Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Proctor's Role

I have received a number of questions about the role of the proctor since Pat Copps' excellent post earlier this week on proctoring exams. To further define the process, in brief, here is how you find a proctor and what you do then:

Finding a proctor can be a solo venture or a collaborative process between the applicant and ESA staff. It is incumbent on all certified individuals to help proctor exams if asked. Once you earn your credentials you may be asked to proctor for someone else. The process is this:
  1. Applicant decides that they are ready to test. Don't forget that there are rules about timing of tests. An applicant has up to a year to take their first attempt at the exam. If they don't get through on the first attempt, they must wait at least 3 months but not more than 12 to take it again. The applicant will usually receive at least one reminder of these deadlines via email before they arrive.
  2. Applicant (either on their own or with the help of ESA staff) finds a candidate nearby to proctor the exam. The rosters can be of great service in this process.
  3. Applicant and proctor coordinate on setting a date, time, and location for the exam (generally, but not always, the exams take place in the proctor’s office)
  4. That information is communicated to ESA staff (it is the applicant’s responsibility to communicate this information to staff, not the proctor’s, though sometimes that can be changed)
  5. Prior to the exam (generally on the Friday prior), ESA staff will send exam instructions to the proctor and a confirmation email to the applicant
  6. Applicant and proctor meet on the pre-arranged time and the exam(s) are taken on a computer (either brought by the applicant or supplied by the proctor)
  7. Preliminary scores are displayed on the screen upon submittal of the exam
  8. ESA staff or designee send a letter of congratulations or regrets that confirms the score
Your contact at ESA for scheduling ACE and BCE exams is Chris Stelzig, reachable via email at ace[at]entsoc.org or bce[at]entsoc.org or via phone at 301-731-4535, x3012.

Occasionally you may be able to take part in an ACE Prep Course and a proctored exam setting is often a part of that experience, though not always. Any prep courses that we know of will always be listed here on the ESA site.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Director's Report on the ESA Certification Programs

As Director of the ESA Certification Board, it is my job (and privilege) to report to you on the state of our Society's certification and credentialing programs. I'll be brief, but I wanted to let you know that we are in the middle of some exciting and productive times for ESA certification. Last year saw record growth for ACE and a return to growth for BCE. Here are some of the highlights:
  •  ACE grew at a 37% rate over 2012, closing the year with 763 ACEs. BCE grew at a more modest 1%, but that is significant after several years of flat growth and small declines. Both programs are solid.
  • We are in the process of writing new exam questions for the BCE Qualifying Exam. If you have any questions you would like to submit for this exam (or any other), please send to Chris Stelzig at cstelzig@entsoc.org and we will enter them into the review process.
  • A process that began in April 2012 to retool the ACE program came to fruition on January 1st with a new application/renewal structure and a new content outline and exam. Early indications are that the new exam questions are more clear and targeted than some of the previous questions without any sacrifice in quality or difficulty.
  • We partnered with the National Pest Management Association late last year to grow and promote the ACE-Pest Control program. This will undoubtedly lead to continued rapid growth.
  • We are working on building an ACE-International Pest Control program so that we can take this program global.
  • We are investigating other entomologically-related fields to see if we can build a credential program to serve other markets.
There is much more in process – far too much to put into a blog post. I would encourage you to review the prior minutes of the Board meetings for additional details.

Suffice it to say that your Certification Board and staff are hard at work building these programs. If you would like to contribute, please consider either serving on a committee, running for an office, encouraging your peers and colleagues to become certified, and possibly serving as a proctor. 

Recently, I wrote a guest post for the ESA Certification blog on this topic that discusses the important role of being an honest proctor. Please read it and let me know how else I can serve you.

Pat Copps
2014 Director, Certification Board
ESA Certification Corporation 

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Role of the ACE and BCE Proctor: Guest post by Pat Copps, BCE

What a great time to be certified! There is so much going on in our industry that it is enough to make your head swim. The ACE program is growing like never before and the BCE program, after years of stagnant growth, is starting to grow in number again.

I’ve been a BCE since October of 1994 (20 years!) and it is one of the best decisions I ever made of my professional life.

On a personal note, I became certified as part of a self-driven process to increase my own professionalism and ability to “communicate with credibility” when visiting with customers. The BCE certification has served me well when responding to requests for information, working in the field in the urban pest management industry  and dealing with media inquiries or legal situations. In fact, being certified has truly had a positive impact on my career and in my opinion has become essential to my work as a professional entomologist.

When I decided to run for Director of the Certification Board it was for many of those same reasons, but mainly because I was seeking ways that I could increase the overall professionalism of the pest management industry. I find it personally and professionally gratifying that so many people are moving into the ranks of Board and Associate Certified Entomologists. I congratulate you all for going above and beyond and for the leaders that you are.

