Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Dropping Fees!

In case you missed it, the ESA Certification Board has voted unanimously to drop fees on submitting the re-certification report (the tri-annual Professional Maintenance and Certification Report).

Yes, you read that right. Dropping the fee. Like in getting rid of it altogether.

From here on, you'll pay no fee for submitting your CEU report to renew your BCE IF ....
  • The report is submitted on time, and
  • The report is submitted electronically.
Otherwise the fees are actually increasing, albeit slightly. Here is what's going on ...

The CEU report fee has been $25 for ESA members and $50 for non-members for pretty much forever (certainly it has not changed in the past 12 years at least). The original reason for the fee was due to processing of paper. But then somebody went and invented the internet and increasingly we're finding that more and more of the reports are being submitted electronically and the ESA workload for each report is pretty negligible. So we are encouraging all BCEs to submit their report electronically to (a) smooth out the workload, and (b) save the BCE some cash.

What does "on time" mean?
For those who don't know, the Professional Maintenance and Certification Report (PM&C) is a tri-annual report that documents CEUs earned during the prior three years. It is due on December 31st of the year and must be submitted by March 15th of the following year. For example, if your report is to cover the years 2012-2014, it is technically due on Dec. 31, 2014, but it will be considered "on time" up until March 15th, 2015.

What does "submitted electronically" mean?
The PM&C report is available in three formats (click on the link below and choose "save as" to see a sample):
If the report is submitted to ESA in such a fashion as to allow us to store it electronically without intervention, then that is considered electronic. Examples include PDF, Excel file, MS Word file, and jpegs. Our faxes come to us as PDFs, so even a fax is acceptable (faxed to 301-731-4538).

What if I cannot submit electronically and/or on time?
The fees are going up slightly for those reports that are not submitted this way. The PM&C fee for ESA members will be $30 as of Jan 1, 2014 and it will be $60 for non-ESA members as of the same date. However, we feel that virtually every BCE can avoid paying the fee by submitting on time and electronically.

Be warned, however, BCEs who cannot submit their report on time MUST contact ESA and request an extension. If your report is not received in a timely fashion, it can result in the revocation of your certification.

When Can I Submit my report?
Now. As soon as you earn enough CEUs to cover the period in question you can submit your report.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

So what do I do now?

A primer for those currently studying for the ACE exam:

ESA is changing the ACE exam. A new content outline for the ACE has been announced and a new exam will debut on January 1, 2014.  If you are one of the several hundred people who either have recently applied or are thinking about applying to become an ACE, you may be wondering how you'll be impacted.  This blog post is designed to help you figure that out.

If you have already applied:
All current applicants are either awaiting their first test attempt or have already tested at least once and are awaiting a 2nd (or 3rd+ attempt at the ACE exam). Regardless, the following holds true and creates a "must test by" date for each applicant:
  • All applicants must test within one year of their application's acceptance, and 
  • Those who did not pass their ACE exam must wait at least 3 months but not more than 12 months to retake the ACE exam.
If your "must test by" date is December 31st or sooner, then you will test on the existing exam. If your "must test by" date is on or after January 1, 2014, you will test on the new exam. There is a retesting form to be filled out.

If you have not applied but are going to this year:
The new applications are going to be for a three-year period. As soon as an applicant passes their exam they will be ACE-certified for the balance of those three years.  So the sooner that you take and pass the exam, the longer you get to rest on your well-earned laurels.

The new application rates are simply the same fees that exist today broken out over three years.  Those who apply between now and the end of 2013 will have two options for application.
  • A single-year application is how the program exists today and is still a valid option for the remainder of 2013. If the applicant passes their exam in the first three quarters of the year, their ACE certification remains in force for the duration of that calendar year. If they pass in the 4th quarter of the year, their application fee also covers the ACE certification for the coming year. This application is via PDF and is online here.
  • New applicants will also (very soon) have the option to complete a three-year application. Upon acceptance of the application, a "clock" will start ticking off the three years. An applicant can take the exam as many times as they are able/need to within the three year window (following the guidelines above). In theory, a person can take the ACE exam up to twelve times this way (if they wait exactly the required three months minimum between exams). However, if the full three years elapse and the applicant has not passed the exam, the application automatically expires and a new application would be required to pursue ACE certification.

If you have not applied yet and are going to wait until next year:
Starting on January 1st the only option for applying to become ACE certified will be the three-year application described above in the 2nd bullet point.

If you are already an ACE:
The only ACEs that this won't apply to are those that take and pass the ACE exam from October 1, 2013 through December 31, 2013 (4th quarter). Those folks will be current for the remainder of 2013 and all of 2014.

