10 Questions with a Pro (AKA: Geeking out!)
Introducing the new series of ten questions with a pro. Every other month, I’m interviewing a “pro” to find out what they do, how they do it, and how it helps pest control efforts. Today, we are talking with the incredible James Miller of Trece!
1. Give us the quick version of what you do?
I talk to the bugs so the PMP’s don’t have to… I have bug skills!
For real though, we help protect the world’s food supply. We do this by manufacturing specific monitoring and control systems for pre/post-harvest insects. I am also the Sales & Market Manager for STORGARD & CIDETRAK Brands to the Professional Pest Markets.
2. What got you into this, how did you get into pest control?
My good friend and mentor Eric Myers, ACE, ADM Corporation’s Global IPM Manager but then fellow Service Technician way back in 2004. I was working as a Toyota dealer mechanic at the time and the company he worked for had an opening… That’s it!
So almost 20 years ago, I left my career as a mechanic and embarked on my PMP journey…
Chelle - And never looked back! We must be doing something right if we are still in this field!
3. What’s one thing you wish people would know or understand better when it comes to pest control?
The pest! Biology of the pest and its meaning of risk to humans and domestic animals. Every function of IPM & IPP (integrated pest prevention) starts with the pest: What exactly is it? What does it do? Is it even a real pest?
We often spend way too much time on the treatment, don’t get me mistaken, you need the treatment but first, we need to properly vet the supposed pest.
Chelle - I hear you! If we don’t know what the pest is and what it does, we can be wasting a lot of time and effort looking to the wrong places and using the wrong controls.
4. What do you think the biggest challenge for pest control companies is right now?
Probably labor, secondary would be providing the service that was promised at the time the contract/agreement was signed. That whole writing the check and cashing it analogy. 2+ years of a global pandemic and the pest industry flourished, so revenues and profits aren’t necessarily a problem.
C - I definitely agree with you on labor. That is definitely hitting the pest management industry. (If you are interested in a really cool field, click here for job postings!)
5. What changes do you predict in the next 5-10 years.
Can a boy dream…?
C - Hell yeah!
I hope to see more thorough usage of risk assessments and letting the collected data drive changes to the program on a more frequent basis.
C - So actually “reading” the data and doing it more than once a year, or even less in some cases.
With all the mergers and acquisitions going on, I would also expect to see Regional PMP growth to fill the void. All things being cyclical, this is nothing groundbreaking.
6. You work with pheromones, explain that like you would to a five year old.
Most insects release a smell that only certain other insects can detect, we recreate that smell and use it to monitor (catch) and control (eliminate) them.
C - That’s awesome.
7. What do you think people get wrong about pheromones?
The thought process that they control a pest problem when using them. Pheromone monitoring is comprised of three modes of action:
C - And abundance just gives you an idea of the population and changes in population, it can’t account for every individual insect at a site.
Nowhere do we see control, suppress, eliminate, kill… etc. in the above 3 points.
- What is here?
- How much of it is here?
- Has my advice or treatment provided the intended outcome?
C - As you mentioned before, being more data driven, using our brains instead of “spray and pray”.
8. All tools are affected by how you use them. What are your tips for using pheromone traps?
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, labels, protocols, etc.
Properly identify the insect(s) and choose the correct monitoring system for them. This is becoming way too easy since the invention of “combination” style monitoring systems. Some can monitor for 30+ insects.
Let the monitoring systems steward your time and labor. They are for pointing to an unknown issue, if you already knew about it, then use them elsewhere unless the budget allows for more monitoring.
C- Great advice.
9. What new “stuff” is Trece working on that we can look forward to?
Lots… Specific cockroach monitoring systems, reassessing current market products to achieve better performance, mating disruption for cigarette beetle and sprayable/ULV mating disruption products.
C - That’s so fun, I’m excited!
10. If you were any of our pest species, what would you be and why?
Indian meal moth! You have like 200 brothers and sisters spread across the infestation site, larval life is all about the food, adulthood has 1 goal… to mate and procreate. Then you die. Simply life!
C -That’s a great way to look at it…I’m getting hungry now!
11. (Bonus!) Any last words?
I thought this was an interview, not an execution!
C - Oh, did I not mention that? 😊
I do want to say one last thing, Thank You Chelle for being a most awesome mentor of mine, helping me achieve my ACE certification and always bringing real world thoughts to the pest management sphere. Keep going forward!
C - Aw… Thanks!
Who’s going to be next on our “10 questions with a pro” series? You are just going to have to keep reading to find out. You do know that we send a newsletter out every week so you can get the blog post and more great info delivered to your inbox, right? You can reach me anytime (well, maybe not anytime) to help with your pest problems.
Lagniappe - more on peromones:
Urban pest consulting