One of the obligations we have as BCEs is to help mentor the next generation of professionals. Part of that task comes in the form of proctoring exams. There has been some confusion about what a proctor is and does. My hope in writing this article is to allay some of that confusion.

Who Can Be A Proctor:
A proctor is generally going to be a BCE. If one is not easily accessible in the applicant’s geographic region then an ESA member or a person of high community standing (usually a military officer, government official, or college professor) can serve as a proctor. [Editorial comment from ESA staff -- an ACE can also proctor an exam, as long as no conflict of interest exists]  At some point ESA may move to testing centers, but this system has worked well for many years. A proctor cannot have a direct and close relationship with the applicant or a direct conflict of interest. Examples include employer-employee relationships or direct family members.

What Does a Proctor Do:
A proctor’s job is simple but essential. Every week (usually on a Friday) ESA staff will email the instructions to the next week’s proctors in anticipation of the exams. The proctor holds those until the test date and then he or she simply assists the applicant as they log on to the computer to take their exam(s) and then stays in the room while they do so. When they are done and press submit, the preliminary score will flash up on the computer and you are done.

That’s it.

Of course, some proctors also serve as instructors, either by leading a prep course before the exam, or serving as in-house trainers for employees, but that is not required of a proctor.

Prep Course Proctors:
If a proctor chooses to hold a prep course prior to an exam, there are tools to assist. By this time everyone knows that the exam content has changed and a new set of questions is now on the tests (some are the same as before, but many old questions were deleted and even more new questions were added). Drs. Mike Merchant and Bob Davis (both BCE) long ago developed a slide set that can assist in the development of a prep course.

Prep course proctors must walk a fine line between helping the applicants prepare for their exams but not “teaching to the test”. Only a handful of people know the questions on the new exam and they have all signed a pledge of confidentiality. Over time, however, regular proctors will begin to know some of the questions through exposure to the process. It is a violation of the ACE Code of Ethics and BCE Code of Ethics (the honor system by which all ACEs and BCEs are bound) to help a person pass an exam or to receive help in passing an exam. As Director of the Certification Board and a 20-year BCE I take this pledge very seriously and would seek to immediately revoke the certification of anyone who engages in such unscrupulous actions.

In-House Proctors:
In-house proctors are those who work for the same firm as the applicant. Again, there can be no direct employer-employee relationship between the applicant and the proctor. As the ACE program has grown there is some friendly competition among many firms to get more certified professionals on staff. This can invariably lead to some pressure to “help” ACEs pass their exam. Again, I want to stress that any overt assistance to help an applicant pass an exam is a violation of the Code of Ethics and is grounds for revocation.

One-at-a-time Proctors:
Many times an applicant simply meets with a proctor one-on-one. There is a link on the ESA site that talks about “how to find a proctor,” so you should not be surprised if someday you get a call from an applicant who has found you through the rosters and asks you to proctor their exam. I can tell you from experience that it is a simple and rewarding task – either by being the first person to congratulate them on their accomplishment or by being a supportive peer and encouraging them to try again if they don’t pass. 

Proctoring is a way to give back to your professional community. With the new partnership between ESA and NPMA the ACE program is going to continue the incredible growth as we move forward. In fact we are in the early stages of developing ACE certifications in fields other than structural pest management and see a bright future for the certification and credentialing process.

Please do your part by serving as an honest proctor when asked.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

2013 growth

ESA's certification programs continued to post strong growth in 2013. The ACE program continued yet another year of over 35% growth (2012 closed with 556 ACEs and 2013 showed 763 ACEs as of December 31st - a 37% growth). BCE, after nearly a decade of flat growth began to show a modest increase of 1% (from 429 2012 BCEs to 434 2013 BCEs).

Most recently (through early January) the following individuals earned their certification. Please join us in celebrating their accomplishments.

New BCEs:
Ms. Emily Bick, BCE-Intern, (Rainbow Treecare Scientific Advancements), Minnetonka, MN  USA.  Certified on 1/7/2014.
Mr. Bernard Kilian Black, BCE, (Black's Pest Services, LLC), Harper, OR  USA.  Certified on 12/18/2013.
Dr. Rebecca W. Baldwin, BCE, (University of Florida), Gainesville, FL  USA.  Certified on 12/16/2013.
Dr. Hyon Chong Choe, BCE, (United States Forces Korea), Seoul,   Republic of Korea.  Certified on 12/18/2013.

