Urban Pest Management Conference Featured Talks on Termites, Pests, Business Safety

Dr. Ed Vargo speaking

Dr. Ed Vargo speaking during the first session of the conference. Photo by Rob Williams

Four hundred pest management professionals convened at the Brazos Center on January 8-10 to learn something new during the 74th annual Urban Pest Management Conference and Workshop at the Brazos Center.

The three-day-long conference featured various speakers on topics on insect and other pest management, the latest entomological research, and updates in techniques for business owners and pest managers.

Professor and Endowed Chair of the Urban and Structural Entomology Program Dr. Ed Vargo updated the group on the latest research activities members of the Urban and Structural Entomology program, including new projects and partnerships, as well as new personnel.

Keynote speaker Dr. Dini Miller spoke on the topic titled “Why IPM has Failed to Eliminate German Cockroach Infestations: A Case for Assessment Based Pest Management”. In her talk, Miller spoke on how using assessment-based pest management could be used in assessing infestations of German cockroaches in homes.

Dr. Dini Miller speaking to audience

Keynote speaker Dr. Dini Miller speaking to the audience. Photo by Rob Williams

Texas Department of Agriculture’s Allison Cuellar also updated the audience on the new laws and regulations regarding pest managers and their businesses and showed the top 10 frequent violations that have been reported to the agency in 2019.

Other events during the first day included a talk on safety while performing services, turfgrass weed management, gene drive and how it can be used to control pests, and a talk on multi-year studies on termite treatments. Some of the topics during the Hot Topics session with Vargo and Dr. Robert Puckett included the latest in termite and bed bug research.

The Associate Certified Entomologist (ACE) and the 8 Hour Technician Training courses were available during the day and a tour of the Rollins Urban and Structural Building was held Monday evening. During the tour, participants could view the laboratories and ask questions about projects.

Fabian List talking about his research to a tour group

Ph.D. student Fabian List talking to a tour group about his research during the tour of the Rollins Urban and Structural Facility. Photo by Rob Williams.

The Thursday sessions included talks on diagnosing landscape disease problems and an expert forum where participants listened to a panel of experts on topics affecting pest control professionals and their businesses.

This year’s concurrent sessions included learning about how inspectors handle complaint investigations, how to handle pests in landscape and ornamental settings, and common problems keeping lawn and ornamentals healthy. Some of the research vignettes featured included talks on termites and how to use phorid flies to control red imported fire ants.

Participants also got the chance to attend three mini-sessions during the conference. Photo by Rob Williams.

Participants also got the chance to attend three mini-sessions during the conference. Photo by Rob Williams.

The final day included three specialized short courses in bed bug control, fumigation techniques, and pest ant identification and management. All the courses included hands-on activities to help pest control professionals to learn the latest techniques that are in the industry today. Each course consisted of classroom type lectures and live demonstrations.

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