• Chelle Hartzer

What Would You Do for $2K? (AKA: I remember being a poor starving grad student...)

If you saw my post last week, you know I have been doing this for over two years. (If you haven’t, why not?!?!) You would think after two years, what is there left to write about? Oh… so much! Aside from all the pests, all the science, and all the processes, there is the news.

This has been making the rounds lately.

Sounds a little silly, right? In fact, it is really important.

Our pests have been around for thousands of years. Maybe even millions in some cases. There is evidence of cigarette beetles in ancient Egyptian tombs and the fossil records for cockroaches go back to 100mya. If we had all the answers, we would have eliminated these pests long ago. The fact is, these are very adaptable insects (and rodents!) that have consistently evolved to take advantage of the foods we provide for them and evade the treatments we throw at them.

This is why testing is so important. It may be a new product that needs to be tested to see if it will even work. It may be a side-by-side test

to see which product works faster, is more palatable, or can be used in smaller doses. Then, it has to be taken out of the lab (where the insects are often pampered little lab colonies that are wusses) to the field where all the variables come into play. There are sanitation issues, temperature fluctuation, weather events, non-target organisms, and people. I’ve seen some laboratory trials show excellent results but when the product got out into the “real world” it didn’t work.

I’ve done field testing on many products for manufacturers. In a previous life, I did many laboratory research studies too. Without these important scientific studies, we wouldn’t have a lot of the important information we have today on effectively treating pests. We wouldn’t know what doses are effective on the pests and safe for applicators. There’s a reason for the repetitive saying of “read and follow the label!”.

All of this is to say that field testing like this is essential and those that participate in these experiments are helping the industry to be more effective, faster, and safer. You can think of this like the medical studies that people participate in to develop and test new medications. Since pest management professionals are superheroes that protect people's structures, health, and food supply, this information is essential for them to do their jobs to the best of their abilities and continue to protect their customers.

Here are a few cockroach facts from research over the last few years:

  • American cockroaches like to aggregate and based on how many females and males there are, they can gather in different locations (this helps us know where and how to treat).

  • German cockroaches are resistant to many pesticides and this resistance develops fast (this helps us know what products to use and when to switch).

  • American cockroaches like sewers and different products have varying efficacy (this means if we treat with the right product, populations can be kept low and out of structures.

  • Turkestan cockroaches are a big problem in the southwestern US and residual sprays can be effective (this means if we know where and how to treat, we can control populations better).

So next time something like this hits your news feed, consider signing up and helping the industry be better! In the meantime, you can depend on a person who is constantly looking at the science and testing to help you with the best products, procedures, and training. (Hint: that’s me!)

360 PFCS – your urban pest control consultants.

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