New ACEs:
Mrs. Tami Stuparich, ACE, (California American Exterminator), Boulder Creek, CA  USA.  Certified on 12/19/2013.
Mr. Thomas B Moran, ACE, (Dodson Brothers Exterminating Co. Inc.), Lynchburg, VA  USA.  Certified on 12/13/2013.
Mr. Shawn Turner, ACE, (Home Front Pest Control), Corona, CA  USA.  Certified on 12/23/2013.
Mr. Peter J. Stieglmayr, ACE, (RK Environmental Services), Bayonne, NJ  USA.  Certified on 12/16/2013.
Mr. Nathan John Tamialis, ACE, (Univar), Aliso Viejo, CA  USA.  Certified on 12/21/2013.
Mr. Michael J Botha, ACE, (Sandwich Isle Pest Solutions), Pearl City, HI  USA.  Certified on 12/12/2013.
Mr. Kirk Stuparich, ACE, (California American Exterminator), Boulder Creek, CA  USA.  Certified on 12/19/2013.
Mr. Julius Vaunado III, ACE, (American Pest Management), Fulton, MD  USA.  Certified on 12/17/2013.
Mr. Joseph Romito, ACE, (RK Environmental Services), Westwood, NJ  USA.  Certified on 12/22/2013.
Mr. James Ellis Brockman, ACE, (HonorGuard Pest Management), Nashville, TN  USA.  Certified on 12/13/2013.
Mr. Ian Alexander Mateo, ACE, (Sandwich Isle Pest Solutions), Pearl City, HI  USA.  Certified on 12/12/2013.
Mr. Dominic Dorian Foster, ACE, (Crane Pest Control), San Pablo, CA  USA.  Certified on 12/19/2013.
Mr. DeVonn Shuford, ACE, (American Pest Management), Fulton, MD  USA.  Certified on 12/16/2013.
Mr. Andrew Michael Dzieman, ACE, (Borite Termite & Pest Treatments Corp.), Sherman Oaks, CA  USA.  Certified on 12/21/2013.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Guest Post - Mark Puglisi (ACE) - ESA's first ACE

10 years ago we started the ACE program and on a hot day in June of 2004, Mark Puglisi (General Manager of Greenleaf Pest Control) walked out of the room as the first person on the planet who could honestly proclaim himself to be an Associate Certified Entomologist, as administered by the ESA.  In honor of our 10th anniversary, I asked Mark to write a few words about the program.

Why did I become an ACE?
Clearly I have developed a passion for my profession and the industry. As General Manager for Greenleaf Organic Pest Management it reflects my dedication and loyalty to the business.  We all have instances in our life that stay with us, mine came from my Dad when I was growing up.  He always worked hard at everything he did and told me early own in lifeno matter what you decide to do when you grow up, be the best at it as you can, even if it’s just pushing a broom”. 

I was with one of the largest pest control companies when I first heard about the Associate Certified Entomologist (ACE) and knew that I not only wanted to be a part of it, but wanted to be the first to acquire it.  10 years later, holding the first ACE certification, still is one of my proudest accomplishments in the pest control industry. 

How have I worked it into my business mix?
Let’s face it; pest control hasn’t always been a popular service among families, their children and pets because of the fear of the perceived danger of pesticides in general.  The Internet is a great resource for many things, including researching pesticides, insects and health concerns.  It also is filled with a lot of bad information.  35 years' experience brings a lot to the table when it comes to client’s questions, but the past 10 years have been the most rewarding to me because I have the ACE certification and as an Associate Certified Entomologist under the ESA program which brings credibility and trust.  I have incorporated portals in our webpage so potential clients have a free resource to “Ask the Pro” link and my blogs.  I truly believe that clients feel a great deal of trust and loyalty when their concerns and questions can be answered with their interest in mind.  

Why have I remained an ACE for the past 10 years?

Again, as the very first ACE I will always do whatever is required to meet the standards of the current requirements to renew my certification, it’s my personal validation.  It reminds me my love for what I do.  I literally wear this love of “bugs” on my sleeve.  Both of my arms are a visual passion of what I do in the form of tattoos.  Every day I learn something new and share my knowledge and experience with my employees so they can be the best they can while serving our community. 

Mark Puglisi, ACE (#A0001)
Greenleaf Organic Pest Management, Inc.
10940 Vanowen St.
North Hollywood, CA, 91605

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Certified Science-January 2014


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 ESA, in addition to your certification.

