Highlights from the 83rd Purdue Pest Management Conference


March 8, 2019


From left, “Pest Avengers” Arnold Ramsey, Mark “Shep” Sheperdigian and Dr. Dini Miller with Pi Chi Omega President Dale Baker, J.T. Eaton. PHOTO: HEATHER GOOCH

The 83rd annual Purdue Pest Management Conference took place Jan. 7-9 on the West Layfayette, Ind., main campus of Purdue University. Students, exhibitors and attendees mingled and networked in what many consider the industry’s “Homecoming Week.” Naturally, there was a lot of learning and new information to be had, too.

Take for example, the series of speakers industry fraternity Pi Chi Omega sponsored on the morning of the first day. Dubbed the “The Avengers of IPM & Why Techs are So Important,” the program kicked off with FMC’s Arnold “Sgt. Safety” Ramsey; Pest Management Professional (PMP) Columnist and Rose Pest Solutions Vice President Mark “Shep” “Mr. Perfect Practices” Sheperdigian, BCE; and Virginia Tech’s Dr. Dini “Ms. Habit Hero” Miller.


Dr. Bobby Corrigan was the 50/50 winner at the Pi Chi Omega dinner and membership meeting Tuesday evening. PHOTO: HEATHER GOOCH


Major milestones always go better with cake — and this one, served at the Jan. 7 Exhibit Reception, was topped with a photo collage of Dr. Bennett’s Purdue career. Here, Dr. Kathy Heinsohn, BCE, American Pest Management entomologist and a former student of Dr. Bennett’s, chuckles as she eats a photo of herself. PHOTO: HEATHER GOOCH

After lunch, Dr. Gary Bennett, BCE, a PMP Hall of Famer and the director of the conference, officially performed the Opening Ceremonies. They concluded with the ever-humble Dr. Bennett being recognized for his 50 years of attending the event. After the merriment, the focus turned to roaches and rodents for the afternoon.

WATCH: Dr. Gary Bennett honored for attending 50th Purdue Pest Management Conference

Dr. Miller called on attendees to quit thinking in terms of integrated pest management (IPM) for German cockroach accounts, and instead think in terms of assessment-based pest management (APM). The thinking behind APM is to get customer buy-in by involving them from the start. Tell them what you’re going to measure, how you’re going to do it and what the metrics are now and what you’re hoping to achieve. Her presentation showcased just how well that worked in four different public housing accounts, for which she was able to essentially eliminate cockroaches without even removing clutter. Rather, she used her “taco method” — or as Ray Johnson called it in his June 2015 PMP column, the “Cockroach Cannoli” — of baiting. The wax paper-and-bait combination was an irresistible lure to German cockroaches even when there were competing food sources.

Dr. Claudia Riegel, director of the New Orleans (La.) Mosquito, Termite and Rodent Control Board, shared tips for using video cameras and other electronics in rodent control treatment. PMP Hall of Famer Dr. Bobby Corrigan then discussed additional new equipment and materials available for rodent control.

Tuesday and Wednesday were choc-a-block of various concurrent sessions, covering everything from termites and other wood-destroying insects to bed bugs to ants, flies to stored product pests, and fumigation, wildlife and low-toxic pest control. Students from Purdue’s Urban Center Labs presented research updates, and lab tours were given for interested attendees.

The awards and recognition luncheon took place Wednesday to cap off many attendees’ stay in West Lafayette. This editor is pleased to report she received a 10-year certificate (over a 22-year period), and that Purdue doctoral student Aaron Ashbrook was this year’s recipient of the PMP scholarship.



Of course, it wouldn’t be a Purdue conference without the annual photo. Check out a selection of past group photos.

The 84th annual conference will take place Jan. 6-8, 2020. Visit extension.entm.purdue.edu for details.

About the Author

Heather Gooch

Heather Gooch is the editor-in-chief for PMP magazine. She can be reached at hgooch@northcoastmedia.net or 330-321-9754.

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