Mix Reflects on Pest Management’s Past

|  September 10, 2013

When I was named editor of Pest Control magazine in fall 1982, to say the industry was undergoing profound changes that would last well into at least the next two decades would be a huge understatement. Try these changes on for size:

  • The termiticide market was being turned upside down.
  • Pest management professionals (PMPs) — then-called pest control operators (PCOs) — were losing the flea market to veterinarians.
  • The art of spraying baseboards for cockroach control was on its way out. Crack-and-crevice work and baits were completely changing cockroach control.
  • And, much to the public’s dismay, long-lost bloodsucking bed bugs would return with a vengeance.

I worked on this magazine full time for 20 years. For the first 10 years, I was editor. For the next 10 years, I served as publisher. I “ran the railroad,” as I once told someone, after longtime publisher Joe LaJoie died. For the past 11 years, I’ve served PMP — the magazine’s name changed to Pest Management Professional in 2007 — and industry associations as called upon.

From both an editor’s and publisher’s viewpoints, the pest management business endured enormous changes in the 1980s and ’90s. For example, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was after Velsicol to take chlordane off the market. That happened on Aug. 11, 1987, when Velsicol, the manufacturer of chlordane, and the EPA reached a joint agreement to stop the production and sale of chlordane. The EPA said chlordane existed in the soil for too long and had too much odor.

Dow brought Dursban to the termiticide marketplace, but it, too, was gone by June 8, 2000. Dow, however, rebounded rather nicely. The company launched the Sentricon Termite Colony Elimination System, a termite bait, with the help of University of Florida researcher Dr. Nan-Yao Su. The innovation completely changed termite control, as would new liquid termiticides not far down the pike.

Then there was the advent of integrated pest management (IPM). The initial IPM charge was led mostly by university researchers who saw the value of making use of techniques that didn’t always require the use of pesticides to control and prevent pests. In many cases, Charles Steinmetz’s pest-prevention ideas and IPM were combined so PMPs could perform much of their control work on the outside of structures. IPM’s mission was to make it easier to gain control over pests without having an impact on the lives of people inside homes and commercial/industrial facilities.

To cover this sea of change, Pest Control assembled a first-class editorial team — thanks in no small part to the ideas and assistance of PMP Hall of Famer Dr. Doug Mampe. With more than 35 years of employment, Dr. Mampe is one of the longest-serving contributors and consultants to this magazine.

In addition to Dr. Mampe, we’ve had industry icons such as consultant Larry Pinto and PMP Hall of Famers Bob Russell and Vern Walter write columns for the magazine. And while we evolved to tackle small-business topics, we maintained our technical roots with columns from technical gurus such as Dr. Bill Robinson and PMP Hall of Famers Drs. Gary Bennett and Mike Rust.
There you have it — a little slice of the wonderful Pest Control life … way back in the day — the early ’80s through 2002. pmp

You can reach Mix, a PMP Hall of Famer, at jnmix@aol.com

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