80 Game Changers in PMP History


September 10, 2013


1. First termiticide patented
Frank Lyons, who spent 44 years (1927-1971) with what’s now known as Terminix, was granted 14 patents related to termite control, including the first termiticide in 1932. He also helped develop the barrier treatment methods for termites.

2. Exterminators Log founded
In 1933, PMP Hall of Famer Al Cossetta saw a need for a professional journal to unite the industry. Cossetta published a publication covering treatment tips, research news, supplier ads and homespun wisdom. That publication is known today as Pest Management Professional (PMP).

3. J.J. Davis befriends the industry
PMP Hall of Famer John June Davis, a Purdue University professor and department head, played major roles in what’s known today as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and the Indiana Pest Management Association (IPMA). He sided with exterminators when it wasn’t deemed dignified for entomologists to associate with bug killers.

4. National association founded
PMP Hall of Famer Bill Buettner is the father and first president of the National Association of Exterminators and Fumigators, known today as the NPMA. This second-generation PMP traveled to Washington during World War II to ensure PMPs were exempt from wartime rations of gas — and even from the draft in certain cases — because they performed an essential public health service for civilians.

5. Weisburger focuses on exterminators
In 1934, B. & D.A. Weisburger expanded from life insurance to offering a specific insurance program for the pest management industry. The company was the first to do so.

6. PCO comes into vogue
In 1935, the term “pest control operator” was the winner in a name change contest held by Exterminators Log to help improve the industry’s image. Purdue professor Dr. Howard Deay won half the prize money, $25, for shortening it to PCO.

7. Association changes name
To sound more professional, the National Association of Exterminators and Fumigators officially became the National Pest Control Association (NPCA) in 1937.

8. Dr. Snyder lends professional touch
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Dr. Thomas Snyder was the first professional entomologist to contribute an article to Exterminators Log. His article in the July 1933 issue, “The Founding of New Colonies by Reticulitermes flavipes,” was technical in nature but welcomed by knowledge-hungry readers. During his career, Dr. Snyder — a member of our PMP Hall of Fame, Class of 2013 — published more than 300 research papers, collected more than 230,000 termite specimens and described about 160 new termite species.

9. Microbes in pest control
Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) was discovered in 1911 as a pathogen of flour moths from the province of Thuringia, Germany. It was first used as a commercial insecticide in France in 1938 and in the U.S. in the late 1950s.

10. Magazine changes name
Exterminators Log was renamed Pests in 1938, and by the following year, the staff clarified its role, renaming it Pests and Their Control.

11. DDT developed
PMP Hall of Famer Dr. Paul Müller realized the insecticidal properties of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) in Switzerland in 1939. He later won the 1948 Nobel Prize in medicine for the discovery. Initially DDT was used to combat malaria, typhus and other insect-borne human disease. About 675,000 tons of it is estimated to have been applied domestically between 1942 and 1972 before it was banned in the U.S.


12. Mallis handbook published
Arnold Mallis’  The Handbook of Pest Control was printed first in 1945 and currently is in its 10th edition. Mallis, a PMP
Hall of Famer who died in 1984, helped bridge the gap of the old-school entomological community of the 1930s and ’40s with the up-and-comers of the ’60s and ’70s.

13. Pomerantz discovers pest link to disease outbreak
In 1945, part of New York City fell ill with a violent feverish disease, and because Charles Pomerantz’s Bell Exterminating was in the area, the PMP Hall of Famer researched the illness and was convinced it was because of mites found on house mice. This finding led to the discovery of rickettsialpox.

14. Aerosol insecticide developed
Aerosol insecticides weren’t developed until the U.S. government began funding research during World War II to find a portable way for servicemen to spray malaria-carrying bugs. USDA researchers Lyle Goodhue and William Sullivan developed an aerosol can pressurized by a fluorocarbon in 1943.

15. Warfarin introduced
The research institute that originally patented this anticoagulant in 1944 used its acronym for the trade name — the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. Resistance and the development of other rodenticides made warfarin as a pest control tool less popular in later years.

16. Chlordane introduced
In 1945, Velsicol’s Julius Hyman discovered chlordane. By 1947, he had formed his own company, producing chlordane until Shell Chemical acquired Julius Hyman and Co. in 1950. Chlordane remained a popular, broad-use product until its cancellation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1988.

17. Brehm and Gilmore invent B&G sprayer
PMP Hall of Famer Bill Brehm was the “B” in the B&G sprayer, while the “G” belonged to Purdue classmate George Gilmore. After co-inventing this piece of equipment while still students in 1946, Brehm went on to found the B&G Equipment Co. and develop other industry equipment.

