PestEx Seminars – something for everyone

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PestEx 2019 employed the now tried and tested format of two seminar programmes running in parallel, one dedicated to technical topics, the other to business subjects. Spread over the two days there was plenty for everyone. This format works well, although the lines between ‘technical’ and ‘business’ seemed a little more blurred at PestEx 2019 than at previous events.
The event itself was very busy on day one, less so on day two and this was reflected in the numbers attending the seminars. Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points for both the established PROMPT register and the new BPCA Registered scheme were on offer for attending each seminar, in addition to those available for attending the exhibition itself. The event in its entirety gave pest professionals the opportunity of collecting a large proportion of their annual CPD points requirement.

In total there were 23 separate sessions, so even the most dedicated seminar attendee needed to be selective. Pest reporters went along to ten of the 23. Two of the remainder had already featured on the agenda at other events attended by Pest and held earlier this year.

Rodent attraction
Rodents are the bread and butter pests for very many pest professionals and with all the changes in when, where and how they can be used, any topic in a seminar programme that mentions rodent control is bound to excite interest. The rodent-related sessions from BASF’s Sharon Hughes, Paul Charlson representing the National Pest Advisory Panel (NPAP) and Dr Belinda Stuart-Moonlight, an expert witness from Moonlight Environmental, all drew a good crowd.

Sharon discussed two challenges to successful rodent control; the reclassification of rodenticides as Toxic to Reproduction and rodenticide resistance. Paul reviewed the updated NPAP Rat and Mouse Procedures Manual and pointed out that when the 2009 version was published there was an assumption that rodent control would involve the use of rodenticide. Not an assumption that can be made now.

Sharon Belinda Paul
Speakers on rodents, from left: Sharon Hughes of BASF, expert witness Belinda Stuart-Moonlight from Moonlight Environmental and Paul Charlson representing NPAP

Insects of interest
Bed bugs, Asian hornets and cockroaches all featured on day one in the technical arena. The session on cockroach foraging behaviour and biology by Steve Broadbent, Ensystex, who had travelled all the way from Australia to be at PestEx, was particularly well received. One happy attendee commented that it was the best talk he’d ever heard at any event.

No seminar programme would be complete without a session on bed bugs. Dr Jette Knudsen from Natarro Labs, Sweden gave an excellent whistle stop tour of bed bug biology and behaviour before going on to link this to the design of the company’s Nattaro trap. To attract bed bugs, trap design is key to the dispersal of low concentations of aggregation pheromones, as is trap placemet itself.

On day two Dr Matt Davies (Killgerm) and PhD student Federica Boiocchi raised interesting questions about the pathogens carried by arthropods in hospitals and homes. New work being conducted by Federica on arthropods in homes is already revealing that non-pest species can carry harmful bacteria.

Steve Jette Federica-Matt
Insects to the fore, from left: Steve Broadbent from Ensystex, Dr Jette Knudsen from Natarro, PhD student, Federica Boiocchi and Dr Matt Davies from Killgerm

Eye-catching talk titles
Whilst some sessions were packed, there were just a handful of people in the business theatre to hear Tony Gee from Pen Test Partners on day 1. That was a shame because what he had to say was fascinating. With just a little tech knowledge he explained how easy it can be to hack smart homes and businesses. Sometimes it pays to not be an early adopter!

Over in the technical theatre on day two there were plenty of people to hear Alex Wade from PelGar International address the topic of A world without pesticides. Perhaps, unsurprisingly, Alex wasn’t arguing for no pesticide use; he does work for a biocide manufacturer after all. He was, however, acutely aware of the bad press pesticides in general receive. He suggested that it was irresponsible use that prompted this and called for the continued use of pesticides, but safeguarded by good practice and professionalism.

Food focus
Two sessions had a food industry focus. Jeff Wilson from AIB International was celebrating the first 100 years of the organisation known for its food industry auditing and standards setting.

Following on from Jeff’s presentation, Ferenc Varga, food safety manager for Nestlá©, explored the ways in which pests (or lack of pests) can be monitored, how the information gathered can be used to assemble the records essential to the audit process that assures food quality.

Further coverage…
Watch out for further reports on the seminars from PestEx 2019 in the forthcoming issue of Pest magazine – Issue 62: April and May 2019.


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