For everyone else, there are two options. Both use the same renewal form (found here).

  • Renew for one year (2014).  If you choose this option you are paying for just 2014 and do not yet need to file CEUs.
  • Renew for 2014-2016. If you choose this option you are paying for three years and you will need to file CEUs.
Starting in 2015 the single-year option will go away and all ACE renewals will be for a three-year period.

If you are a former ACE or former ACE applicant:
You can reapply for ACE at any point. Your prior ACE-applicant or ACE status would neither help nor hinder your application. All applications will always be reviewed on their own merit.

If you have questions about the ACE process, contact me (Chris Stelzig) the Director of Certification for ESA.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Big Improvements coming to ACE

There are several important improvements coming soon to the Associate Certified Entomologist (ACE) program. They include
•    Requiring Continuing Education Units (CEU) for ACE renewal
•    ACE applications and renewals moving to a three-year renewal cycle
•    A new ACE exam to debut in January 2014
•    The debut of a new ACE Award

Requiring CEUs for renewal:
Starting in January 2014, a new requirement for renewing ACE certification will be launched. To maintain certification, ACEs will need to document a minimum of 18 hours of continuing education units earned during the prior three years.  CEUs can be earned for common activities such as attending conferences, training, etc. A full list of eligible CEUs can be found at

ACE applications and renewals moving to a three-year renewal cycle:
Effective January 1, 2014, an application for ACE will be effective for three years. Those applying for ACE certification will have to pass their exam and become ACE certified within three years of the application’s acceptance, with the first attempt occurring within the first year. During the three- year period, as soon as the applicant passes the exam, they will be ACE certified for the balance of the three years. They can take the exam as many times as needed during the three-year period, but failure to pass the exam within three years’ time will nullify the application. Applicants must wait at least three months between exam attempts, but not more than a year.

Also effective in 2014 is a move to a three-year renewal cycle. ACEs will no longer have to renew annually, but will still be required to maintain state pesticide applicators’ licensure continually. A random audit of current ACEs will ensure compliance. The annual fees for ACE renewal have not changed.

This aspect of the ACE process will be phased in to allow time for ACEs to accommodate the larger one-time fee in their budgeting process. For the calendar year 2014, ACEs can renew for just 2014 or they can renew for 2014-2016. ACEs who choose a single-year renewal must submit a photocopy of their pesticide applicator’s license, reaffirm personal compliance with the ACE Code of Ethics (, and pay the requisite fees of $100 (ESA members) or $125 (non-ESA members).  ACEs who choose the three-year renewal option will also submit their CEU reports identifying 18 CEUs earned during the prior three-year period. The renewal fee is the annual rate for three years: $300 for ESA members or $375 for non-ESA members.

New exam to debut in January 2014:
Completing a process that started in April, 2012, the content for the ACE exam has been reviewed and revised to better match the daily work of pest management professionals. A panel of experts developed a new content outline which was validated via a survey to hundreds of PMPs. In August, 2013, the ESA convened an ACE Exam Writing Summit at their new headquarters in Annapolis, MD. During the next few months those questions will be reviewed, revised, and validated, with the new exam set to debut in January, 2014.  The ESA is developing a new ACE Study Guide, which should be available for sale in November, 2013. The new exam will based on the ACE Content Outline available here.

The current ACE Exam (based on the prior content found online at will be in force until December 31, 2013, at which point it will be retired.

Debut of a new ACE Award:
The ESA Certification Board, which leads the development and implementation of ACE initiatives, has approved the development of a new ACE Award to recognize those ACEs who exemplify superior performance. PMPs who have been certified as ACEs for at least three years, can document extraordinary service to the pest management industry, and can document in an essay how they have increased professionalism in the industry will be eligible for this award. Judging criteria are being developed now and the award will launch in 2014.

The changes in the program are designed to strengthen the credentials of the ACE certification by adding additional rigor, accountability, and recognition. While ACE has been recognized as a pillar achievement in the careers of PMPs since its introduction in 2004, these changes will strengthen the program further and allow for continued expansion.

Everyone involved with ACE certification has the same goal in mind – the enrichment and development of the structural pest management industry. Adding the CEU requirement to the three-year renewal will ensure that the ACE logo on a PMP’s sleeve something: it means that the individual has proven themselves as among the most capable professionals in the business.

The new ACE Award is going to be a great way to recognize that achievement. Watch for future posts about that program!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Becoming An ACE: Acquiring Excellence! (guest article)

Dr. Stuart Mitchell, BCE

On one the hottest days of the summer; at one of the top training facilities in the northeastern U.S., thirty seasoned and “combat-hardened” pest management professionals ((PMPs) assembled for a challenging, yet fulfilling, day of intense review training.