18. Federal Insecticide, Fungicide
and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) passes
The original act, passed in June 1947, required all pesticides be registered with the USDA before being marked or shipped through interstate commerce. It also set efficacy, safety and marketing standards for the industry.

19. Nelson becomes editor
In 1948, magazine founder Al Cossetta sold Pests to James Nelson, son of a pesticide manufacturer, who changed the publication’s name to Pests and Their Control and became editor. During his 19-year tenure, the magazine increased from a 16-page publication to an average of 60 pages. In 1961, Nelson oversaw publishing of the Purdue correspondence course in Pest Control  — a move that helped spawn Truman’s Scientific Guide to Pest Management Operations. One year later, he launched the publication now known as Landscape Management (a sister brand of PMP) as a regular turf pests section in Pest Control.

20. Magazine renamed
In 1949, the editors decided the name Pest Control conveyed the magazine’s mission more succinctly.


21. Nolen develops tent fumigation
PMP Hall of Famer Truly Wheatfield Nolen is credited with originating tent fumigation for drywood termites in 1950. Nolen’s legacy, which began with a $5 down payment on a $25 truck in 1937, lives on in his family and their companies, Truly Nolen North America and Nozzle Nolen.

22. Pi Chi Omega founded
Six Purdue entomology students and PMP Hall of Famer
Dr. John Osmun start an industry fraternity, Pi Chi Omega, on campus in 1950. The students included George Gilmore and Bill Brehm of B&G Sprayer fame; PMP Hall of Famer Clayton Wright, founder of B&G Chemicals & Equipment; Frank Harder; Harlan Shuyler and Clifford Weiss. Today, the group is 500 strong and active in scholarship funding.

23. Malathion introduced
Originally intended as a nerve gas used during World War II, the organophosphate had sound insecticidal properties and has been part of urban pest management since.

24. Carbamate insecticides introduced
Developed in 1951 by Geigy Corp., carbamates were derived from a reaction involving carbonic acid. Although under scrutiny by the EPA, this class of insecticide has its place in the PMP toolbox.

25. NPCA hires Dr. Heal
PMP Hall of Famer Dr. Ralph Heal was the first entomologist to work as the executive director of the National Pest Control Association (NPCA), a post he served for
19 years (1952-1971). He participated in the hearings with the newly formed EPA about the enforcement of FIFRA in 1970-71.

26. Ehmann begins training
PMP Hall of Famer Norm Ehmann began training PMPs in 1954 as part of the Neil A. Maclean Co., which became part of Van Waters & Rogers (now Univar Environmental Sciences). He wanted to give technicians the kind of information their bosses learned at Purdue. Hundreds of thousands of professionals have been trained through the program.

27. Vikane developed
First tested in Miami in 1957, the sulfuryl flouride fumigant was registered in 1961. In 2002, Vikane manufacturer Dow AgroSciences was awarded the EPA’s Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award for its development of sister product ProFume gas fumigant.

28. Delaney Clause introduced
Congress passed the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act of 1958, which included the Delaney Clause, named after then-New York Congressman James Delaney. It states no additive will be deemed safe if it’s found to induce cancer when ingested by man or animal, and directs the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) not to approve such food additives. It’s interpreted as a zero-risk standard for any cancer-causing food additive, including residues from pesticides found in processed foods. It was the standard until the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) of 1996.


29. Orkin wins insanity trial
In 1960, PMP Hall of Famer and Orkin Exterminating founder Otto Orkin took his children to court about their alleged conspiracy to have him declared insane and take over the company. The eccentric Orkin was vindicated when the Georgia courts found he was mentally competent. He sold the business to Rollins Corp. in 1964.

30. Pest Control serializes Scientific Guide
PMP Hall of Famer Dr. Lee Truman’s most notable accomplishment essentially started as a serialized guide in Pest Control magazine in 1961: Truman’s Scientific Guide to Pest Control Operations. The seventh edition of this industry bible is available in English and Spanish.

31. Dursban introduced
Chlorpyrifos, the active ingredient in Dursban, was discovered and synthesized in 1961 by Ray Rigterink, a research scientist from Dow Chemical Co. By 1981, Dursban’s family of products included the popular Dursban TC temiticide. In 2000, Dow AgroSciences started phasing out the chemical voluntarily.

