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International news in brief – November/December 2016 issue

| January 4, 2017
  • Germany: Bayer completes sale of Bayer Garden and Bayer Advanced

In October, Bayer completed the sale of its Consumer business to SBM, an independent and family-owned France-based group. The sale encompasses the Bayer Garden and Bayer Advanced businesses in Europe and North America; 220 dedicated employees as well as the entire product portfolios of Bayer Garden and Bayer Advanced, including the home and garden R&D pipeline, and for a transitional period a license to use the Bayer brand. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

SBM activity is based on three pillars: R&D, Industry and Distribution, with Novajardin, a unit dedicated to Consumers and offering the brands Solabiol, Capiscol, Caussade and ANTI, and CMPA, a unit dedicated to crop professionals. A leader in the French home and garden market, SBM has expertise in biologics, fertilizers and soils. With about 300 employees in Europe, the company has grown organically and through a series of successful acquisitions.

Bayer Garden and Bayer Advanced were part of Environmental Science, a business unit within Bayer’s Crop Science division, which offers a range of high-quality weed and pest control products for professionals and consumers. The turnover of the Environmental Science unit in 2015 was EUR 819 million, to which the Bayer Garden and Bayer Advanced businesses contributed EUR 239 million.
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  • UK: Rentokil Initial & PA Consulting win award

Rentokil Initial with PA Consulting has won the award for Best Internet of Things Project of the Year in the UK IT Industry Awards 201, run by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, and Computing. The Best IoT Award is given to a public or private sector entrant for the most outstanding project developing ‘Internet of Things’ technologies and/or usage. The annual Awards provide a platform for the entire IT profession to celebrate best practice, innovation and excellence.

Having successfully trialled an Internet of Things (IoT) product line with over 22,000 devices, the challenge for Rentokil Initial laid in how to scale this to meet global customer demand. PA Consulting, in close collaboration with Google, developed and deployed a cloud-based IoT solution using Google Cloud Platform in just twelve weeks, providing a scalable, reliable, plug-and-play infrastructure to support Rentokil’s one million customers worldwide.

Paul Fletcher, Group Chief Executive Officer of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT said: “I would like to congratulate Rentokil and PA Consulting on their outstanding achievement. Our judges were highly impressed with how Rentokil used IoT to fundamentally change their competitive position from a traditional service industry to a proactive risk management organisation. They have demonstrated connectivity across different devices using a common platform on a global scale giving a clear revenue growth.”
For more information visit

  • CH: The Zika situation report has been published

WHO and partners have issued the first quarterly update of the Zika Strategic Response Plan, July 2016 to December 2017, to guide the international response to Zika. The update provides key information on the epidemiological situation and global response by more than 60 partners

As of 26 October, WHO/PAHO has received close to US$24 million from 13 donors for their Zika response. WHO and partners have revised the joint funding requirements to US$112.5 million (October 2016 to December 2017).

Research and evidence are critical to developing sound public health policies and, thereby, driving effective and efficient preparedness and response. The research agenda for Zika identifies three critical areas of research: understanding the virus and its complications better; prevention and control; and studies into women, families, communities and health systems affected by Zika outbreaks.

The Ministry of Health of Vietnam reported a case of microcephaly for which testing is underway to determine the cause.
For more information visit

  • Australia: Weed free crops? Science may have the answer

Could canola hold the answers to weed free crops? Photo credit Nicki Harper

Could canola hold the answers to weed free crops? Photo credit Nicki Harper

Australian scientists are working on a new way to help farmers rid their crops of weeds. With billions of dollars lost by farmers every year because of weeds, scientists from Charles Sturt University are developing crops that send out a continuous pulse of naturally occurring chemicals through their roots to deter weeds from growing. The researchers have identified two varieties of canola that use natural chemicals to inhibit the growth of weeds around them. Professor Jim Pratley said “This is happening as we speak, we just don’t take advantage of it,” he told AAP. “We looked at this from the point of view ‘could we produce crop varieties that do the same thing’. Australian grain growers are estimated to lose more than $3 billion in harvest from weeds annually. Farmers are starting to run out of options, and there is a strong need to find other approaches.” Researchers have recorded consistent data from canola fields around Wagga Wagga, in NSW’s central west, for the past three years.

Finding adequate funding for the project was the next big challenge, but a canola crop could be fully developed within four to five years. Farmers in the US and China are already beginning to try certain rice varieties with self-weeding ability. Researchers will next work to identify the specific resistance markers in the canola and breed it into more commercially viable varieties of the crop that provided better yields for farmers.

