I am an ACE and it matters.
By Aaron J. Veal ACE Associate Certified Entomologist
I am an Associate Certified Entomologist (ACE). Sounds fancy but what does it mean and why would you care? The Enotomological Society of America (ESA) says that the ACE certification is the future and benchmark for professionalism in the pest management industry and is endorsed by the National Pest Management Association. The ACE is used to prove professional credentials to non-entomologist and the general public, YOU. Unfortunately, the state certification is not indicative of knowledge or experience. It is the minimum required by Uncle Sam to kill bugs. I did not want to do just the minimum so I went for my ACE.
Qualifications To Be An ACE
In order to qualify for the ACE certification I had to meet certain requirements. I had to be certified by The Tennessee Department of Agriculture to apply pesticides, have at least 5 years experience in the pest management industry(17 years so far), 2 letters of reference (to verify professionalism, entomological knowledge, and ethical standards), pass a very difficult test, and be willing to adhere to the ACE Code of Ethics. Wow, that was a mouthful. Let me tell you, that test was a bear, a real dig into the science of entomology. I thought I was taking a college final exam.
The ESA Entomological Society of America
When I first learned of the ACE certification I was immediately drawn to it. No one else had it at the time and it was that way for years. Now I am 1 of only 4 within 100 miles out of thousands of pest control operators in TN. But rarity alone doesn’t validate the ACE program even though less than 10% passed the test when I took it. The ESA awards the ACE only to those who surpass the minimum requirements. Most who go for the ACE are scientists, teachers, consultants, entomologists, and researchers. For this lowly bug man to achieve this was a big step. The ESA is a 501(c)3 serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and individuals in related disciplines. They also publish scientific journals, papers, and a magazine to spread the latest knowledge to its members. There is also an annual meeting for conferences and continuing education classes to keep everyone up on the latest research.
My calling Into Pest Control?
I was never content with just killing the bugs. I wanted to know what made them tick, why they were here, and what they were doing. This constant hunger for knowledge is insatiable. I will never learn all there is to know but I’m still shooting for it. For years I wanted to write a book for the consumer that dispelled the plethora of bad information out there passed around, especially in old wives tales. With the explosion of the internet, the bad information has only gotten worse. I may still do that one day like my friend Jerry Schappert has done. Check out his book Tales of the Route. It’s a great look into what we do. Until then I have found my voice here on my blog. I hope you enjoy.
Why should you care that I am a bug geek and an ACE? Because this is not just a job to me. I take it seriously because keeping pests out of your home goes way past the icky factor. Your health is at stake here. Some pests sting, some spread disease, and some are indicators of bigger problems with your home. Knowledge is power and you get to reap the benefits of the 1000s of hours spent immersing myself in this subject. The ACE proves this to you. If I know why the bug wants in your kitchen and how it got there I can more effectively stop it and keep it from happening again. All this while limiting your exposure to the products necessary to get there. You are safer and they are deader…. is that even a word? At the end of the day my inner bug geek provides a safe, non-icky home for you and your family So I fly my freak flag with pride. Everyone says they are the best…. let me prove it… with my ACE.
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