32. Silent Spring published
The environmentalist movement can trace its formal start to the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in 1962. The book intended to expose the damage to nature that pesticides can bring when used irresponsibly. Unfortunately, the public made the snap judgment that society would be better off without pesticides completely. Since then, the pest management industry has worked hard to dispel this negative public perception, showing the consequences of a world where pests aren’t under control.

33. Formosan termites found in Houston
The first finding of Coptotermes spp. in the continental U.S. native to China, Formosa (Taiwan) and Japan are believed to have been introduced to Hawaii via military supplies returned from Asia after World War II. By 1980, established colonies were found in Louisiana, South Carolina, Florida and other areas of Texas.

34. U.S. National Academy of Sciences formalizes integrated pest management (IPM)
IPM seems to have come together in various places globally at the same time, but can be traced back to 1952 with integrated control, the philosophy of combining chemical and biological methods in agriculture. Although the term IPM was formalized in 1969, PMPs still are defining what the concept means. IPM has become the norm among all good PMPs.


35. EPA founded
In 1970, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was born. President Richard Nixon appointed a White House committee in December 1969 to consider whether there should be a separate environmental agency, while at the same time Congress passed the National Environmental Policy Act. Nixon nominated Assistant Attorney General William Ruckelshaus to lead the agency.

36. Sustainability
Sustainability isn’t so much a buzzword anymore as it is reality. Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring paved the way for change as far back as 1962, when it was published. The federal environmental regulations and pesticide restrictions it led to, in addition to the first Earth Day in 1970, piqued public awareness and inspired pest management companies to become more environmentally conscious.

37. Insect-O-Cutor introduces “escape-proof” electrocutor unit
Formally tested by the USDA and deemed scatter-free, the FDA designated the IOC Series 712 models acceptable for
in-processing areas in the early ’70s. In 1990, Series 1890/2591 also would be designated escape-proof by the two agencies.

38. FIFRA amended
The Federal Environmental Pesticide Control Act of 1972 amended the 1947 Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, establishing a program for controlling the sale, distribution and application of pesticides through an administrative registration process. The amendments provided for classifying pesticides for general or restricted use, as well as authorizing experimental use, permits and provides for administrative review of registered pesticides and for penalties for violations of the statute.

39. First photostable synthetic pyrethroid developed
Permethrin was created in 1973, and by 1977, the product was on the market. Data indicate more than 100 million applications of permethrin are made each year in U.S. homes and lawns.

40 Ebeling publishes Urban Entomology
Considered the grandfather of urban entomology, PMP Hall of Famer Dr. Walter Ebeling taught at UCLA from 1946 to 1975. His book, Urban Entomology, was published in 1975. Subsequent editions are a mainstay on many PMPs’ bookshelves.

41. First insect growth regulator (IGR) registered
(S)-Methoprene, registered by the EPA in 1975, was the first to mimic the action of an insect growth-regulating hormone, preventing the normal maturation of insect larvae. Today, IGRs are a widely accepted method for controlling many pests.

42. First household-grade wettable powder introduced
Ficam (bendiocarb) entered the market in 1976, and until its voluntary cancellation in 2000 by AgrEvo, the carbamate was used widely for the control of cockroaches and other structural pests.

43. First pheromone registered
Gossyplure was registered in 1978 to disrupt the breeding of pink bollworms on cotton. Since then, the power of pheromones has been refined and studied for use on various structural pests.

44. DeLay embarks on political career
U.S. Majority House Whip Tom DeLay was a PMP when he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1978. In 1984, he moved to the U.S. House of Representatives, taking several active and high-profile leadership roles.

45. FIFRA amended again
The 1978 amendment gave states broader authority and responsibility for registering pesticides. States automatically have authority to register pesticides for use within the state for special load needs. Previously, states had registration authority only with approval of the EPA.


46. Superfund passed for cleanup of toxic wastes and spills
President Jimmy Carter signed Superfund legislation into law in 1980. Superfund was intended to provide temporary emergency funding for the cleanup of chemical waste if responsible parties (including those in the professional pest management industry) couldn’t be found or were unable to pay.

47. PESCO fails
The mid-1980s were a difficult time for the NPCA. When its insurance company, PESCO, began in 1979, the future seemed rosy. By 1984, as PESCO fell victim to the insurance crash of the 1980s, it was a dimmer proposition. The fallout of PESCO’s troubles is believed to have contributed in part to the sudden departure of then-NPCA Executive Director Jefferson Keith.