  • USA: Female-lethal Gene may lead to better mosquito control

A team of researchers at Virginia Tech has found a gene on the Y chromosome of mosquitoes that is lethal to any females that inherit it. The team’s findings may help scientists develop better methods of mosquito control.

The mosquito species Anopheles stephensi is a primary vector of malaria. Research found a gene named Guy1 on the Y chromosome of A. stephensi mosquitoes. Y chromosome genes tend to be poorly studied; their small size and repeat-rich regions make it difficult to use traditional methods of genetic analysis. The newly discovered gene, codes for GUY1, a small protein of only 56 amino acids in length. The protein is involved in embryonic development but the team found that it was lethal to any females that inherited two copies of the gene. This would not happen naturally but the researchers could see the effect by adding a copy to a non-sex chromosome. Males were unaffected by having two copies. The team found that males with Guy1 were more reproductively successful than males without the gene.

The team hopes to use their findings to develop new methods of control by eliminating female A. stephensi mosquitoes. Guy1 is only passed down to half the female offspring, making it possible for 50% of females to survive. The research team believes they can get around this problem by using gene editing techniques.
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  • USA: Non-Bt protein for corn rootworm control

DuPont Pioneer researchers discovered a protein from a non-Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) bacterium source that shows insecticidal control of western corn rootworm (WCR) in North America and Europe.The researchers said that the insecticidal protein, designated IPD072Aa, was isolated from Pseudomonas chlororaphis. Transgenic corn plants expressing IPD072Aa showed protection from WCR insect injury under field conditions. The researchers said the protein could be a critical component for managing corn rootworm in future corn seed product offerings, and suggests that bacteria other than Bt are alternative sources of insecticidal proteins for insect control trait development. An extremely destructive corn pest, corn rootworm larvae and adults can cause significant economic loss for growers. The current biotech approach for insect control sources proteins from Bt soil bacteria. Field-evolved insect resistance to certain Bt proteins has been observed in some geographies.
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UK: New public health pest manual launched at PestTech

Digital and print aids were available to pest controllers who visited the Bayer stand at PestTech. The manual is positioned as an essential identification tool which includes images to aid pest identification, information on pest biology and behaviour, lifecycles and habitats for each species so that they can be targeted and controlled successfully. The manual also provides technical product information and application guidelines as part of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach, to ensure best practice and to reduce the risk of product resistance. Also on display at the event, was the PestXpert app, free to download and including a popular pest identification function.
For the app visit

  • CH: WHO says funds secured for Africa pilots of world’s first malaria vaccine

The headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland

The headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland

Funding for phase one of pilot deployments, of the world’s first malaria vaccine in sub-Saharan Africa, has been secured and immunization campaigns will begin in 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed. The vaccine, known as RTS,S or Mosquirix and developed by GlaxoSmithKline, is only partially effective and needs to be given in a four-dose schedule, but is the first approved shot against the mosquito-borne disease. The WHO said last year that while RTS,S was promising, it should be deployed only on a pilot basis before any wide-scale use, given its limited efficacy. Pedro Alonso, director of the WHO’s Global Malaria Programme, said that securing funding and being able to trial the vaccine in Africa pilots would be a milestone in the fight against malaria.

The go-ahead comes after the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria approved $15m for the malaria vaccine pilots, assuring full funding for the first phase of the programme. Earlier this year, the GAVI Vaccine Alliance and UNITAID announced commitments of up to $27.5m and $9.6m respectively for the first four years of the programme.

Malaria infects around 200 million people a year worldwide and killed an estimated 440,000 in 2015. Most malaria deaths are among babies in subSaharan Africa. RTS,S was developed by GSK in partnership with the nonprofit PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative and part-funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

  • UK: Growth of register boosts battle to beat cowboys

David Lodge, partner at nationwide firm Beaver Pest Control. Membership of Basis Prompt provides independent proof of expertise, so it’s a vital vehicle in the ongoing fight against the cowboys that can blight our industry.

David Lodge, partner at nationwide firm Beaver Pest Control. Membership of Basis Prompt provides independent proof of expertise, so it’s a vital vehicle in the ongoing fight against the cowboys that can blight our industry.

The growth of UK professional register Basis Prompt has been hailed as a positive step in the battle to beat the cowboys. Membership of the initiative has soared by around 15% in just two years with more than 3,700 technicians now signed up, illustrating an increasing appetite for legitimate companies to distance themselves from unqualified operators.

