Urban Center

Urban Entomology at Purdue

Urban entomologists work with arthropod and vertebrate pests that damage structures or landscape plants, infest food or food processing facilities, harm human health and welfare, or those pests that are simply a nuisance to homeowners. The Center for Urban and Industrial Pest Management was established in the Entomology Department at Purdue University to address the various needs of the pest control industry. As such, it provides additional training, educational resources, and research on pest biology, behavior, and management.

The Center was designed with a multi-disciplinary approach in mind, drawing on the expertise of faculty and professional staff who have research experience and extension responsibilities for the disciplines that fall under the urban and industrial pest management umbrella. Dr. Gary Bennett is the Director of the Center, and helps facilitate the work in research and extension.

There is a national need for expanded knowledge of pests and pest management in the urban and industrial environment. The Department of Entomology has long been recognized for the significant research findings and educational opportunities that have been delivered to urban and industrial clientele for the management of pests that affect human health, property and food supplies. Faculty and staff have established programs in the areas of pest management in homes and other urban structures, food processing and handling industries, landscape horticulture, public health, and turf.

In December of 1989, the Center for Urban and Industrial Pest Management was founded to further enhance our department’s ability to serve the needs of this clientele. The mission of the Center is to further the understanding of urban pest problems and to promote their solutions through research and education programs. The Center provides the foundation for expanding our knowledge of urban pests, developing environmentally sound technology for pest management, delivering technical information and training programs to urbanites and urban pest managers, and training scientists to undergird this process in the future. Thus, the Center enhances Purdue’s contribution to the urban and industrial pest management community.

Coordination of the Programs of the Center is administered by Gary Bennett. He is also the Project Leader for the Household and Structural Pest Management Program. Michael Scharf is the O. Wayne Rollins/Orkin Endowed Professor in Urban Entomology. Grzegorz Buczkowski is Director of the Industrial Affiliates Program, and Ameya Gondhalekar serves as Director of the Sponsored Research Program. Also associated with the Urban Center are Doug Richmond, Turf Pest Management; Timothy Gibb, who heads Purdue’s Insect Diagnostic Laboratory; Clifford Sadof, Landscape Horticulture Pest Management; and Linda Mason, Management of Pests of Foods.

Industrial Affiliates Program

The Industrial Affiliates Program fosters good working relationships between industry, government and university researchers by providing a forum for increased participation of industrial organizations in the Center’s research activities. In exchange for their financial support, affiliates benefit from being fully integrated into the Center’s research and educational programs.

Grzegorz Buczkowski, in his capacity as the Director of the program, administers personnel, operational, and financial aspects of the Industrial Affiliates Program’s activities. He serves as liaison with an Industrial Advisory Board – a group of scientists from affiliated organizations, with strong research backgrounds and broad experience in urban and industrial pest management. As a research council helping to guide research at the Center, the Board: identifies and prioritizes the research objectives; participates in developing joint projects and proposals; identifies industry researchers for collaborative efforts; and interacts with governmental agencies (such as EPA) to address regulatory issues of mutual interest. In this way, board members share the responsibility of shaping the philosophies underlying research undertaken through the Industrial Affiliates Program and facilitate better working relationships and issues resolutions with regulatory agencies.

Perhaps the most valuable function of the Industrial Affiliates Program is serving as a communications bridge facilitating increased interactions among industry, government and university researchers working on pest problems of common interest. The program promotes these interactions through an annual conclave and reporting, personal visitations and scientist exchanges, and special colloquia, which bring researchers together to respond to current problems and develop research, plans addressing future needs.

Sponsored Research Program

The Sponsored Research Programs in Urban and Industrial Entomology at Purdue continues to grow. Ameya Gondhalekar is director for this program evaluating new technologies. This program has concentrated mainly on German cockroach behavior, molecular biology, and management. However, to provide a broader technical base for the Center, this program is expanding into new areas focusing on termites, bed bugs, and other important urban pests as specific needs or interests arise. Additional staff are needed to facilitate these programs.

Extension Program

Urban Pest Management Extension Programs are discussed in other sections of this document. Current programs and activities can grow and develop with the Center as the base of operations. There is increasing demand for technical information in all urban and industrial sectors: the general public (property owners), the business community (affiliated industries), and the scientific community (universities, industry and government). The Center serves a coordinating role across industry, government and university boundaries, providing the forum needed for all to maximize information exchange and work together most effectively.

Purdue’s successful conferences, workshops, correspondence courses, and other educational programs for urban and industrial clientele groups continue to be expanded and built upon. The Center provides the mechanism to communicate the most up-to-date information and develop training programs that meet these needs. The international component of our Urban and Industrial Pest Management Program continues to be enhanced through exchanges of information and people.

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