Non-traditional pests are impacting the pest management industry more than ever before. Whether a regionally introduced pest, like the kudzu bug or the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), or a global resurgence like the bed bug, these pests have brought to light challenges that must be overcome. Our industry, and more importantly our service professionals, must be able to address these challenges to be successful.
One of the first challenges faced when dealing with non-traditional
pests is a lack of information on those pests’ lifecycles. As all pest
management professionals are aware, and according to the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) definition, the basis of an Integrated Pest
Management program is a comprehensive knowledge of the pest’s lifecycle.
With most of these non-traditional and introduced species, our
knowledge of lifecycles is limited to information on how they interact
in natural environments. Knowledge of how the pests will react in new
environments — environments where they are increasingly found — is far
from comprehensive. In the absence of natural predators, with an
abundance of resources and a more favorable environment, history has
shown that these pests tend to thrive in many cases.
The IPM Challenge. The
BMSB is a perfect example. When first encountered as a structural pest,
it was believed that based on information from its native environment,
that existing control practices could limit its expansion.
Unfortunately, BMSBs thrived, producing up to five generations per
season, causing surges of insects into homes throughout the mid-Atlantic
region. Unfortunately for businesses receiving calls from consumers
overwhelmed by the BMSB, this lack of information posed a challenge in
creating an effective IPM program.
Another pressing challenge has been the availability of effective
materials for the control of non-traditional pests. Many industry
products are not specifically labeled for the pests we are trying to
control and therefore are not legal to apply. The kudzu bug is an
example: first encountered in Georgia in 2009, the kudzu bug has
steadily increased its range every year since. For an exterior
application to be made, the site of the application must be listed on
the label. However, there are many states that require the specific pest
be listed on the label, regardless of the site. As the kudzu bug
continues its trek across the United States, professionals,
manufacturers and state regulators will need to take a look at these
products and regulations to make a determination on how to best proceed
in an effective and legal manner.
Even the resurgence of the bed bug has highlighted the challenges
encountered with the use of non-traditional IPM practices. Most notable
is the use of canine scent detection teams as an inspection tool, a
strategy that has gained momentum in the industry. Nevertheless, the
effectiveness of such a method is often questioned in the absence of a
singular certification program to verify its effectiveness.
In fact, a simple Internet search will provide information on many
different organizations offering training and certification. Even the
NPMA website provides information and links to three different canine
inspection certification organizations. Businesses also must contend
with the additional costs of caring for and training the dog and its
Another bed bug challenge for our industry has been the increased use
of heating equipment to control bed bugs, which has been well
documented. While temperature modification is not a new practice for
pest management, it has recently become the preferred method for control
of bed bugs. Like traditional pests, the challenge for the industry has
been an overreliance on older, inaccurate information regarding the bed
bug’s lifecycle and reaction to heat. Newer information has allowed
professionals to develop IPM strategies for more effective control of
Non-traditional pests are having an impact on our industry and will continue to do so. There is much more to learn.
As always Servall Termite & Pest Control is here for all of your pest control and home repair needs. Contact us today at one of our four convenient locations or visit http://www.servallpestcontrol.com!