The Associate Certified Entomologist (ACE) 8 Hour Review Course 2.0 was held at Andy Linares’ renowned Bug Off Training Center in New York City on July 18, 2013. Sponsored by the Entomological Society of America’s ACE Program, Bug Off Pest Control Center, Pest Management Professional Magazine, and PestWest Flying Insect Science, the course covered the major categories of pest management science competencies.

The ACE examination is designed to recognize practicing PMPs whom have a solid comprehension of the practical aspects of applied entomology.

  • The content of the ACE review course covers basic entomology, biology, life cycles, identification, and practical management for important structural pests.
  • Ecological principles and environmental impacts pertaining to pest management.
  • Integrated pest management (IPM) principles and pesticide technology.

As much as ACE demonstrates a higher reasoning and competency, possessing the certification also enhances our “power posing.”

  • Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves.
  • Research on body language reveals that we can change other people’s perceptions, and even our own body chemistry, simply by changing body positions.
  • Social psychologists show that standing in a posture of confidence, even when we do not feel confident, can affect testosterone (confidence hormone) and cortisol (stress hormone) levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.
  • Power posing is the exploded pose vs. the imploded pose.

The confidence that arises from competence allows our bodies to change our minds. Our minds change our behavior, and our behavior changes our outcomes. Chance favors the prepared mind!

Thirty pest management professionals go forward with improved competence. The “hot” time these PMPs invested in the ACE review course will bring “cool” confidence on the day of their ACE examinations!

For more information on the ACE program, please visit today!

Friday, July 19, 2013

ACE for Turf professionals?

Here's something you maybe didn't know ... Pull your copy of the ACE Code of Ethics down from the wall (you do have it framed on your wall, don't you?!?). Did you realize that the official name of the ACE certificate that you hold is Associate Certified Entomologist-Pest Control?

From the very beginning of the program back in 2004, the intent has been to expand ACE into other areas where insects intersect with and impact the lives of others. ESA is making the first explorations into this as we begin our research on developing an ACE for Turf and Ornamental (T&O) professionals. Copied verbatim below is a letter from the Director-Elect of the Certification Board, Pat Copps.

July 16, 2013

Dear Turf and Ornamental Professional:

Many Turf and Ornamental professionals have expressed an interest in obtaining certification in applied
entomology. These professionals see certification as a way to convince customers and employers that they
are the qualified professionals for the job.

The Entomological Society of America (ESA) currently offers a certification for professionals in the structural pest control industry. This program titled Associate Certified Entomologist (ACE) is designed for the career minded structural/industrial pest management professional. The program emphasizes the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and the importance of a basic understanding of the science of entomology.
For Structural pest management professionals, the present ACE requirements include:
1. Current license or certificate that allows the holder to apply pesticides in an urban, industrial, or structural setting without supervision. This licensure must require continuing education to remain current (if the applicant's state does not require ongoing education to hold a license then the applicant is automatically exempted from this portion of the requirements).
2. A minimum of 7 years of verifiable pest management experience in the United States (if the applicant holds a minimum of a bachelor's degree in entomology the requirement is reduced to 3 years' experience),
3. The ability to take and pass an online test of your knowledge of structural pest control,
4. The application fee, which includes your first year of certification and the online examination,and
5. A willingness to adhere to the ACE Code of Ethics.
To retain their certification, ACEs must renew annually with ESA. All ACEs must submit a photocopy of their current pesticide applicator's license, reaffirm their willingness to continue to adhere to the ACE Code of Ethics, and pay the requisite fee (which is discounted for those ACEs who are also ESA members). Further, in near future, the renewal cycle will change to a tri-annual renewal rather than annual and evidence of current CEUs will be required.

ESA is in the process of gathering market information to possibly expand the ACE-Pest Control program. If there is sufficient interest, a similar certification and set of requirements would be developed for Turf and Ornamental professionals. The program would build on the foundation of the existing ACE certification and when complete would be managed by the ESA Director of Certification with the assistance of the ACE oversight committee.

The purpose of this letter is to gauge the level of interest for an ACE certification in T&O and to request assistance in developing a program if there is determined to be a solid desire to have this certification. We are requesting your feedback and willingness to become involved as a volunteer in a role as coordinator or participant on a team that could help move this project to completion.

Please contact Chris Stelzig, ESA Director of Certification, if you are interested and willing to increase professionalism within your industry through the establishment of an ACE
for Turf & Ornamental. This program can only go forward with your help!

