Looking back on our pest control news articles from 2011, it is truly remarkable to see the dedication that is displayed by pest management professionals, and the advancements that have been made by scientists and researchers; in the ongoing battle against pests, bugs and insects.
The year kicked off with an extremely generous donation of $5M for pest control research, coming from a longtime Florida resident, who made a career out of the study and management of insects. This gentleman wanted to ensure that innovative pest management research and education, would continue at the University of Florida, for many years to come. And, with the relentless invasion of blood-sucking bed bugs across America, the funding could not have come; at a better time.
The fact that many traditional pest and bug control treatments have been ineffective against bed bug invaders, has encouraged researchers to generate new and viable treatment solutions, that will (hopefully) solve the nation’s most serious pest control problems. A bed bug study released in the January 2011 PLoS ONE scientific journal, suggested that that pesticide-resistant strains of this blood-sucking pest, possess genetic sequencing that makes the bed bugs immune to certain chemicals; and traditional pest control treatments. So, to discover and understand the genetics of the most common pests, a 5 year, $15 million international effort (i5k Initiative) will study and sequence the genomes of 5,000 insects and other arthropods. Among the list of pests to be sequenced are ants, termites, cockroaches, bed bugs and flies.
The first genome announcement came in early 2011, when scientists decoded the genome of the Argentine ant. Their analysis of the new genomes, suggested that chemical modification of certain sections of DNA, could be responsible for the differential development of queens and workers. Therefore, scientists believe that they can switch off the genes that control the ant’s reproductive ability, as well as the potential for wing growth. In similar fashion, experts from Oxford University in the U.K. have researched and developed, an irradiation technique that sterilizes male insects, so that when they mate with wild females; the offspring dies.
For most property and home owners, when a common pest problem develops they contact a pest control professional, or seek-out a do-it-yourself solution. Either way, very few people stop to consider the countless hours of research or millions of dollars in funding, that has gone into developing the most advanced insect, bug and pest control treatments. You know, the ones that we count on to keep our friends and family safe? I think that this might be a good time of year, to reflect on this important and meaningful contribution to our pest-free Holiday happiness, and take a moment to thank pest management and control professionals; everywhere.
To all pest control technicians, staff, researchers and scientists: Thank you and Happy Holidays.