By Andrew Christman, President of the Ohio Pest Management Association
This first appeared in the fall 2010 issue of the Ohio Pest Management Association's quarterly newsletter, The Standard.
It is hard to fathom that almost a year has passed since I took oath to serve you as President of OPMA in December 2009. This has been a challenging and exciting year, to say the least. I have learned a tremendous amount about our association and how local, state and national legislation affects all of us. I have also realized the importance of personal involvement and the true impact that we, as individuals and as an association, can have when we put in the time and effort.
Believe me, your voice is heard when you choose to use it! It is encouraging to know that our representatives, officials, customers and/or friends alike view us as professional industry experts when it comes to protecting their home, health, family, pets and properties. Another great industry supporter is our state regulatory official, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA).
I have always known this, but it was more apparent then ever when I attended the annual meeting for the Association for Structural Pest Control Regulatory Officials (ASPCRO) in August. ASPCRO is the National Association for the 52 states’ regulatory officials. I have never been more engaged during day-long meetings, and I was so pleasantly surprised to befriend industry officials from all over the country. I took over 20 pages of notes and would like to share a few of the topics that will be of interest to you:
• Gus R. Douglass – Commissioner West Virginia Department of Agriculture opened the meeting, as it was hosted in Charleston, W.Va. Gus indicated that stink bugs are going to be a huge problem for crops in the near future. I inquired about stink bugs with Dr. Susan Jones at OSU-E, and we, too, believe that stink bugs have the potential to become a structural invader and nuisance pest that our industry will soon be challenged to control. My advice to you is to remember STINK BUGS, and do your research and develop methods to treat them.Lastly, I would like to talk to you about a pest that is consuming national and local media attention: Bed Bugs, Bed Bugs, Blood Suckers, Bed Bugs and Bed Bugs!!! Many of you have been called upon by a reporter or newscaster and asked to be involved in a televised story or answer questions for print. OPMA asks you to please be very careful while conducting these interviews.
• Bill Diamond – USEPA Acting Deputy Office Director - Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) mentioned that the USEPA has many positions available and there has been a lot of change and “turnover” within the organization.
• Administrator Jackson’s seven priorities at the EPA are: 1) Climate change; 2) Air quality; 3) Safety of chemicals; 4) Cleaning up our communities; 5) Protecting America’s waters; 6) Expanding conversation on environmentalism and working for environmental justice; 7) Building stronger state and tribal partnerships.
• New York City asked the USEPA to eliminate the use of total release foggers for bed bug control. The USEPA denied this request, and found the incidents to be “minimal.”
• Current challenges at the USEPA are: budget constraints, efficiencies, risk based priorities, personnel retention and succession planning and performance accountability.
• IPM in Schools – Dr. Marc Lame with Indiana University spoke about his efforts to enforce IPM in Schools. Dr. Lame believes that the Health Departments should be the regulatory officials for IPM, because they are already mandated to inspect schools two times per year. Dr. Lame’s program quickly evolved into a debate over the use of pesticides and how certain pesticides are non-scientifically being classified as endocrine disruptors. THIS WAS THE DEFINING MOMENT WHEN I REALIZED ASPCRO AND THE ODA ARE TRULY FRIENDS OF THE INDUSTRY EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE OUR REGULATORY OFFICIALS.
• Liza Fleeson, (Virginia Department of Agriculture) representative and chairwomen of the ASPCRO Bed Bug Committee, indicated that there is currently a great deal of work going on behind the scenes looking at existing products where the label could be potentially changed to include bed bugs.
• Robert Alverous (New Mexico Department of Agriculture) has been studying all registered pesticides and has scrutinized all existing labels. I believe Mr. Alverous will soon posses the knowledge regarding what products of efficacy are going to be best utilized in the future.
• Susan Jennings – Public Health liaison with USEPA indicated that she is actively working within our industry to find new products and/or locate existing compounds that will work against bed bugs. Susan also reiterated that the USEPA would expedite registration of any new product.
• Gene Harrington (NPMA) – Released the results of NPMA’s extensive bed bug survey. (To review these results, please see the article on page XX of this issue, and check out www.npmapestworld.org). Gene indicated that over 950 people/companies responded to the survey. There is a lot of good information with in the survey, and I recommend that you read it. One interesting result was the answer to the question regarding what products are most commonly used by PMP’s to control bed bugs. The order was: Phantom, Gentrol, Suspend, Bedlam and Tempo.
• A recent New York law, A10356B/S8130, which took effect around September 1st, comes amid a rash of complaints about bed bugs in New York City and other major cities across the nation. The measure applies only to the city. Dubbed the Bed bug Disclosure Act, the measure requires owners and leasers to notify new rental tenants of bed bug infestations that have plagued the building and the tenant’s individual unit during the previous year.
If you do not feel comfortable answering the media, please direct them to the OPMA. We are here to serve as the voice for our industry. Many interviews only publish and/or televise a fraction of what you state during an interview. Oftentimes after reading your interview or seeing yourself on television you ponder, “that is not what I said,” or “my answer was totally taken out of context.” Believe me, it has happened to me on more then one occasion.
If you are going to conduct an interview: 1) Be confident in your speaking abilities; 2) Be knowledgeable of the subject matter; 3) Only use factual statements; 4) Ask the reporter for the questions in advance; and 5) Never bad mouth a competitor, registered products and/or approved methods used to eradicate a bed bug situation. We, as an industry, are going to be under the microscope for years to come. If we fail to control bed bugs, the finger is going to be pointed at us, regardless of our handicap with current product efficacy issues.
During this current evolution in our industry, you cannot afford to miss OPMA’s Winter Meeting in Columbus, Ohio on December 6th - 7th. There will be a wealth of knowledge distributed and absorbed during this upcoming meeting. I hope to see you there!
For more details visit: http://www.ohiopma.org./
It has been my pleasure and distinct honor to represent such a passionate organization. It is very satisfying to know that OPMA is a special organization comprised of competitors which all work towards one goal. Our competitive business spirit towards one another has never detoured the relentless dedication and tireless pursuit our leaders endure, “to promote education and ethics for the pest control industry, to foster research and diffusion of knowledge of the industry among its members and to cooperate with the National Pest Management Association and with governmental and educational authorities for the good of the community and industry.” - OPMA Mission Statement
It was great to see many of you at the annual National Pest Management Association meeting in October in Honolulu, Hawaii.
President – OPMA
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Wrapping up a Busy 2010!