EDUCATION CONNECTION: Optimizing Pest Management Curricula for Adoption in K-12 Classrooms
Authors: Mason, Makena; Aihara-Sasaki, Maria; Grace, J. Kenneth
SourceAmerican Entomologist, Volume 59, #4 (AE is free online to all ACEs)

Using DNA Barcodes to Confirm the Presence of a New Invasive Cockroach Pest in New York City
Abstract: Recently, specimens of a Periplaneta sp. were discovered in New York, NY, that did not match the typical morphology of Periplaneta americana L., the ubiquitous American cockroach. Here, we used DNA barcoding and morphological identification to confirm that this newly invasive pest species was indeed Periplaneta japonica Karny, 1908. We discuss this recent invasion… (Full abstract here)
Authors: Evangelista, Dominic; Buss, Lyle; Ware, Jessica L.
SourceJournal of Economic Entomology, Volume 106, #6

Hygienic Behavior in Honey Bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae): Effects of Brood, Food, and Time of the Year
Abstract: Hygienic behavior in honey bees is a heritable trait of individual workers that confers colony-level resistance against various brood diseases. Hygienic workers detect and remove dead or diseased brood from sealed cells. However, this behavior is quite rare, with only c.10% of unselected colonies showing high levels of hygiene. Beekeepers can potentially increase this by screening colonies for … (Full abstract here)
Authors: Bigio, Gianluigi; Schürch, Roger; Ratnieks, Francis L. W.
SourceJournal of Economic Entomology, Volume 106, #6

Life History and Biology of the Invasive Turkestan Cockroach (Dictyoptera: Blattidae)
Abstract: The Turkestan cockroach, Blatta lateralis (Walker), has become an important invasive species throughout the southwestern United States and has been reported in the southern United States. It is rapidly replacing the oriental cockroach, Blatta orientalis (L.), in urban areas of the southwestern United States as the most important peri-domestic species. They typically inhabit in-ground containers such as water meter, irrigation, … (Full abstract here)
Authors: Kim, Tina; Rust, Michael K.
SourceJournal of Economic Entomology, Volume 106, #6

Cold Tolerance of Bed Bugs and Practical Recommendations for Control
Abstract: Bed bugs were exposed to freezing temperatures for various exposure times to determine cold tolerance and mortality estimates for multiple life stages. The mean supercooling point for all bed bug life stages ranged from −21.3°C to −30.3°C, with the egg stage reporting the lowest value. A probit analysis provided a lower lethal temperature (LLT99) of −31.2°C when estimates from all life stages were combined, demonstrating that … (Full abstract here)
Authors: Olson, Joelle F.; Eaton, Marc; Kells, Stephen A.; Morin, Victor; Wang, Changlu
SourceJournal of Economic Entomology, Volume 106, #6

Estimating Population Size of Large Laboratory Colonies of the Formosan Subterranean Termite Using the Capture Probability Equilibrium
Abstract: The reliability of the capture probability equilibrium model developed by Su and Lee (2008) for population estimate was tested in three-directional extended foraging arenas connecting to large Plexiglas cubes (96 by 96 by 96 cm) containing ≈100,000-400,000 workers of the Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki… (Full abstract here)
Authors: Su, Nan-Yao
Source: Journal of Economic Entomology, Volume 106, #6

Residual Efficacy of Insecticides Applied to Exterior Building Material Surfaces for Control of Nuisance Infestations of Megacopta cribraria (Hemiptera: Plataspidae)
Abstract: The plataspid Megacopta cribraria (F.), which was recently introduced to the United States, forms nuisance aggregations on the exteriors of homes when it seeks overwintering sites in the fall. Little to no published information is available on the efficacy of insecticides labeled for professional use and exterior applications on homes and other structures against this insect. In a series of three experiments, we evaluated the … (Full abstract here)
Authors: Seiter, Nicholas J.; Benson, Eric P.; Reay-Jones, Francis P. F.; Greene, Jeremy K.; Zungoli, Patricia A.
SourceJournal of Economic Entomology, Volume 106, #6

The Value of Urban Vacant Land to Support Arthropod Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
Abstract: The expansion of urban areas is occurring globally, but not all city neighborhoods are gaining population. Because of economic decline and the recent foreclosure crisis, many U.S. cities are demolishing abandoned residential structures to create parcels of vacant land. In some cities, weak housing markets have, or will likely, recover in the near term, and these parcels will be redeveloped. However, in other cities ... (Full abstract here)
Authors: Gardiner, Mary M.; Burkman, Caitlin E.; Prajzner, Scott P.
SourceEnvironmental Entomology, Volume 42, #6

