Seminars prove popular at Parasitec

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One consistent aspect of the pest management events held this autumn is that pest professionals always seen keen to hear of new developments and brush up on their technical knowledge. Parasitec was no exception, with every one of the technical seminars being well attended. We didn’t get to them all but here’s our round-up of the ones we did attend.

This year the sessions followed the format we first saw at PestEx 2015 – namely silent seminars. Briefly, to get round the problem of background noise from the exhibition interfering with the seminars and vice versa, everyone in the seminar is given a headset. The speakers are ‘miked up’ and the audience can hear what they have to say via their headset. At Parasitec you could choose your language – French or English as all the sessions, whilst given in French, were simultaneously translated.

Among the sessions we attended on bed bugs, bird management, digital marketing, reclassification of rodenticides and rodent behaviour, there wasn’t much new ground covered. However, perhaps our verdict of ‘not much new’ is a little harsh, as we have benefitted from attending the full gambit of events this autumn.

Rodenticide reclassification
For many the reclassification of rodenticides as ‘toxic to reproduction’ will have been new as it was to those who attended the Pest Control News workshop at PestTech on the same topic. Bertrand Montmoreau, representing the French trade association 3D, ran through the reclassification changes – namely any product with an active substance concentration of 30 parts per million or more (that’s all current professional rodenticides except those based on difethialone) will be reclassified as ‘toxic to reproduction’. Such products cannot be sold to amateurs and must carry appropriate warning labels. Bertrand also covered training requirements and the definition of a professional pest controller which in France is pretty clear cut – professionals must hold the Certibiocides qualification.

Digital marketing
Digital marketing was also on the agenda as it had been at PestWorld in Seattle and at PestTech. PestTech examined one specific aspect, Google maps, whilst in Seattle you could have spent virtually a whole day in sessions on various aspects of digital marketing. In Paris the hour long session was wide ranging covering everything from natural referencing via sponsored links, e-newsletter and display advertising to social networks. The speaker, Arnaud Debaisieux had an unusual way of making sure his audience stayed to the end. He was clearly a pretty good magician as he took a “10 note from a volunteer member of the audience asked him to sign it and then made it disappear only to reappear at the end of the presentation inside a lemon. Yes a real lemon which he cut to reveal the now rather sticky “10 note!

Parasitec Denis Levoyer

Pest controller Denis Levoyer and the lemon that contained his “10 note

Rodent behaviour
It was standing room only for the entertaining session on rodent behaviour by consultant Pierre Falgayrac who provided a good refresher session on the importance to pest control of understanding rodent behaviour. In doing so he dispelled several popular myths which anthropomorphise rodent behaviour. For example the idea that rats send out a sacrificial member of their number to test new food sources. People have observed what they think is this behaviour, but it can be explained in a different way. Dominant rats eat first, so if a new food source is found (i.e. your bait) and there is other food about, it will be the less dominant rats – the omegas – that get to eat the new food. They are not sacrificing themselves for the benefit of the colony!

Pierre Falgayrac has written two books, Le Grand Guide de lutte raisonná©e contre les nuisibles ou bioagresseurs urbainsa and, the most recent, Des rats et des hommes. He also recommended Penser comme un rat by Vinciane Despret. If your French is up to it they will probably be good reads!

Volatiles and nidification
Billed as a session about ‘volatiles’ we were not too sure what to expect from Dr Jean-Michael Michaux from ISTAV. Thanks to Google translate ‘volatiles’ turned out to be nothing more sinister than birds, with pigeons and parakeets proving to be the subject, although Asian hornets did make a brief appearance!

Again this was a useful refresher on pigeon behaviour with the emphasis very much on a structured strategy to be in place if any success is to be achieved. When talking about birds’ nests (nid in French) one had to smile at the Franglais word of ‘nidification’. Regarding parakeets, Dr Michaux detailed the increasing population numbers of this invasive species, quoting a population of 80,000 in London. Really?

Parasitec Bertrand MontmoreauBertrand Montmoreau

Parasitec Arnaud DebaisieuxArnaud Debaisieux

Parasitec Pierre FalgayracPierre Falgayrac

Parasitec Jean-Michael MichauxDr Jean-Michael Michaux

Parasitec Arezki IzriDr Arezki Izri

Whirlwind bed bug tour
There was also a whirlwind tour of bed bug biology and behaviour from Dr Arezki Izri, head of the parasitology section at Avicenne hospital. He gave some very useful information on the better known medical problems caused by bed bugs – bites, allergies, rashes, skin lesions etc but also mentioned the all too often psychological effects of an infestation. He gave another whirlwind tour of the control options, most of which he was somewhat dismissive about, leading one to wonder how on earth those pest controllers in the audience were ever to manage to eliminate a problem. Maybe it was for this reason, that after the talk he was surrounded by delegates asking questions.
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