truman, Hedges said.