Graduate School; Public Service and Agriculture

Pest Pro Summit reaches an important professional audience


Clemson University was well represented at the 2021 South Carolina Pest Pro Summit, held May 23-25 in Columbia.

Originally planned for January, the S.C. Pest Control Association (SCPCA) event was postponed as a COVID precaution. The rescheduled summit was the association’s first face-to-face event since the COVID-19 outbreak and drew more than 300 attendees to the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.

Ryan Okey, who leads the Department of Pesticide Regulation, delivered an annual Regulatory Update, bringing the group up-to-date on regulatory changes and developments that affect SCPCA members.

Okey also spoke on the Rodenticide Panel Discussion, which included Donny Oswalt of The Bug Doctor, Ken Smith of Palmetto Exterminators, Jim Wright of SCPCA and Eric Benson, Clemson entomology professor and Extension entomologist.

The panel discussion covered the work of the South Carolina SGA Rodenticide Task Force, formed last year, which seeks to balance the scales between the tenuous hold of wildlife along South Carolina’s fast-developing coast and the human health concerns of the deadly diseases — like plague, hantavirus or rat-bite fever — that rodents spread.

Benson also led a presentation on Clemson’s new urban entomology initiative, which was launched by $2.8 million in gifts to the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences from Gregory Pest Solutions, Terminix Services Inc. and the South Carolina Urban Entomology Charitable Alliance.

“Although the pandemic forced the 2021 Pest Pro Summit to be held at a later date, it was worth the wait,” said Steve Cole, Clemson Regulatory Services director. “Having the opportunity to come together and discuss important issues in pest management and share new ways of providing scientifically proven pest control services is very beneficial to everyone in South Carolina. Clemson is a big part of these discussions and we are pleased to continue our work with this industry to provide safe and effective pest control services for all of South Carolina.”

The South Carolina Pest Control Association’s Pest Pro Summit is an annual gathering focused on continuing education, networking and official business of pest management professionals across the state.