48. Su develops Sentricon
Dr. Nan-Yao Su developed a reduced-risk monitoring/baiting procedure for subterranean termites. His work during the 1980s led to the registration of hexaflumuron in 1994, and a short time later, the introduction
of the Sentricon Termite Colony Elimination System.

49. OSHA develops Hazard Communication Standard
In 1986, the Federal Hazard Communication Standard was designed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to require employers to furnish employees with information about the hazards of chemicals used in the workplace — and protective measures employees can take to reduce their exposure to those chemicals.

50. Clark incorporates Critter Control
Urban wildlife control specialist Kevin Clark incorporated the name Critter Control in 1986, eventually growing via franchises to more than 100 offices across most U.S. states. Previously, wildlife control was mainly the mainstay of trappers and wasn’t available to the public.

51. First national Legislative Day held
The NPCA began its Legislative Day program in 1987 with 35 participants. Presently, the two-day event claims about 500 attendees in Washington, D.C., every February. Throughout the years, the voice of PMPs on Capitol Hill is said to have affected legislation such as the Food Quality Protection Act.

52. Dietrich invents Bora-Care
The termite and wood-destroying insect (WDI) industry saw a major breakthrough in 1987, when Bud Dietrich invented a product called Bora-Care as a wood preservative for log homes. When he learned entomologists found the product to be toxic to various WDIs, he moved into the pest control arena, founding Nisus Corp. in 1990.

53. Microencapsulated insecticide introduced
In 1988, Dow AgroSciences rolled out Dursban ME insecticide, the first microencapsulated insecticide. The delivery system provided longer insect control. Other companies and products promptly followed suit.

54. Rosenberg joins national association staff
As part of the NPMA’s director of government affairs since 1989, Bob Rosenberg — a member of our PMP Hall of Fame Class of 2013 — works on behalf of the industry to promote responsible, progressive legislation and regulations. He’s often the visible spokesperson for the association about legislative issues and has the respect of the industry.


55. Clean Air Act of 1990 passed
Among other provisions, the CAA calls for a halt on the production of chemicals threatening the ozone layer.

56. Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment
The manufacturers and suppliers of specialty pesticides and fertilizers formed RISE in 1991 to advocate for the industry at a time when the industry was under intense scrutiny by environmentalists and lawmakers. The Washington, D.C.-based association monitors legislative and regulatory issues.

57. CPCO of Florida founded
PMP Hall of Famer Mel Edlestein worked diligently with what’s now the Florida Pest Management Association, but then broke away with nine others to form Certified Pest Control Operators (CPCO) of Florida in 1994.

58. Gold leaves NPCA
Velsicol executive Harvey Gold seemed to be a perfect fit in the wake of the PESCO troubles the NPCA had in 1984. However, Gold made waves 11 years later in a staffing dispute that ended in his abrupt departure in 1995. Lawsuits and settlements followed.

59. Cooper designs NPCA logo
When PMP Hall of Famer Norm Cooper designed the Guardians of the Environment logo during his tenure as the 1991-92 president of the NPCA, he meant what it implied: PMPs are environmentalists in the truest sense of the word.

60. The Internet
The development of the World Wide Web has been attributed to everyone from the U.S. Department of Defense to British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee. One thing is certain: The Internet is changing our world every day.

61. GPS
Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, originally developed in 1973 by the U.S. Department of Defense, became operational in 1994. Within a decade, businesses with mobile fleets adopted the technology for improved routing, job tracking and employee accountability.

62. FQPA passed unanimously by Congress
The Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) of 1996 fundamentally changed the way EPA regulates pesticides. The requirements included a new safety standard — reasonable certainty of no harm — that must be applied to all pesticides used on foods. The FQPA’s path is littered with the cancellations of old standbys, including Dursban (chlorpyrifos) and Ficam (bendiocarb).

63. NPCA introduces the Industry Awareness Council
Now known as the Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA), the IAC was introduced in 1997 as a way to bring the industry’s image professionally to the public. PPMA continues to fulfill its positive PR mission today.

64. Business software
PMPs begin to reap the benefits of advancements in business software, which automate tedious accounting tasks such as general ledger, payroll and taxes. Software management programs — for computers, tablets and smart phones — now handle billing, routing and scheduling, saving PMPs considerable time and money.

65. FTC investigates termite treatment practices
Although the Federal Trade Commission seems more concerned with the claims made by certain ultrasonic pest control manufacturers, its interest in the late-1990s was about termite services. The commission investigated larger companies, but the main consequence of the investigation concerned claims made by the Terminate do-it-yourself baiting product.

