NPTA takes to the road… or was it sleigh

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On what must have been the coldest and snowiest day this year, a valiant band of professional pest controllers made it to the NPTA ‘On the road day’ just outside Nottingham. Once there, they were not disappointed.
With the country gripped in the icy blast of the ‘Beast from the East’, nearly 50 members of the  National Pest Technicians Association (NPTA) rolled-up at the Ruddington Grange Golf club, near Nottingham, on 1 March to participate in the Midlands NPTA ‘On the road’ day. The day before had been the turn of the north west with an event in Manchester with further events in this series still to be held over the year in London, Scotland, Belfast, Dublin, Kent and Hampshire. These events are free of charge for NPTA members.

All credit should go to all those who made their way to Ruddington. Despite the awful weather, only about 10 delegates cried-off, mainly those coming from Lincolnshire which was most badly hit by the snow and this unfortunately included, NPTA chairman, Adam Hawley. To accommodate some of the speakers and exhibitors who had travelled the greatest distances – for example Killgerm’s Nigel Batten from Dorset and Elaine Bliss of West Sussex based PestFix – the programme was altered to allow these travellers an early get-away.

Snow 1 Van
A snowy scene awaited delegates

Snow 2 FeetIs this what they call 2 feet of snow?

Snow 3 HelenHelen Ainsworth came well wrapped

Warm welcome from NPTA
First up was NPTA chief executive John Davison. He welcomed everyone and congratulated them for making it to the event. John updated the group regarding some of the latest developments at NPTA – namely that the decision had been taken that members would need to subscribe to CPD in 2019, that the association was currently seeking to recruit a technical manager to handle all matters relating to training, audits, advice to members etc and that PestTech 2018 was to be held at Arena MK in Milton Keynes.

The programme for the day basically fell into three sections – technical updates, talks on good practice and practical demonstrations – in between which were the ‘commercial breaks’ when representatives from some of the companies present spoke about their products.

Technical updates
There were two excellent but quite scientific presentations. In the first bird expert Nigel Batten unravelled the science and practice of using hand-held lasers as part of a bird management programme. Then Sharon Hughes from BASF gave a background talk covering cholecalciferol, the active ingredient in several BASF rodenticide products currently on sale in territories such as Australia & New Zealand. Work is in hand to bring these to the UK, but Sharon would not be drawn as to when!

Speaker NigelThe mysteries of hand-held lasers were unravelled
by Nigel Batten from Killgerm

Speaker SharonSharon Hughes of BASF gave the audience a sneak peek of the properties of cholecalciferol

Good practice
With the emphasis on more practical matters, Richard Moseley from Bayer discussed insect pest management. He outlined how long and how much a new active took to develop and made the plea that pest controllers really must protect those products currently available – using different formulations and rotating actives being a good way forward, as is good hygiene and physical control measures.

Speaker RichardRichard Moseley spoke on insects

Speaker Iain And ChrisIain Turner with Chris Woodard

Speaker JimJim Kirk discused rodenticides

With mice in mind, Chris Woodard covered the three UK native mice – the wood mouse, yellow necked mouse and the harvest mouse – that can, unintentionally, become the target of rodenticide treatments. On behalf of NPTA, Iain Turner referred to the now implemented ‘Toxic to reproduction’ label changes for anticoagulant rodenticides which came into force on the very day of the road show. Whereas Jim Kirk from Deadline Products encouraged the audience to think beyond solely using rodenticides to employing trapping and proofing.

Practical demonstrations
As practical people pest controllers love getting their hands on the kit itself and this also provides an opportunity for them to mention their own personal tried and tested measures. So there was plenty of audience participation in the three practical sessions covering sprayer maintenance, bird management techniques and trapping.

Demo IanPractical sprayer use with Iain 

Demo NigelNigel controls the birds

Demo ChrisChris discusses the use of traps

Commercial breaks
The day was rounded-off by ‘commercial breaks’ between the sessions for product promotions. These included Laurence Barnard who outlined the new products, including Sakarat liquid bait, available from Killgerm and Jim Kirk who spoke about the new Deadline fluorescent tracking gel and the use of alphachloralose as an alternative to SGARs.

Exhibitors on display
Surrounding the room was a series of small exhibition stands from manufacturers and distributors – an opportunity to look at the products and share a joke or two.

Exhib PestfixPestFix

Killgerm ExhibitorKillgerm

Exhib DeadlineDeadline Products

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