Latest News from BPCA

11 May 2018

The big pest control get together: a look back at PPC Live 2018

Events | PPC91 May 2018

Third time’s the charm for BPCA’s roaming trade show, PPC Live. With more visitors, exhibitors, and positive feedback than ever before – we’re calling it a win for everyone involved. 

The big pest control get together

Although 14 March might feel like a long time ago now, we’ve now had time to look through all your feedback and review how PPC Live 2018 went. The public health pest management community took over the Three Counties Showground in Worcestershire, and the sector looked very much at home below the beautiful Malvern hills.

We’ve put the facts and figures from our visitor and exhibitor feedback over the next page, however the headline is that the show was rated 8.5 out of 10 by attendees (up from previous shows). Plus we had 99% good feedback for our seminar schedule, and an incredible 100% of our exhibitors saying they’d recommend PPC Live to their clients – and yes, we checked the results twice!

The show had a modest amount of growth compared to previous ones. With 380 visitors (not including staff or exhibitors), compared to 2016 where we had 356 visitors – the team was a little disappointed that more of the 600+ pre-registered guests didn’t make it on the day. We contacted everyone who pre-registered but didn’t attend, and over 50% of respondents said they were too busy with their day jobs. Potentially this was because of the poor weather the week before the event. One company stated, “We lost about four days to the bad weather so, unfortunately, the week of PPC Live we had to play catch-up.” In part at least, we’ll blame it on the weatherman.

What was new

One thing that’s always new at PPC Live is the venue. The point of PPC Live is that it moves around the UK so different people can attend the show. This time we made ourselves at home in the South West of England, following the previous stops in the East of England (2016) and the North West of England (2014).

This does beg the question: where do you want us next? We usually announce PPC Live’s next location at PestEx – so now’s the chance to make your voice heard. Would you like the biggest gathering of professional pest controllers on your doorstep in 2020? Message us on events@bpca.org.uk with your suggestion.

We also changed up the layout of the show, purely because our hall of exhibitors grew again. For the first time we decided to bring our seminars into the hall with silent headsets. These headsets have always been popular at PestEx, and the feedback has been great about having them at PPC Live. They help you focus on a seminar without feeling banished to a dingy room in the back. It also seemed to encourage visitors to spend more time in the exhibitor hall. Exhibitors’ feedback stated that they averaged around 128 people per stand – which is up considerably compared to 2016 when each stand managed 97.5 visitors on average.

Welcome to PPC Live 2018

Another thing we borrowed straight from the PestEx playbook was the registration system. Most pre-registered visitors managed to fly through the doors and straight into the exhibition hall. We had a few questions about the confirmation of bookings but they’re lessons we can put into action for PPC Live 2020.

Our lovely sponsors meant that we could offer all pre-registered guests bacon rolls and a hot drink when they arrived in the morning. When we met the caterer the day before PPC Live, he confided in us that he’d rented an extra industrial-sized bacon grill to make sure he could keep up with the demand. They certainly did seem to go down a treat! Don’t expect free bacon at PestEx though – not at those London prices! If you have other ideas about visitor incentives let us know. Again, a special thank you to 1env, Bayer, Bower, Pelsis, RatPak, ServiceTracker and Woodstream for sponsoring the breakfasts.

Van of the Year 2018

Van of the year shortlist

Another new thing we tried at PPC Live was the Van of the Year competition. Our panel of experts scoured the car park for a shortlist of five vans for judging in the afternoon. After a frantic half hour tracking the shortlisted people down, we managed to get four out of the five vans in the same place for judging the inside.

Chair of the judging panel and BPCA Vice-Chair, Phil Halpin said to us that all the vans had their merits and were impressive in their own right. However, it was Gary Leek from PestForce East Yorkshire that walked away with the Xbox One and driving game. Gary was incredibly meticulous about his van, and his wife confided that when he was shortlisted he wasn’t happy about having their overnight bags “cluttering up” the van for his judging. The judging team was impressed with everything from the clear external branding, the internal racking, pesticide storage, general maintenance, and health and safety.

A special thank you to our panel of judges: Phil Halpin (Countrywide Environmental Services), Ben Massey (BPCA), Barry Nicol (Stallard Kane), Andrew Bradshaw (Bradshaw Bennett) and Jeff Warren (TAS).

