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NYS IPM 2004
Excellence-in-IPM Award Winners:
Gil Bloom

Pest-control clients, Gil Bloom says, come in two main types. The first wants results—now. And Bloom can give them what they want.

But it's the second type he really enjoys working with.

Jody Gangloff-Kaufman, Gil Bloom, and Jennifer Grant celebrate Gil's Excellence-in-IPM Award January 19, 2006.

"These people learn how to be part of the solution," says Bloom, third-generation pest control operator and president of family-owned Standard Pest Management of Queens, New York. "When they find out that there are alternatives to routine sprays, their point of view changes. They take charge."

For his innovation and outreach, and for leadership in teaching the principles of sound pest management to his peers across New York and the nation, Bloom has received the "Excellence in IPM Award" from the New York State Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program at Cornell University. IPM brings together—integrates—a wide range of pest management options to help people chose the lowest-risk method that works in their situation.

Bloom's 12 carefully trained technicians go to jobs equipped with the latest in new, "soft" pesticides and application technology. But they also carry tubes of caulk and rolls of "copper stuff-it," since keeping pests out is the essence of prevention.

And they bring knowledge. Each client receives fact sheets and other publications that help them learn how least-risk pest management strategies are based on an understanding of pest biology.

"A sound, integrated pest management program is built on denying a pest its fundamental biological needs—food, water, shelter," Bloom says.

This isn't always easy. Warehouses, apartment buildings, and office buildings that were built a century ago are full of gaps and cracks—and worse.

"The costs of closing up these buildings, of fixing plumbing leaks and keeping them scrupulously clean, can be unbelievable," Bloom says. "And think about a church. On that type of structure, how could you exclude pigeons from every possible roosting place?"

"When dealing with pigeons, I tell these clients to see where it's hitting cars and people," Bloom says. "Where does the boss park? Then you defend those areas."

What are the top three insect pests that Bloom deals with?

Cockroaches and ants are tied for first place. But bedbugs are an up-and-coming problem that has Bloom worried.

"The social phenomenon of bedbugs is incredible," he says. "We see dramas unfold in front of us. People's relationships can break up over bedbugs."

Bloom notes that preventing and treating bedbug problems requires more cleaning skills than most people have. "The answer is not chemical," he says.

Bloom's influence goes far beyond his own company. "Gil is a key player in promoting IPM in the structural pest management community," says Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann, an educator with the New York State IPM Program. "He's a dedicated professional who advocates for science-based, non-chemical approaches."

Gangloff-Kaufmann notes that Bloom was instrumental in organizing Project Clean Sweep in New York City in 2003, which helped metro-area pest control operators dispose of over 20 tons of outmoded pesticides.

Currently, Bloom is working to help jump-start a pilot project that will remove recyclable pesticide containers from the general recycling stream.

An adjunct professor at City University of New York and president of the Pest Management Institute, Bloom has taught IPM strategies to hundreds of pest control operators as well as New York City's transit and housing authorities. As past president of the New York State Pest Management Association, Bloom has provided Cornell University researchers with a regular forum in the Association's newsletter and at conferences and training sessions.

Bloom is also a member of the Pesticide Advisory Council for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Community IPM Council at Cornell University.

Bloom didn't plan on carrying on family tradition when he was in college over 25 years ago. "I was going to be a lawyer," he says. But then the pest control industry started to become more science-based. "The science is what hooked me," he says.

What's the most important thing that IPM offers Bloom's industry?

"What it did for me," Bloom says. "IPM got me to stand back, open my eyes, and look at things differently. IPM makes people a part of the solution."

Bloom receives his award on January 19 at the National Pest Management Association's Eastern Conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey.