5 questions with Bob Belmont


December 11, 2019



Bob Belmont, BCE, pest prevention training and technical director of Massey Services, Orlando, Fla., explains why he has been offering presentations at local schools and groups since 1984, back when he owned Belmont Pest Control in Naples, Fla. We caught up with him to find out more about one of his most recent events with a Girl Scout troop.

1. Why did Massey Services get involved with the Girl Scouts?

The purpose of the Girl Scout event was for the group to obtain their Bugs Badge. This helps the girls learn more about insects, with a focus on Outdoor Awareness and Environmental Stewardship. This event originated when a Girl Scout troop leader contacted Massey Services and asked whether we had an expert who could share knowledge with the troop to help them obtain this badge.

2. Do you use solely pinned specimens to show the kids, or do you have live specimens, too?

All the specimens I use in my presentations are common, non-threatened, foreign and domestic arthropods such as walking sticks, caterpillars, brown recluse spiders, tarantulas and multiple species of beetles and butterflies. All insects are either from Massey’s collection or my private collection. With the Girl Scouts, no live insects were displayed or handled.


Bob Belmont not only showed the troop some interesting specimens, but let each scout try on the magnifying headband for a closer look. PHOTO: MASSEY SERVICES

3. What were some of their reactions, and what questions did they have?

The scouts were very engaged and asked several interesting questions. Many liked the insects that had beautiful coloration or a unique shape. The size of the insects also left quite the impression, as many did not realize how many tiny insects (smaller than a pinhead) exist around us every day.

They all wanted to see the tiny pointed rove beetles I brought in, to see the subtle differences in the species. Each of them took a turn wearing a magnifying headband, so they could see the many shape and color variations. They also were impressed with the giant walking sticks from New Guinea, which are much larger and longer than species in other parts of the world; and the giant Pepsis wasp and how it preys on the bird-eating tarantula.

An interesting question asked was, “How do the displayed insects keep their color?” I explained that almost all hard-shelled insects will retain their colors without any treatment if they are stored in tightly sealed containers and kept away from sunlight.

4. Were you able to dispel some myths about bugs for the group?

The first myth was that “lovebugs” (Plecia nearctica) were part of an experiment at University of Florida. I explained that they actually migrated from their homeland up through Mexico and around the panhandle to Florida.

A second myth was that brown recluse spiders (Loxosceles reclusa) are very common in Florida. I explained that they are extremely rare in Florida, and have only been found a few times in the state.

5. Why is it important for Massey Services — and other pest management firms — to be involved in outreach efforts?

Massey Services encourages its team members to volunteer their time and share their expertise in the communities where we do business. It also gives us the chance to correct any misconceptions about pests and their control, and demonstrate the many ways in which we are protectors of public health.


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.

Leave A Comment

Comments are closed.