ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Most business and leisure travelers in the United States can’t identify a bed bug, and yet the pest evokes a stronger response in hotel guests than any other potential room deficiency.

In a survey of U.S. travelers conducted by researchers at the University of Kentucky, 60 percent said they would switch hotels if they found evidence of bed bugs in a guest room. In the same survey, however, just 35 percent of business travelers and 28 percent of leisure travelers correctly identified a bed bug in a lineup of common insects. The survey report is soon to be published in American Entomologist, the quarterly magazine of the Entomological Society of America.

“Considering all the media attention paid to bed bugs in recent years, the fact that most travelers still have a poor understanding of them is troubling,” says Michael Potter, Ph.D., extension professor in UK’s Department of Entomology and co-author of the study.

It is particularly problematic given the central role that online reviews play in travelers’ selection of where to stay. Even just one erroneous review could unduly harm a hotel’s reputation, as more than half of survey respondents said they would be very unlikely to choose a hotel with a single online report of bed bugs. Other findings include:

  • More than half (56 percent) of respondents said they either never considered the threat of bed bugs while traveling or considered it but were not worried.
  • If a hotel provided information on steps it takes to prevent bed bug infestations, 46 percent of respondents said they would stay at the hotel and would appreciate knowing about those measures. The second most common response, however, was “do it, but don’t tell me” (24 percent).
  • An overwhelming majority (80 percent) of respondents said hotels should be required to tell guests if their room has had a prior problem with bed bugs.


Rex Jennings, Longtime PestSure COO, Passes Away
Jennings

DALLAS, Texas — Rex Jennings, the longtime chief operating officer of PestSure, passed away May 9 at his home in Dallas, Texas. He was 72.

In 1986, Jennings began running PestSure, an insurance association specializing in covering pest control operators. He led the program for more than 23 years.

“When Bob Sameth and I hired Rex Jennings to run PestSure, our insurance company captive, we not only got a terrific executive but gained a wonderful, lifelong friend,” said Victor Hammel, the former chairman of Rentokil North America and a founder of PestSure. “But we were not the only ones in that category. At his funeral in Dallas, there were about 600 people who all considered Rex to be among their closest friends.”

Jennings was born May 23, 1944, in Paris, Texas. After attending Baylor University and earning a BBA in 1966, he earned a MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania in 1968.

An avid sport fan, Jennings was known for his ability to recite even the most obscure team trivia accompanied with an anecdote, Hammel said. Friends and family also noted his storytelling ability, kindness and honesty.

PestSure COO Todd Burke, who worked with Jennings for 10 years and succeeded him in 2011, said he considered Jennings “like a dad and a true mentor.”

“Rex dedicated 23 years of his career exclusively towards making PestSure successful,” Burke said. “He was highly intelligent, trustworthy, always did the right thing, cared about people, was well-liked and always made the best decisions to protect the longevity of the PestSure program. I consider myself to be very fortunate to have the opportunity to carry on his legacy with PestSure.”

Russ Ives, president of Rose Pest Solutions and current PestSure president, said Jennings was a major contributor to the growth of the company.

“He believed in our industry, made many friends in his 23 years of service to it, and upon his retirement, left behind a uniquely successful and reputable insurance captive that is today recognized in the Bermuda Captive Hall of Fame,” Ives said.

Jennings and his wife of 47 years, Sue, were members of the Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas. He is survived by Sue, his daughter and son, and three grandchildren. A memorial service was held May 15.


Annual Jornadas Tecnicas Conference Focuses on Industry Professionalism

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — The annual Jornadas Tecnicas conference, organized by Chemotecnica Argentina, gave more than 800 attendees insight about the professionalization of the pest control sector.

The well-attended educational sessions at the Jornadas Tecnicas conference in Argentina covered a wide range of technical and business topics.

The conference, held May 3-4, has been taking place for 14 years. Most participants came from Argentina, but others traveled from Uruguay, Chile, Paraguay, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia.

The purpose of the conference is to assist in the training and acquisition of technical, marketing and commercial knowledge for pest control professionals, while also maintaining ethical and environmental standards.

A workshop on IPM in the Food Industry also took place on the first day of the conference as part of a series of complimentary activities associated with the multi-day event.

