Bug Off’s 2015 New York Pest Expo honored women in pest management


November 12, 2015

All of the women in attendance at NY Pest Expo gather onstage for a rare and wonderful photo opportunity. Andy Linares and his lovely mother stand front and center.

The 2015 New York Pest expo was held on Wednesday, November 11, at the George Washington Bridge Doubletree Hotel in Fort Lee, N.J. The theme of this year’s event, held annually by Bug Off Pest Control, was: Honoring Women in Pest Management. Per usual for this Expo, an outrageous amount of educational opportunities and new product presentations were (comfortably) crammed into about 10 hours. Needless to say the day flew by but still left senior account manager, Mike Joyce and me exhausted.

I started the day (and spent most of it) in the standing-room-only ballroom where all six educational sessions were held. After host and Bug Off founder, Andy Linares introduced the event sponsors, the schooling began in earnest with Dr. Dini Miller (Virginia Tech) taking the mic to share just a smidge of her knowledge about German cockroaches – her academic ob- … well, obsession might be too strong a word. Dr. Miller’s presentation set the tone for the event with wit, a conversational vibe and a wealth of knowledge you’re painlessly unaware you’re absorbing.

Dr. Miller was immediately followed by Dr. Cisse Spragins of Rockwell Labs who helped attendees better grasp the concept of ‘green’ pest management with a breakdown of EPA regulations as they relate to chemical use, label restrictions and application technique. Green pest management has become increasingly relevant during the past decade and will continue to be a hot contentious topic, making Dr. Spragins’ shared intel priceless for those in the industry still struggling to understand the broad and complex topic. It’s not easy to make this information entertaining, but like the expo’s other speakers, Spragins never allowed attendees’ minds wander.

Dr. Susan Jones rounded out the morning sessions with what’s become a mainstay topic of pest management educational events. Need I even spell it out? Jones’s ‘Winning the Battle Against Bed Bugs’ served as both a keen refresher supplemented by plenty of new findings, much of which stemmed directly from Jones’s research.

After a break for lunch, attendees flooded the expo hall to get acquainted with pest management vendors, suppliers and manufacturers. There was lots of new technology on display from high tech mobile fleet routing equipment, to infrared heat sensing tools to the proverbial ‘better mouse trap.’

After lunching, collecting vendor literature and taking advantage of the one day purchasing discounts it was back to the ballroom for more intensive learning.

Lou Sorkin, this year’s sole male speaker at an event typically dominated by men, veered into borderline ‘adult’ material with his talk on insect mating, cheekily titled ‘Ladies’ Choice – The Evolution of Mating Systems.’ Naturally, the crowd clung to his every word (in those moments when they were able to catch their breath from laughing).

The afternoon was capped with two more presentations on flies and ants, respectively.

Dr. Nicola Gallagher (Syngenta) focused on managing fly resistance, with an entertaining mix of anecdotal observations and scientific analysis. She was followed by a lively presentation – ‘Ants: Biology, Behavior and Product Selection’ by Dr. Faith Oi (University of Florida) who did a commendable job of packing a wealth of info into a tight hour. Well aware of the late afternoon fatigue of attendees, Dr. Oi streamlined her presentation without missing a beat or glossing over her primary points.

“I once had a professor who said your brain can only hold as much information as your butt can stand,” she said acknowledging her unenviable last slot of speaking time. It didn’t matter however as attendees attention never waned during the compelling and often funny hour of learning.

Each of this years presentations shared a conversational vibe that was most apparent when questions were asked and answered during speeches rather than waiting for a post lecture Q&A. I’ve personally attended four of Bug Off’s Pest Expos and found this one to be the most engaging of all. The change of venue from The Armory to the Doubletree Hotel, just across the bridge from Manhattan made an ideal venue for an expo of this size. That said, attendance appeared to be through the roof, though I never got a complete head count from the master of ceremonies himself, Mr. Linares.

Mike Joyce and I were lucky enough to wrap up the day with an evening dinner at a rather posh Italian eatery in the Doubletree, with Linares, three of the expos speakers, as well as other friends of PMP, in attendance.

For me, personally, the New York Expo is probably my favorite industry event of the year – streamlined, one day and packed with info and the kind of camaraderie unique to this industry. Thanks to Andy and Bug Off for the invitation. I’m looking forward to next year.


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