David Lodge, partner at nationwide firm Beaver Pest Control, said: “Membership of Basis Prompt provides independent proof of expertise, so it’s a vital vehicle in the ongoing fight against the cowboys that can blight our industry.” Beaver, based in South West London, was one of the first companies to embrace the Prompt initiative. He added “The fact that Prompt is growing so rapidly shows more and more reputable companies are acknowledging the need not only to increase standards but to be seen to be doing so by their customers.”

As a member of the National Pest Advisory Panel and the British Pest Control Association Servicing Committee, Mr Lodge is involved in formulating best practices and procedures within the ndustry and ensuring they are adhered to by BPCA members. He added: “Prompt s an initiative which raises the bar for pest controllers, so it’s great to see it moving in the right direction. Because t’s the vehicle for CPD, membership ensures our technicians are increasing heir knowledge all the time and that’s vitally important. The speed with which points and certificates are updated has been a problem in the past, but adminisration of the register has improved massively in recent months. With the SGAR stewardship scheme now well underway, t’s no surprise that increasing numbers of companies are keen to be formally recognised in this way.”

  • HK: Applying accurate herbicide dosage to spray tanks

A-new innovative packaging system has been developed by Rotam that ensures farmers and sprayer operators safely apply an accurate dosage of herbicide to sprayer tanks whilst reducing point source contamination. Its unique design is being well-received by farmers and independent crop consultants, for its that ensures farmers and sprayer operators safely apply an accurate dosage of herbicide to sprayer anks whilst reducing point source contamination. Its unique design is being well-received by farmers and independent crop consultants, for its safe and innovative attributes. Called Protect Dosage™, it features a button deliver system that works hand-in-hand with the company’s screw-top measuring device, allowing users to avoid direct contact with the product during measurement and application. The design of the measuring device has been developed further with a tapered end and needle, ensuring improved accuracy when measuring herbicide. “We are committed to continually improving the way farmers and sprayer operators accurately measure Rotam products, in a way that is easy to use”, said Paul Savage, Rotam’s European Marketing Manager.
For more information visit

  • USA: EPA stops cities using dry ice to kill rats

Some of America’s biggest metros have been placing dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide) into burrows to suffocate rats. As it sublimates from a solid to a gas, it proves more efficient at killing rodents and cheaper than using conventional rat poisons. But the EPA has made it clear that federal guidelines prohibit the use of dry ice for rat abatement because the deadly treatment is not registered. The revelation prompted Boston and New York to halt the use of dry ice in their rat abatement programs, while Chicago is investigating the issue. All three cities launched tests this year.

Boston city recorded as much as a 95% reduction in rodent activity in areas where it deployed dry ice after it launched the pilot in April. Chicago launched its pilot in August and immediately recorded a 60% reduction in burrows in areas it tested. The city noted that at 50 cents per pound, dry ice is far cheaper than the rat poison pellets selling for $57 per 20-pound bucket. Widespread media attention about the cities’ use of dry ice prompted several municipalities and school systems to contact the EPA about the legality of the product.

The National Pest Management Association also inquired with EPA and the Illinois Department of Public Health about the use of dry ice after Chicago launched its pilot and was told it could not be legally used as rodenticide. The group published a message to members in its October newsletter that any use of CO2/dry ice to control rodents would be a violation of federal law.
Source: USA Today

  • UK: ICUP early bird registration now open

The ICUP 2017 organising committee have announced the opening of conference registration.
Delegates have a variety of great value rates, all of which include three night’s accommodation on campus at Aston University, Birmingham, UK. There is a choice between a business class hotel or modern student accommodation. Also included are breakfast and lunch throughout the conference, the proceedings (in print and USB format), conference bag and peripherals such as a pen, notebook and our conference gift mug, plus the great-looking conference t-shirt as well as Wi-Fi access.

The committee have decided to include accommodation within the delegate registration package, so that attendees can enjoy campus together, which will stimulate further discussion and interaction as well as a feeling of togetherness during the conference. Whichever accommodation type is chosen, everyone will enjoy breakfast together in the conference hotel. During the booking process, delegates will also have the option to add an extra night of accommodation before and/or after the conference and to reserve car parking space.
For more information on registration visit

  • And Finally…Urban pests get the Christmas treatment

JL partnership

Christmas isn’t Christmas in the UK until the large retailers start their television campaigns.

One of the most awaited is that of the John Lewis Partnership who this year feature foxes, badgers and squirrels (and a boxer) in their tale of a young girls dream to have a trampoline. And so, it was interesting to see how the company portrayed these urban creatures for once.

However, if you wish to see what may have been the outcome, I recommend the parody. Enjoy the holidays – ED.


Published in International Pest Control – November/December 2016 issue

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Category: International Pest News, news in brief

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