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World-recognized UF termite bait inventor chosen for pest management hall of fame

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — World-renowned University of Florida entomologist Nan-Yao Su came up with the idea for a termite-baiting system when he was a graduate student. Now, his peers in the pest management industry are recognizing Su for the global success of his invention, known as Sentricon®.

The Pest Management Professional Hall of Fame will induct Su on Oct. 22 in Orlando, Florida, for his efforts to prevent termites from damaging property across the world.

“The humble idea I hatched when I was a graduate student is now helping millions of households,” said Su, a distinguished professor of entomology at the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. “I used to naively think that as long as I do good science and publish the results, the public and industry will understand and will follow.”

“That was more than 20 years ago,” he said. “It took a long time to have that happen, and it requires lots of patience to keep working on it. I guess this means that the industry is now — more than ever — embracing the baiting technology as spearheaded by Sentricon®.”

Subterranean termites are among the most damaging termites in the world and represent a significant part of the $40 billion annual cost in damages caused by insects globally, Su said.

Sentricon® has been marketed in 32 countries since 1995 to protect more than 3 million homes. The system also has been widely used in historic buildings, including the Statue of Liberty.

Su said he used to extol the environmental benefits of bait technology versus the old technology of spraying pesticide in soil, but a product must be commercially successful for it to help people, and Sentricon® has helped plenty of property owners, he said.

“I think the continuous improvement of the Sentricon® system, resulting from the combined efforts of Dow AgroSci and UF, have been the key factors in meeting industry’s demand and acceptance,” Su said.

Pest management professionals vote on hall of fame inductees, according to http://pmphalloffame.net/. Members of the Pest Management Professional Hall of Fame, established in 1996, include those who helped shape the pest management industry. Two others with UF/IFAS ties are hall members Phil Koehler, a UF/IFAS entomology professor; and Charles Steinmetz, the man for whom the UF/IFAS entomology and nematology department building is named.

Inductees’ plaques hang in the halls of Purdue University, where the pest-management industry fraternity, Pi Chi Omega, was founded.

“PMP will continue to recognize the trailblazers and legends of the pest management industry who strive to uphold professional standards, educate their peers, and develop innovative products and services,” the website says.

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By: Brad Buck, 352-294-3303, bradbuck@ufl.edu

The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS works to bring science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents. Visit the UF/IFAS web site at ifas.ufl.edu and follow us on social media at @UF_IFAS.

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