NEW YORK CITY — More than 500 pest management industry manufacturers, distributors, business owners and technicians filled the Fort Washington Avenue Armory in Manhattan on Nov. 13 for the 2014 New York Pest Expo, an annual event held by Bug Off Pest Control Center and spearheaded by Bug Off President Andy Linares.
This year’s Expo theme, Renewal, gave attendees the opportunity to view exhibits and discuss product features with major manufacturers and business support providers.
While half of the Armory auditorium showcased new product innovations by some of the big names in pest management, the other side offered education in the form of seven speakers from different realms of pest management. Each gave presentations covering topics from general entomology to business growth.
Joe Barile, BCE and technical service leader for Bayer Environmental Science, opened the Expo’s educational sessions with a primer on insect taxonomy (the science of insect identification) with a focus on the basics. Barile’s presentation was aimed at pest management professionals (PMPs) seeking to broaden the scope of their abilities and make themselves and their businesses more marketable by positioning themselves as insect experts.
“It will be essential for you to become more knowledgeable — to educate yourself — in the realm of entomology if you want to remain competitive,” Barile said.
By breaking down the basics in a slideshow, Barile discussed the true definition of “insect,” from kingdom to species.
He dug even deeper, examining the basics of insect nervous and respiratory systems.
“You’ve seen the cockroaches scatter when you walk into a room and turn on the lights,’ Barile said. “But it’s not the lights — it’s the change in the air they’re sensing. This is the result of the cockroach’s primitive circulatory system.”
Dr. Bobby Corrigan, director of RMC Pest Management Consulting, made his third Expo appearance at this year’s event with an hour’s worth of rodent management tips.
Corrigan tightened the focus of his presentation by sharing new information and research updates involving the relationship between climatic events (such as climate change) and rodent populations, behavior and biology.
By encouraging PMPs to take an investigator’s approach to rodent management, Corrigan explained that attendees could “think like Sherlock Holmes” and boost their success rate while preventing callbacks.
“Rodent control is more than just installing baits and traps,” Corrigan said. “You can learn how to look for shadows, trails, angles and orientation to Dumpsters and have more success finding the source of rodent infestations.”
Corrigan added that by knowing how to examine walls, corners and ledges while looking for “squeeze points” and cave shapes, PMPs can more effectively make installations.
“One of the greatest amateur mistakes in pest management is looking for droppings as the primary way to find the rodent,” he said. Sebum, an oil secreted through rodent skin, leaves telltale lines that can act as accurate and effective indicators of rodent activity.
“To the keen observer, sebum marks and trails will tell the story you need to know when droppings and other indicators have been swept away,” Corrigan said.
Corrigan was followed by regular Pest Management Professional (PMP) columnist, Jeff McGovern, also making his third appearance at the Expo. McGovern’s presentation, “A Survey of Essential Equipment,” brought new pest management technology to the forefront.
McGovern covered lots of ground, from newer, cutting-edge equipment, such as thermal units and freezing systems to simple standbys like reliable flashlights and vacuums.
He also stressed the importance of on-the-job safety and the use of safety equipment.
“Your number one priority has to be protecting yourself, your coworkers, your clients and your family,” McGovern said while explaining the necessity of puncture-proof gloves for flipping furniture on bed bug jobs.
“Professionalism is what strengthens our industry’s reputation,” he said. “That means prioritizing process over product and involving the customer in your process. Make [the customer] a partner and you will solve their problem.”
Pest harborages were the central focus of a comprehensive program by Dr. Bill Robinson, technical director of B&G Equipment Co. Robinson explained how proper pest identification is essential to precise harborage site identification.
“Pests need three things — food, water and harborage,” he said. “Zeroing in on the real harborage sites will lead to precise monitoring. And precise monitoring allows you to hit the pest where it lives with a minimal use of chemicals.”
Robinson spent a significant portion of his presentation discussing how to differentiate between similar-seeming pests as a means of fine-tuning your methods. Different types of fruit flies, fleas and stored product pests were broken down by distinguishing marks such as breathing tubes, mouth parts and the foods consumed by some pests at the larval stage.
Another PMP contributor, Dan Gordon, CPA, owner of the industry accounting consultancy PCO Bookkeepers, and author of From Technician to CEO: The Evolution of a high-Growth Pest Control and Lawn Care Company [available via PMP’s online bookstore] gave a special mid-event presentation that addressed business management and how to exploit key performance indicators (KPIs) that can help grow a PMP’s business and bottom line.
“You need to know what numbers to look at — the ones that need to be in your crosshairs — if you want to move forward and continue succeeding,” Gordon said. “KPI’s aren’t just financial numbers. They’re also operational numbers reflected by how efficient you’re spending your firm’s money.”
Lou Sorkin, BCE, and founder of Entsult Associates, an entomology consulting firm, honed in on glueboards for his presentation, “What Got Stuck? A Guide to Glueboard Captures,” by sharing his analysis of the link between captured specimens and environmental factors conducive to their presence.
The afternoon’s education ended with Dr. Nicola Gallagher, Midwest and Northeast technical services manager for Syngenta Professional Products’ professional pest management market. She shared new scientific findings related to termites and their behavior. Gallagher also offered a review of the termiticide development process and the available classes of chemistry that go into managing termiticide.