Urban entomology programs need support


December 29, 2016

Our team learned a lot putting together the cover package for the December 2016 issue, in large part because each of the women interviewed brought a different viewpoint to the table.

One particular thing I learned from Dr. Susan Jones, however, equates to a disturbing trend: At universities nationwide, urban entomology faculty are retiring and being replaced with medical and veterinary entomologists who do not specialize in household and structural pest issues like urban entomologists do. Urban entomology programs are also rolling over into wider entomology, or even biology programs. As a result, Dr. Jones foresees the research and support for the science behind what pest management professionals do will start to lose its identity.

Thankfully, urban entomology has endowed chairs in places like North Carolina State University and Purdue University. But with a society that is experiencing asthma from cockroaches, structural termite damage, widespread bed bug issues, etc., it’s important to keep our industry’s research needs in the public eye.

I asked Dr. Jones what she recommends to accomplish this goal. She responded: “We need more vocal support. We need to be talking to government officials and our Congressional representatives to fund research that pertains not only to medical issues, but also to household pest invasions. We need to talk to university administrators and remind them that the base of their support is the taxpayer. Our industry tackles the issues important to taxpayers like insects in their yards, their homes and what’s biting their kids.

“If universities continue to neglect this, society will pay the price,” Dr. Jones warns.

Editor Heather Gooch can be reached at hgooch@northcoastmedia.net or 330-321-9754.


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