Thank you for your time and interest.


Patrick T. Copps
Nov. 2013-Nov. 2014 Certification Board Director

Dr Mike Merchant, former Director of the Certification Board and author of the excellent blog, Insects in the City, posted about this same letter here.

At this time we're actively seeking volunteers to help fill out an exploratory committee to develop ACE T&O. Please share this post with any turf professionals you know.

Interested volunteers (or comments and questions) should be directed to me.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Certified Science - July, 2013

Certified Science

Here is a summary of some recent articles in the ESA journals that relate to structural pest management and urban arthropod pests. The abstracts are freely available online for all articles, though access to the full text will generally require member in the Entomological Society of America, in addition to your certification.

Ability of Field Populations of Coptotermes spp., Reticulitermes flavipes, and Mastotermes darwiniensis (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae; Mastotermitidae) to Damage Plastic Cable Sheathings
Abstract:A comparative field study was conducted to evaluate the ability of subterranean termites to damage a set of four different plastic materials (cable sheathings) exposed below- and above-ground. Eight pest species from six countries were included, viz.,Coptotermes formosanus (Shiraki) in China, Japan, and the United States; Coptotermes gestroi (Wasmann) in Thailand and Malaysia; Coptotermes curvignathus (Holmgren) and Coptotermes kalshoveni (Kemner) in Malaysia; Coptotermes acinaciformis (Froggatt) with two forms of the species complex … (Full abstract here)
Authors:  Lenz, Michael; Kard, Brad; Creffield, James W.; Evans, Theodore A.; Brown, Kenneth S.; Freytag, Edward D.; Zhong, Jun-Hong; Lee, Chow-Yang; Yeoh, Boon-Hoi; Yoshimura, Tsuyoshi; Tsunoda, Kunio; Vongkaluang, Charunee; Sornnuwat, Yupaporn; Roland, Ted A.; de Santi, Marie Pommier
SourceJournal of Economic Entomology, Volume 106, Number 3

Use of Black Light Traps to Monitor the Abundance, Spread, and Flight Behavior of Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae)
Abstract: Monitoring the distribution and abundance of an invasive species is challenging, especially during the initial years of spread when population densities are low and basic biology and monitoring methods are being investigated. Brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys (Stål)) is an invasive agricultural and urban pest that was first detected in the United States in the late 1990s. At the time of its detection, no method was available to effectively track H. halys populations, which are highly mobile and polyphagous. One possible solution was the utilization of black light traps, which are nonspecific traps attractive to night flying insects. (Full abstract here)
Authors: Nielsen, Anne L.; Holmstrom, Kristian; Hamilton, George C.; Cambridge, John; Ingerson-Mahar, Joseph
SourceJournal of Economic Entomology, Volume 106, Number 3

Economic Feasibility of Methoprene Applied as a Surface Treatment and as an Aerosol Alone and in Combination With Two Other Insecticides
Abstract: Economic evaluations of integrated pest management strategies are becoming increasingly important as restrictions on conventional insecticides continue to become more stringent and chemical control costs rise. Aerosol treatments with insect growth regulators alone and in combination with conventional contact insecticides may be a feasible alternative to expensive and highly toxic fumigants such as methyl bromide for control of the Indianmeal moth (Plodia interpunctella (Hübner)). Average calculated mortality of Indianmeal moth eggs exposed to surface applied methoprene, aerosol methoprene alone and in combination with esfenvalerate and synergized pyrethrins is 55.0, 69.0, and 94.6%, respectively. (Full abstract here)
Authors: Fontenot, Emily A.; Arthur, Frank H.; Nechols, James R.; Langemeier, Michael R.
SourceJournal of Economic Entomology, Volume 106, Number 3

Biology, Injury, and Management of Maple Tree Pests in Nurseries and Urban Landscapes
Abstract: Favored for their rapid growth and brilliant fall color, maple (Acer spp.) trees are among the most commonly grown deciduous shade trees in urban landscapes and commercial production nurseries. Many maple species used as ornamental plants share a suite of important arthropod pests that have the potential to reduce the trees' economic and esthetic value. We review the biology, damage, and management for the most important pests of maples with emphasis on integrated pest management (IPM) tactics available for each pest. (Full abstract here)
Authors: Frank, S. D.; Klingeman, W. E.; White, S. A.; Fulcher, A
Source Journal of Integrated Pest Management , Volume 104, Number 1

