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Study examines landscape’s impact on pests

|  August 24, 2020
PHOTO: ALEKSEYLISS/ISTOCK / GETTY IMAGES PLUS/GETTY IMAGES

PHOTO: ALEKSEYLISS/ISTOCK / GETTY IMAGES PLUS/GETTY IMAGES

The Pest Management Foundation is an independent charitable organization that works to advance the industry through education, research and outreach. Although it is associated with the National Pest Management Association, its independent board of trustees is comprised of industry representatives who determine how funds are allocated.

In addition to student scholarships and outreach, one of the primary programs of the Foundation is to provide research grants to universities investigating questions that impact the structural pest control industry. An example of a research project funded by the Pest Management Foundation was completed in June 2019 by Drs. Art Appel and Xing Ping Hu at Auburn University.

By carefully inspecting and documenting the conditions at more than 60 homes in and around Auburn, Ala., the researchers were able to determine how landscape features influenced the likelihood of infestation by common pests like peridomestic cockroaches, red imported fire ants and Argentine ants. By applying this research, pest management professionals (PMPs) can anticipate pest control concerns based on the exterior features of a home.

For instance, the presence of pine trees on a property greatly reduced the smokybrown cockroach (Periplaneta fuliginosa) population, but the influence of pine trees on American cockroaches (P. americana) was 10 times less. The presence of pine trees increased the likelihood that Asian cockroaches (Blattella asahinai) were present, indicating that tree abundance and type have differing effects on various species. The results have led to their current study, which involves looking further at how common residential landscape features affect ant and termite populations.

Pest Management Foundation research is made possible through tax-deductible, voluntary donations from PMPs. Learn more at NPMAFoundation.org.

Dr. Jim Fredericks

About the Author:

You can reach Dr. Fredericks, VP of technical and regulatory affairs for the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), at jfredericks@pestworld.org.

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