66. Operation Full Stop began
Formosan termites did so much damage in New Orleans’ French Quarter that the USDA-ARS implemented Operation Full Stop, an experimental baiting and termiticide program in 1998.

67. Termidor receives EPA registration
In 1999, the termite industry was turned on its ear once again when Aventis introduced Termindor liquid termiticide (fipronil) to the market. Although the product was in the spotlight because of the uncertainty of its fate (BASF Corp. owns the product now), Termindor made it OK to like liquid termiticides again.

68. School Environment Protection Act introduced
In 1999, Senator Robert Torricelli introduced the first version of SEPA, which mandated a federal school IPM program. Its various forms were defeated repeatedly during the next three years, but by 2002, the NPMA was able to ensure the language was at least tolerable to PMPs.

69. NPCA becomes NPMA
During Pest Management ’99 in Atlanta, the National Pest Control Association voted to change its name to the National Pest Management Association. The change occurred because the word “management” had more positive connotations and was more consumer friendly.

70. Mueller helps test and market Eco2Fume
David Mueller’s specialty in pheromone research about stored product pests resulted in the development of a viable methyl bromide fumigant alternative, Eco2Fume. Mueller won two EPA Stratospheric Ozone Protection Awards for his work developing alternatives.

71. West Nile Virus appears in the U.S.
This mosquito-transmitted disease brought panic to the public when it first cropped up in 1999, and rekindled the debate about whether it’s safe to spray neighborhoods. (A total of 5,674 cases of West Nile virus disease in people, including 286 deaths, were reported to the Centers for Disease Control in 2012).


72. PCOs become PMPs
Pest Control leads the way in transitioning from “PCO”
(pest control operator) to “PMP” (pest management professional). It announces in its March 2000 issue it will no longer refer to pest control operators because the term “PMPs” is more professional and encompassing. The magazine’s name, in turn, changes to Pest Management Professional (PMP) with the October 2007 issue unveiled NPMA’s PestWorld.

73. Ants trending upward
Before 2000, PMPs reported a marked rise in ant work, with ants replacing cockroaches as the most economically important pest in many areas of the country. Research indicated the ant segment tied or surpassed termite work as the largest growth segment for much of the decade. The ant increase was blamed on warmer weather patterns throughout the country.

74. Smartphones
More than half of U.S. mobile phone subscribers own smartphones, proving these digital Swiss Army knives are must-haves for businesses. Consider the number of devices a smartphone can replace for a few hundred dollars and a service contract: traditional cell phone, point-and-shoot camera, video camera, standalone MP3 player, GPS device, personal planner, radio, landline phone and Internet service.

75. Loss of chemistries
Two major classes of pesticides the industry had depended on — organophosphates and carbamates — were taken off the market by the U.S. EPA. The ensuing loss of hundreds of products containing these active ingredients affected the industry in numerous ways, and likely changed everything from control strategies to training to consumer pricing, to the pest pressures themselves.

76. Whitman speaks at Legislative Day
The industry came a long way from Earth Day in 1970 when EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman was the keynote speaker during the 2002 Legislative Day event. The special luncheon was held at the National Press Club headquarters in Washington, D.C. The event heralded a new era of understanding between agency and industry.

77. Termite control
New nonrepellent termiticides were launched, generating excitement in the industry, which turned out to be some of the most effective control tools the industry has seen. A strong economy and housing boom led to record levels of treatments and inspections.

78. Perimeter work
Related to the rise of demand for green products and the increasing scrutiny paid to pesticides used in the home perimeter, only treatments for general pest control increased considerably. Getting residual products out of living spaces was a trend that gave rise to using perimeter treatments as barriers to prevent pests from gaining entry into homes and buildings. New materials designed to be more stable for outdoor use include microencapsulated and suspended concentrate formulations of insecticides.

79. Parasites return with a vengeance
Bed bugs are back — and so are their parasitic bretheren: fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. This re-emerging blood-sucking foursome represents new technical  obstacles, but with that comes big business opportunities for pest management professionals (PMPs).

80. Social media
For some, social media is a compulsion; for others, it’s a necessity. First, it dominated social lives, but now it links the business world. The first social media site, Geocities.com, launched in 1994 and faded soon after. Today’s giants are going strong and boosting small businesses with their marketing abilities. LinkedIn and Twitter have more than 160 million and 200 million users, respectively, while Facebook now touts more than 1.15 billion active monthly users.

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