Last week I had the opportunity to sit in on the 55th Annual Short Course hosted by the Delaware Pest Association at the University of Delaware. The Short Course is a two day seminar for technicians and other pest management professionals that hosts a number of speakers in the field. Each speaker has an hour to discuss a unique topic pertaining to the pest management business. It is an opportunity for pest professionals to network, learn from one another, and discuss new and exciting improvements being made in the field.
As I am only starting out in the field as an intern for Royal Pest, I found that, like my experience here, the seminar stressed the importance of balancing smart business practices with the utilization of innovative pest management techniques. Topics ranged from the discussion of smart advertising and management of ant and bed bug contracts, new heating methods to remove bed bug infestations, all the way to a history lesson on the impact of insects in public health.
Having an entomology background and knowing that all pest control companies do not strive to be as planet friendly as Royal Pest, I had some concerns that the seminar might be a detailed step-by-step manual for destroying all insects as quickly as possible. However, after a day of accomplished speakers, it was clear that this was not the case. The individuals in the room had a respect for insects - a curiosity about their practices and their history that I share.
As each speaker began and introduced the insect they were focusing on, they stressed the necessity of identifying the insect correctly and recognizing its behaviors. Not all ants are the same - this is a point that was repeated over and over to those in the audience. The discussions assisted technicians in giving them the tools to know what to look for: how to identify an insect, its biology and life cycle. Being in the pest control world is not completely driven by knowing what chemicals do what, but also by what insects do what and acknowledging their impact inside a home and in an environment.
For example, one of the speakers that drew my interest the most discussed the history of pest control and insects' impact on public health. Although we have nearly eradicated malaria from this part of the world, mosquitoes continue to vector this harmful disease in other areas. Realizing that mosquitoes vector a harmful disease once empowered interested individuals to take action and find ways to eliminate the disease in this country. The information and history expressed in this speaker's presentation could be the inspiration that drives today's pest professionals to update their methods for controlling other potentially harmful pests like ticks and mice.
The Short Course was an environment full of knowledgeable, engaged pest control professionals hungry to learn more about their field and how they can contribute to it. While raised, questioning hands were scarce, the alert attention given to the speakers was apparent. It was a refreshing experience for me that has continued to stress the necessity of fueling technicians, sales people, and managers with the most updated information.