Pest control van of the year 2018

Highlights from PPC Live

Highlights from the day included Rentokil’s Savvas Othon talking about the future of pest control in light of new technological advancements in smart devices and ‘the internet of things’. The talk was both geeky and accessible, championing the role pest control technicians have in protecting public health, rather than seeing us all replaced by droids and wireless bait boxes.

Ultimately, the lessons to take away were that a technician needs to remain an expert over the species we manage and be able to justify our professionalism to clients that may want to see technological rather than human pest solutions. In fact, Savvas was optimistic that technology could be a massive win for the industry, particularly through removing low-value activities, like checking bait boxes, report writing and site mapping, leaving more time to reinvest back into the site visit.

Killgerm’s Dr Matthew Davies tackled the subject you asked us to cover in the feedback forms from PestEx: mosquito management in the UK. The talk looked at the Mosquito Watch project, invasive Asian tiger mosquitoes, and generally raised awareness about the significance of mosquitoes on clients’ sites. 

PPC Live get together

BPCA’s own Ben Massey and Consultant member Urban Wildlife gave two very well-attended seminars, with a shared theme of empowering every pest controller to make the right decisions for their company.

Ben went through many tools and tricks that pest controllers can use to market their businesses without having a marketing background. As well as covering the basics of marketing strategy, Ben’s talk was actionable for staff at any level – particularly sole traders and small businesses.

Gary Williams, from Urban Wildlife, gave us examples of exactly where the problems can be if you don’t keep a respectful eye on your non-target species. The talk covered bats, badgers, snakes, slowworms and more. The talk wasn’t just a cautionary tale. Gary gave his audience workable advice for many non-targets who happen to be occupying the same space as a pest species.

Clive Boase wrapped up the day with a fantastic talk on pesticide resistance and its effect on the daily practice of the pest management company in his ‘back to basics’ seminar. The talk covered a huge range of questions including insecticide resistance in houseflies, the Daily Mail’s so-called ‘mutated super rats’ and the biological and environmental causes of resistance.

As with all good talks, it ended with questions rather than solutions. Clive split the attendees into groups to tackle big resistance topics such as who should be responsible for resistance management, and what future measures might be acceptable to protect public health. Both Clive and the BPCA team agreed that more roundtables like these at industry events could be exactly what we need in order to tackle the big pest issues of the day, such as resistance.

The exhibitor hall was packed, and it’d be impossible to wrap up all that was on offer across all the different stands. 92% of visitors said that the quality of exhibitors was either good or excellent. As well as plenty of pest control product and service providers, this year we had associated industries and pest control friends, such as the University of Reading, The Bat Conservation Trust and Tree Bee Society.

The outdoor demonstrations were very well attended. Falconry, drones, and moleing techniques were showcased in the Three Counties Showground beautiful outdoor space underneath the picturesque Malvern Hills. Two of the scheduled outdoor demonstrators had car troubles on the day, but fortunately, they were both covered.

Alogether now at PPC Live

The Airgun Training and Education Organisation lead the demonstration on air rifle safety, empowering pest controllers to stay the right side of the law. The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) demonstration was saved by the official PPC Live photographer, Clark Smith-Stanley (Profile Studios), who happened to have his commercial drone with him.

While Clark demonstrated the drone, BPCA Technical Manager, Dee Ward-Thompson and BPCA Membership Manager, Kevin Higgins, told the audience how they could apply this technology to their everyday practice. A special thank you to those who stepped in at the last moments.

The ever-popular birds of prey demonstration, couldn’t have been in a more fitting location. John Dowling and his team stuck around all day as exhibitors, giving visitors plenty of opportunity to ask follow-up questions and to have meaningful conversations about birds of prey in pest management. We’ve nearly got as many pictures of the birds of prey as we have Merlin’s bed bug dog.
David Archer’s hands-on talk had the stands filled with technicians wanting to refine their practical trapping skills. Dave went through multiple traps talking about both the legal impacts and practical implications of mole trapping.

The outside demonstrations add to the character of PPC Live as a whole. PPC Live might be the younger sister to PestEx, but it definitely deserves its own firm spot on the pest management event calendar. Thank you again to everyone who helped make it very special.

PestEx Save the date and feedback

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Lauren-Day-Staff-bubbleLauren Day

Events Manager
1 May 2018  |  PPC91

Source: PPC91

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