Perspectives Online

New venue for pest control training

Dr. Mike Waldvogel sits at the purposefully unfinished structure that is an important part of the College's Structural Pest Control Training and Research Center.
Photo byDaniel Kim

It looks at first glance as though the construction crew just left. Wood studs form walls but stand unadorned of siding or insulation. Foundation walls are half finished. Yet the construction crew is long gone and won't be coming back.

Welcome to one of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' newest "structures," the Structural Pest Control Training and Research Center at the College's Lake Wheeler Road Field Laboratory.

Actually, the apparently half-finished house, which is protected by a sort of shed, is only part of the center. There's a more normal building nearby that houses classrooms and offices.

Dr. Mike Waldvogel, North Carolina Cooperative Extension entomology specialist, describes the apparently unfinished portion of the center as a "training pavilion." Its appearance notwithstanding, the pavilion was finished in the summer of 2006, and it's a state-of-the-art facility.

The facility will be used to train pest control technicians, and Waldvogel says it was built at the behest of the state's pest control industry. There are similar but much less complex and comprehensive facilities in South Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky and Oklahoma, and before the Lake Wheeler Road facility was built, that's where pest control technicians often went for training.

Waldvogel gave Stewart Starr, an agricultural research superintendent at Lake Wheeler Road, much of the credit for building the pavilion. Starr and other Lake Wheeler Road technicians built the facility based on plans provided by the Orkin Pest Control company.

With the pavilion, the College can provide hands-on pest control training, demonstrating what to do and perhaps just as important, what not to do when treating structures to control pests. Waldvogel said the facility will be particularly useful when it comes to instruction involving proper methods of treating for termites. It should also be useful in demonstrating how to deal with bees that nest in walls and other insect pests that occur in and around structures.

At the same time, the conventional building nearby provides another educational venue. It includes a classroom equipped with microscopes on loan from the N.C. Pest Control Association, a trade association representing the professional pest control industry in North Carolina. The Department of Entomology shares this structure with the Department of Soil Science, which operates waste management training and demonstration facilities at the site.

Between the pavilion and the classroom, Waldvogel says, "We see a lot of opportunities" for more effective education.

-Dave Caldwell