Black History Month and the Pest Control Industry
February 1st, 2023, Matthew S. Hess
February is Black History Month. It is an annual observance in the US and Canada. During Black History Month, acknowledgement of the achievements and contributions of African Americans to history, society and culture are made. It was first established as “Negro History Week” by historian Carter G. Woodson in February 1926, and later expanded to a month-long celebration in 1976. The purpose of Black History Month is to highlight the often overlooked and underrepresented history of African Americans. It also helps to foster a greater understanding and appreciation of the diverse experiences and perspectives of black people throughout history.
In this blog, I would like to acknowledge Black History Month and the history of Black-American contributions to the pest control and pest control related industries. Though the information I was able to acquire is quite vague on the topic at hand, I feel it’s still a topic worthy of review. It’s also a topic which needs more specific details, information and studies made available to the general public. There is plenty of information on how Black Americans have shaped sports, television, radio, music, freedom, clothing, products and other categories. The pest control industry, as far as I can tell, has done a less-than complete job of acknowledging this topic..
Martin Luther King Jr., a name everyone should recognize during Black History Month
The Impact of Black Americans in the Pest Control Industry
There is no doubt that Black Americans have made significant contributions to the pest control industry even though their exact impact is difficult to quantify. There are many African American entrepreneurs who have started and currently operate their own pest control companies. These individuals have helped to provide employment opportunities for other Black Americans, as well as to improve the quality of pest control services for communities. There are also a great number who have worked and are currently working to expand the industry as a whole. Additionally, Black Americans contribute within other ethnicity-owned exterminator companies.
There are pest control companies near me, who employ African Americans in all positions throughout their company. Black American professionals within the pest control and exterminator industry have made important advancements in the development of new methods and technologies for controlling pests. Through their hard work and dedication, they have helped and continue to shape the pest control industry into what it is today and what it will be tomorrow.
It is unfortunate that there are not many readily available sources of specific information regarding this topic. However, there are a couple related articles I could find with a little digging:
- PCT Magazine, February 25th, 2022, for Black History Month, has an article entitled, “BOM Members Reflect on Past, Present and Future” written by Brad Harbison. You can see it HERE.
- While this one may not be directly related to our industry, the effects of the scientists mention in this article are far reaching. It doesn’t take much to realize that their discoveries and accomplishments have easily helped in our industry, even if indirectly. You will find this article on cbc.ca, entitled, “Meet 7 Groundbreaking Black Scientists From the Past”, August 13, 2021. This is an EXCELLENT read! You can see it HERE.
Blacks and Their Role in the Development of Insecticides
Black History Month should especially bring one man to the minds of all Americans: George Washington Carver! Black Americans have played a significant role in the development of insecticides, both as researchers and as practitioners in the field. In addition, many are scientists who have made important contributions to the study of entomology and the development of new insecticides. This includes research on the biology and behavior of insects, as well as the development of new methods for controlling them.
African American practitioners in the pest control industry have also been instrumental in the application of insecticides. Using their expertise to protect crops and homes from pests, while also working to minimize the impact of insecticides on the environment. Through their work in the laboratory and in the field, Black Americans have helped to advance the science of insecticide development. Furthermore, they have played a vital role in ensuring that pests are managed effectively and safely.
George Washington Carver
One such man was named George Washington Carver. Despite what many have heard and repeated, Carver did not invent peanut butter! He did, however, do some remarkable work which has directly and indirectly impacted the pest control industry significantly. In fact, when Carver was young, he had quite an interest in experimenting on plants with various natural pesticides and other agricultural necessities. People who knew George, often called him “the plant doctor and knew him as the man who could help their crops grow healthily. There is an excellent article written on George Washington Carver and I encourage you to read it. Click this link to be redirected.
George Washington Carver may have helped shape the pest control industry without any real credit being given him.
Artwork by Hadassah Hess
Blacks and Their Role in Pest Populations
Black Americans have played a role in shaping the populations of pests and their control. This is brought about by their contributions to agriculture and urban environments. For example, Black American farmers have utilized traditional agricultural practices that have helped to control pest populations. These include crop rotation and companion planting. Additionally, Black American urban communities have been affected by pest-related health issues. Some include the spread of diseases by pests like mosquitoes and rodents. This has led to an increased advocacy for effective pest control measures in the black community.
Through the work and experiences of Black Americans, light has been shed on the importance of controlling pest populations and the impact that pests can have on communities. In doing so, they have contributed to efforts to address pest-related health issues and to promote sustainable pest management practices. Black History Month is the perfect time for their involvement in the pest control industry to be recognized nationwide.
Black History Month and Black American Contributions to the Industry Recognized in Pest Management Association
The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) is a professional organization that represents the pest control industry. It is the largest recognized pest control association in the United States. Black Americans have been a part of the NPMA for years. They have made important contributions to the organization and the industry as a whole. The NPMA often recognizes Black American in the industry during Black History Month.
Black Americans have served on the NPMA’s board of directors, committees, and task forces, providing valuable insight and expertise. Additionally, as entrepreneurs, many have started their own pest control companies. Some have subsequently become members of the NPMA. They may then participate in the organization’s efforts to advance the industry and to provide quality pest control services to communities.
The NPMA has also worked to support diversity and inclusion within the industry. This includes the recruitment and advancement of Black Americans in the pest control profession. Overall, Black Americans have played a significant role in the NPMA and have helped to shape the future of the pest control industry.
In recognition of Black History Month, here’s a list of a few Black Americans currently employed by the NPMA or serving in the NPMA in some capacity:
- Chanel Braxton, Associate Director of Membership
- Faye Golden, 2022-2023 Treasurer
- Joe Campbell, 2022-2024 At-Large Director
Black History Month and The Need for Exterminators
Like all communities, Black American communities have a need for effective pest control to protect their health and property. Many pests can carry diseases and cause damage to homes and structures. Black communities, particularly in urban areas, have been especially affected by pest-related health issues. The spread of mosquito-borne illnesses, for instance, has led to an increased need for effective pest control measures.
Additionally, Black American-owned homes and businesses also require pest control services to protect their properties and to maintain their value. As a result, Black Americans have a strong interest in the pest control industry and the services it provides. Through their demand for quality pest control services, they have helped to drive the growth and development of the industry. Black Americans will continue to play an important role in ensuring that pests are managed effectively and safely and future advancements are made.
Black History Month falls in February. This is a month when roach and bedbug populations are often more noticeable to occupants due to the colder weather and the extra time spent indoors. It’s a good month to take note of whether you may or may not need an exterminator! More Black American exterminators may be needed in the industry to aid in understanding lower income communities of Black Americans and their specific needs.