Training Programs for Structural Pest Control Providers
Professional Training Page Introduction
The Association values its relationship with the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Pesticide Registration Division (PRD) and works to maintain open communication and information sharing to further the goals of fair and consistent regulation of pesticides used in structural pest management. To that end, it is important that PRD staff be fully aware of pest management techniques and practices, which can vary from region to region, and over time as new methods and challenges arise.
In 2005, the Association sponsored its first technical training workshop for decision makers in the U.S. PRD to address emerging issues with termite protection practices and materials.
Decisions made by PRD on label directions and methods of application for the protection of structures have a direct influence on the efficacy of termite protection practices and the enforcement of pesticide application and consumer protection programs administered by Association members.
Discussions between PRD and ASPCRO leadership demonstrated the need to have the decisionmakers in PRD, “walk in the shoes” of a pesticide applicator so that they could see first-hand, the methods and procedures required for a proper termiticide application. There was a need ensure that federal regulatory officials (EPA) understood the requirements of termiticide pesticide labels, and the difficult challenges applicators managed during a pesticide application.
ASPCRO leadership, along with its industry and academy partners, sought to find a location where the workshop could demonstrate the challenges termiticide applicators were having with the mitigation of difficult termite infestations, structural anomalies, terrain and environmental problems as well as interpreting the language utilized on termiticide products. The goal of the training was to provide relevant, first-hand knowledge and experience of what it was like to perform termite inspections and pesticide applications for the protection of structures and dwellings from termite infestation.
A suitable location for the inaugural training workshop was found when it was learned that Formosan termites had infested an apartment complex in Atlanta, GA. These termites had been inadvertently transferred in railroad ties from the New Orleans, LA which had been struggling to gain control of the termites since their introduction after World War II. The railroad ties were used as landscaping features at this and another apartment complex within the city, thereby resulting in Formosan termite infestations of some structures within these apartment complexes.
The workshop provided PRD with opportunities to better understand the biology and behavior of termites, the challenges inherent in the way label language was being interpreted, the different chemistries of termiticides and how they work, how to properly perform a wood-destroying organism inspection and apply termiticides for control of termites in and around structures and within landscapes.
The outstanding success of this workshop proved that in situ training opportunities could mitigate issues that ASPCRO had struggled to communicate to PRD for years. And the success of this workshop was duplicated in several subsequent workshops that helped federal and state agencies better understand structural pest control topics including:
- structural fumigation,
- invasive termite species mitigation,
- mosquito control,
- pyrethroid applications,
- rodent control (those infesting structures and burrowing rodents in landscapes),
- bed bug mitigation,
- school integrated pest management (SIPM), and
- pollinator protections.