Over 250 delegates attended the recent pest control conference held on 24 & 25 March at Paestum in southern Italy. The convivial mood at the conference and the warm welcome given to all guests matched the pleasant surroundings and the warm sunny Mediterranean weather.
Organised by the Italian pest control association, Associazione Nazionale della Imprese di Disinfestestazione (ANID) the theme of the conference was Evolution of the pest control industry. As Sergio Urizio, president of ANID, explained: “The conference falls into four, with each quarter reflecting a current trend – the evolution of quality, the evolution of products, the evolution of pests and their treatment, and finally the evolution of technicians.”
Reflecting these trends was a recurring international theme – the theme of the industry building global partnerships and working together in harmony on an international scale. The feeling of internationalism was certainly reflected in the line-up of the speakers – as these were drawn from the USA, Scandinavia and the UK. A review of their calls for industry unity can be viewed here.
Commencing with the quality theme, especially within the food industry, Sergio was proud to point out that Italy, due to its large international trade in food and food products, was second only to the UK to sign-up to comply with the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Global Standard for Food Safety. Within Italy itself, Roberta Prati from the Bureau Veritas Italia outlined their role within the Italian food industry.
Turning to the evolution of products, Mariateresa Rigato, the regulatory affairs manager from Zapi, detailed the work of CEFIC, whilst Jonathan Peck of the Killgerm Group outlined what the EEC legislators had in store for our industry – click here to read the report.
Picking up on the theme of emerging pests, as with all pest control conferences worldwide, the arrival of bedbugs as a series threat within the hospitality industry made their presence felt. As did the emergence of the Tiger mosquito. Dario Capizzi, the Lazio regional local government rodenticide expert, addressed the familiar theme of resistance to anticoagulant rodenticides. As in the UK, the scale of the problem remains unknown. Again picking up an all too familiar theme, Sara Savoldelli from the University of Milan ran through the control options following the elimination of methyl bromide.
Finally, the evolution of the professional pest control technician was addressed. As the bulk of the delegates attending were technicians, and members of ANID, this promised to be a revealing section. From an ANID perspective, Sergio estimates that there are around 1,000 companies undertaking pest control work within Italy – of these nearly 30% are members, along with 16 industry supply companies. As in the UK there are, however, two organisations available for technicians to join. With this in mind, Iain Turner had been invited to speak to represent the UK’s National Pest Technicians Association (NPTA) to explain how two, at first glance competitive associations, operated within the same country. Iain outlined the remit of both NPTA and also the British Pest Control Association (BPCA) and agreed that both shared a common goal of raising professional standards. However, the subtleties of differentiation were more than likely lost on a foreign audience, particularly as all that was said had to progress through simultaneous translation.
To conclude, when asked what is the most pressing challenge facing the Italian pest control market, Sergio replied without hesitation: “The big concern at the moment is technicians undertaking pest control work without the necessary knowledge, experience or training. Customers don’t help, as the price for the job is their biggest concern. This is not a good situation for the industry, but ANID’s role is to support professionalism and training.”
Regrettably, this is a view all too familiar around the world.
Mariateresa Rigato outlined CEFIC activities
Dario Capizzi (left) & Sara Savoldelli addressed new pest threats
There was a general happy and welcoming atmosphere amongst delegates and exhibitors alike