On the second day, there was an international meeting on dengue, Zika, yellow fever, and challenges in the control of Aedes aegypti. This meeting was organized by the Mundo Sano Foundation, and more than 130 people attended, including officials from areas affected by mosquito-borne illnesses and researchers in the private pest control sector.

Following up on the symposium held in 2016, a meeting of Latin American associations also was organized, in which experiences of pest management professionals in the United States were discussed. (Visit the PCT website to watch a video recap the organizers created of the event.)


Terminix Releases List of Top 20 Mosquito-Infested Cities

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Terminix released its ranking of the 20 most mosquito-infested cities across the nation. Cities in Texas, Florida and Georgia took the top spots this year.

Terminix examined service data from branches across the country between April 1, 2016 and April 1, 2017 to determine the areas where customers are most pestered by mosquitoes.

Texas earned the “honor” of the top three spots on the list, followed closely by Florida and Tennessee. The full list of the top 20 cities is:

  1. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
  2. Houston, Texas
  3. San Antonio, Texas
  4. Atlanta, Ga.
  5. Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
  6. Memphis, Tenn.
  7. Nashville, Tenn.
  8. Austin-Round Rock, Texas
  9. Mobile, Ala.
  10. Jacksonville, Fla.
  11. Cincinnati, Ohio
  12. Washington, D.C.
  13. Tampa, Fla.
  14. Louisville, Ky.
  15. Baton Rouge, La.
  16. Little Rock, Ark.
  17. Tulsa, Okla.
  18. Birmingham, Ala.
  19. Oklahoma City, Okla.
  20. Indianapolis, Ind.

“Mosquitoes can take the buzz out of outdoor fun, and Terminix is committed to defending our customers’ yards, homes and businesses against these pests,” said Paul Curtis, director of technical and regulatory services with Terminix. “We want summer enthusiasts to know they don’t need to tolerate these pests — there are options to beat the buzz and help keep mosquitoes out of your summer plans.”


Temprid FX Label Now Live on PCT’s DLC


PCT’s Distance Learning Center continues to expand with the addition of Bayer’s Temprid FX label training module. These and other label training modules are the centerpiece of PCT’s Distance Learning Center — a FREE service for the professional pest control market provided by PCT.

Created by Board Certified Entomologist and consultant Stoy Hedges, the courses use photographs, video clips and reference materials to challenge users’ knowledge, experience and problem-solving skills for a wide range of products and pest problems.

Accessible by PC, tablet or smartphone, Distance Learning Center training is presented in modules designed to take a half-hour to an hour to complete. Their brevity gives individuals the opportunity to fit this education in whenever their schedules allow — even during breaks or lunchtime.

Visit https://training.pctonline.com to get started, and return frequently as new label training modules are being added monthly.


Anticimex Acquires R&K Pest Control

WESTCHESTER, N.Y. — Anticimex announced its acquisition of R&K Pest Control, a family-owned company. R&K Pest Control provides pest control and termite control solutions for residential and commercial properties in and around Westchester County, N.Y. The acquisition was made by Anticimex’s subsidiary Bug Doctor.

The acquisition follows Anticimex’s purchase of GreenStar and forms part of its strategy to expand in the U.S. market via both organic growth and acquisitions.

Commenting on the purchase, Stuart Aust, president of Bug Doctor, said, “The acquisition of R&K Pest Control will increase route density and our overall footprint in New York and parts of Connecticut. Both of our cultures line up extremely well. Everyone is excited about the acquisition.”

PCOC’s Harvey Logan Passes Away

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Harvey Logan, longtime executive vice president of the Pest Control Operators of California (PCOC), died on May 18. Logan began his role as EVP in 1983 at PCOC, which was then located in Los Angeles. He was instrumental in the professionalization of the association for the betterment and protection of the industry in California.

Logan spearheaded the move of the PCOC headquarters to Sacramento and led the effort to purchase and build the PCOC building on Beacon Ave. “Harvey was the heartbeat of PCOC until his retirement in 2007 and even then he remained actively engaged in the protection of our industry,” said PCOC President Mike Bullert. “Perhaps more than his professional achievements, Harvey will be remembered as a dear friend to all that knew him.”