Simulating the Spread of an Invasive Termite in an Urban Environment Using a Stochastic Individual-Based Model
Abstract: Invasive termites are destructive insect pests that cause billions of dollars in property damage every year. Termite species can be transported overseas by maritime vessels. However, only if the climatic conditions are suitable will the introduced species flourish. Models predicting the areas of infestation following initial introduction of an invasive species could help regulatory agencies develop successful early detection, quarantine, or eradication efforts. At present, no model has been developed to estimate the geographic spread of a termite infestation from a set of surveyed locations. In the current study, we used actual field data as a starting point...(Full abstract here)
Authors: Tonini, Francesco; Hochmair, Hartwig H.; Scheffrahn, Rudolf H.; Deangelis, Donald L.
SourceEnvironmental Entomology, Volume 42, Number 3

Insects in the World of Fiction
AbstractJust for fun! This article, while not directly related to urban entomology, is a fun list of insect references in popular literature. Use it as a guide to plan your summer reading or as suggestions for your customers for their reading. (Link is here)
Authors: Bauer, Erin
SourceAmerican Entomologist, Volume 59, Number 2

This blog post is part of a series that will post appx. every 6 weeks and which will also be emailed directly to all current ACEs and BCEs who hold a specialty in Urban and Industrial Entomology. If there are articles that you would like to see included in future editions of Certified Science, please email

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Two new BCEs

Our congratulations to the two newest BCEs ... both of whom are female. I have seen increasing numbers of applications coming through the office for female candidates and I cannot tell you how happy that makes me. It is great to see more women rising to the top of the profession and attaining their certification. Still more than 75% of our ACEs and BCEs are male, but Amanda and Erin are doing their part to change that.  


Mrs. Amanda L. Fujikawa, BCE-Intern, (University of Nebraska - Lincoln), Lincoln, NE  USA.  Became certified on 6/3/2013. 
Mrs. Erin Michelle Mills, BCE, (Houston Museum of Natural Science), Houston, TX  USA.  Became certified on 6/25/2013. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Certification Board actions -- June 2013

The ESA certification programs are under the direction of the Entomological Society of America Certification Corporation (ESACC) (a legal entity separate from the ESA whose mission is to run these programs). The majority of the operational decisions are handled by the Certification Board (CB) and daily management is done by ESA staff.

The CB meets face to face only once per year (during the ESA Annual Meeting -- this year's meeting is in Austin, TX Nov 10-13), but holds three more meetings via conference call once a quarter.  Below are the highlights from the June meeting, some of which we'll expand upon in coming posts.

Changes for ACEs:
The ACE committee, under the CB, proposed the following changes to the ACE program. All were adopted by the CB and will be implemented in the coming months.

1) An "ACE Award" will be developed and implemented in 2014.This award will be for ACEs who have been certified as ACEs for at least three years, can document extraordinary service to the pest management industry, and can document in an essay how they have increased professionalism in the industry.

2) ACE renewals will move from an annual basis to a tri-annual basis. In other words, ACEs will not have to renew every year. They will renew every three years. During that time they will be required to maintain state licensure. Those who apply for ACE certification will --upon passing their exam -- be ACE-certified for up to three years as well.

3) Phasing in during 2014, ACEs will be required to document continued education with their application and renewal by submitting a minimum of 18 CEUs with their paperwork.

4) Starting in 2014, ESA will debut a category of ACE-Emeritus for those who have been ACEs for at least 7 years and have since retired from professional service.

5) If an ACE applicant has earned a bachelor's degree in entomology (or a related life science) they can cut the experiential requirement for ACE certification. Under current rules a person must have a minimum of seven years' experience to qualify for ACE. If they also have an entomology degree, a minimum of 3 years' experience will qualify.

Changes for BCEs:
1) Starting in 2014 ESA is going to change the procedure for BCEs renewing and documenting their CEUs earned. Current rules state that a BCE must submit a report showing CEUs earned every three years. A $25/members and $50/non-members fee accompanies the report.

  • Starting on Jan 1, 2014, the following changes are enacted:If a CEU report is filed on time (by March 15th) and in electronic format (MS Word, PDF, MS Excel) then there is to be no filing fee owed or collected.
  • If the CEU report is filed after the deadline (March 16th forward) and/or is submitted in paper format, then the fee will increase to $30/ESA members and $60/non-ESA members.
2) In 1993 the CB changed the rules so that all BCEs who retired from active service to the industry but still wanted to maintain their certification would be known as BCE-Retired. Heretofore, they were called BCE-Emeritus.  Starting immediately, ESA is going to revert to the term BCE-Emeritus to better denote the professionalism inherent in BCE certification.