Temperature and Population Density Effects on Locomotor Activity of Musca domestica (Diptera: Muscidae)
Abstract: The behavior of ectotherm organisms is affected by both abiotic and biotic factors. However, a limited number of studies have investigated the synergistic effects on behavioral traits. This study examined the effect of temperature and density on locomotor activity of Musca domestica (L.). Locomotor activity was measured for both sexes and at four densities (with mixed sexes) during a full light and dark (L:D) cycle at temperatures … (Full abstract here)
Authors: Schou, T. M.; Faurby, S.; Kjærsgaard, A.; Pertoldi, C.; Loeschcke, V.; Hald, B.; Bahrndorff, S.
SourceEnvironmental Entomology, Volume 42, #6

Distribution of the Brown Recluse Spider (Araneae: Sicariidae) in Illinois and Iowa
Abstract: The medical importance of the brown recluse spider, Loxosceles reclusa Gertsch and Mulaik, is well known, but there is a need for more accurate information about the distribution of the spider in North America. We gathered information via an Internet offer to identify spiders in Illinois and Iowa that were thought to be brown recluses. We also mined brown recluse locality information from other agencies that kept such …(Full abstract here)
Authors: Cramer, Kenneth L.; Vetter, Richard S.
SourceJournal of Medical Entomology, Volume 51, #1

The Effect of Temperature on Life History Traits of Culex Mosquitoes
Abstract: Climatic changes forecasted in the coming years are likely to result in substantial alterations to the distributions and populations of vectors of arthropod-borne pathogens. Characterization of the effect of temperature shifts on the life history traits of specific vectors is needed to more accurately define how such changes could impact the epidemiological patterns of vector-borne disease. Here, we determined the effect of temperatures …(Full abstract here)
Authors: Ciota, Alexander T.; Matacchiero, Amy C.; Kilpatrick, A. Marm; Kramer, Laura D.
SourceJournal of Medical Entomology, Volume 51, #1

Significance and Survival of Enterococci During the House Fly Development
Abstract: House flies are among the most important nonbiting insect pests of medical and veterinary importance. Larvae develop in decaying organic substrates and their survival strictly depends on an active microbial community. House flies have been implicated in the ecology and transmission of enterococci, including multi-antibiotic-resistant and virulent strains of Enterococcus faecalis. In this study …(Full abstract here)
Authors: Ghosh, Anuradha; Akhtar, Mastura; Holderman, Chris; Zurek, Ludek
SourceJournal of Medical Entomology, Volume 51, #1

 Group Living Accelerates Bed Bug (Hemiptera: Cimicidae) Development
Abstract: For many insect species, group living provides physiological and behavioral benefits, including faster development. Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius L.) live in aggregations composed of eggs, nymphs, and adults of various ages. Our aim was to determine whether bed bug nymphs reared in groups develop faster than solitary nymphs. We reared first instars either in isolation or in groups from hatching to adult emergence and recorded their … (Full abstract here)
Authors: Saenz, Virna L.; Santangelo, Richard G.; Vargo, Edward L.; Schal, Coby
SourceJournal of Medical Entomology, Volume 51, #1

In addition to the scientific research, ESA also hosts the Entomology Today blog. Some recent posts of interest include:

If there are articles that you would like to see included in future editions of Certified Science, please email admin@entocert.org. Thank you for keeping your certification current.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Guest Post: Forrest St. Aubin, BCE (Emeritus) -- Recent Change to the ACE Code of Ethics

The ACE Code of Ethics is the guiding document for all who attain the ACE certification. As such, it is important that all ACEs are aware of a new change that was approved by the ESA Certification Board during the November 2013 board meeting.

The board has discussed the term "Entomologist" in the past. Indeed, it has been a topic on this blog. The ACE was never intended as a way to make a person an entomologist.

To reiterate, passing the Associated Certified Entomologist test and then maintaining the certification does not constitute the creation of an entomologist. Rather, what it does is announces to the world that one has gained advanced entomological knowledge critical to the pest management industry. No inference should be made toward the achievement of college-ordained degree/s.

Taken directly from my notes during the second certification board meeting on November 10, 2013 is the following:

“An Associate Certified Entomologist is not a degreed entomologist.  He/she is not to declare themselves as such.  They are pest management professionals with advanced entomological experience gained through their work.  That experience is thus recognized” through the ACE accreditation but is not to be construed as college-gained training.

Section 3.4 was added to the ACE Code of Ethics as a result of this board discussion and is now binding on all ACEs. A snip of the Code is below and the full document can be found here.

The Certification Board Director, Pat Copps (Orkin) articulated this change most eloquently. “To me the new code merely codifies what was always the intent of the ACE program; that it is a certification for the pest control industry and not a degree.”

If anyone has any comments on this, please feel free to reach out to me. I am heartened to see so many of my fellow professionals attaining this certification. It is very good for the industry.

Forrest St. Aubin, BCE-Emeritus
Chair, ACE Support Committee (Entomological Society of America)