What was new in the PestWorld exhibition? Not much…

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Like the rest of the PestWorld experience, the exhibition is certainly the largest of its kind anywhere in the world. But what did it reveal? What was new and what’s hot?
Dedicated to around 100,000 square feet of exhibit space the size is something to behold. And, with over 180 exhibitors, all aspects of what goes into professional pest control are covered – be it equipment, chemicals, vehicles, insurance, legal items, human resources, consultants or digital and computer systems.

An international market place
On the exhibition floor visitors from almost any part of the world will be surprised byhow many industry colleagues they know – as this event is the hunting ground for distributors the world over, all looking for what’s new and what’s likely to be heading towards their home markets in the near future. After exchanging the usual initial pleasantries, the next typical question is: “What have you spotted that’s new?”

Regrettably, the answer to this question this year was: “Not much!” But what was most encouraging was that several of the new products on display in the USA for the first time were ones we already have in the UK, or are about to see launched, at PestTech.

Traditionally the manufacturers of the branded products used by professionals have the largest exhibit stands – namely Bayer and BASF – with Bell, Brandenburg, Dow, Zoecon, FMC, Syngenta etc not far behind. But none of these had any major new product to launch.

This very much underlines the views expressed by Jeff Cox, global head of Syngenta’s Lawn & Garden business sector in his address when introducing the key note speaker in the general session on day three. He said: “The number of companies with the investment power and resources to conduct research and development is falling. The costs of R&D are increasing as the requirements of regulators become increasingly challenging.” The likley end result is fewer new active substances for the professional pest control sector.

Addressing topics
With not much new to talk about, BASF took the opportunity to highlight some of the issues surrounding the use of insecticides – notably repellence, resistance and bait aversion. Amusingly, they set visitors the challenge of sampling what appeared to be identical jelly beans – but they could either be lime or lawn clippings, buttered popcorn or rotten egg or maybe tutti-fruitti or stinky socks. The jury is out as to whether they did taste different or not. Whether the audience grasped the concept that this was aimed at illustrating, namely bait aversion among cockroaches, remains to be seen!

Embracing change
Fewer chemicals maybe, but pest controllers are notoriously inventive. If regulations continue to tighten and there are less ‘chemical fixes’ to rely on, the industry will just have to learn smarter ways of using what it has already got. It will have to modify and change – just as consultant Robbie Bach, previously CEO of Microsoft Xbox highlighted in his presentation.

Doing it ‘smarter’
On this occasion doing things ‘smarter’ refers to running your business ‘smarter’ and embracing the new digital technologies of today. The number of electronic rodent monitoring systems is ever expanding – some are only in the later stages of development – as reported here.


Exhibition Opening   Cutting the ribbon. The exhibition was officially opened by the NPMA executive board

Exhibition SyngentaThe chemical manufacturers traditionally have the largest and most elaborate stands

Exhibition AversionBASF getting the bait aversion message over?

Exhibition InternationalArms across the water. International visitors gather
on the Bell stand

Being ‘smarter’ extends to capturing and then retaining customers and there were several booths in the exhibition offering systems to help companies do this in today’s competitive and digital age. As Jennifer Leggett, president of Florida-based Lindsey Pest Services said: “The marketing of how we get and then retain our customers has totally altered. Technology now offers the systems to do this which we have to embrace. Today, if a householder needs a pest control company they simply tap this, along with details of the town they live in, into Google – it’s key we appear at the top of the list.”

Companies like Listen360, Slingshot, Quacito and ACES for Business offer a variety of services from appointment making, including sending out a photo of the technician who is going to call, to feedback requests so that customers provide positive Google reviews or are invited to share their experiences on social media. We’ve seen nothing like this at any of the European exhibitions but it seems likely that it will arrive sometime soon. So watch this space.

First seen in Europe – now at PestWorld
Its not all one way. Encouragingly, several products already on sale in Europe – some for many years – crossed the Atlantic to appear at PestWorld.

Exhibition Bird Free Exhibition Nara

Optical Gel bird repellent – well established in Europe but now available from Bird Barrier

Debuted in the UK only weeks ago – but now
NARA Spray appears in the USA
Exhibition Ratwall Exhibition Mousestop

RatWall sold by Pelsis featured on their stand – as it
will at PestTech

Sold in Europe for over 25 years – MouseStop comes
to the USA
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