April 2018



Marty Overlilne
Aardvark Pest Management
Phildelphia, PA
Adam Witt
President Elect
Witt Pest Management
Pittsburgh, PA

Jeff King
Vice President
The Pest Rangers
Hanover Twp., PA

Keith Hamilton
Chairman of the Board
J.C. Ehrlich
State College, PA

Central Division
Gary Lesher
Perry Pest Control
Landisburg, PA
Leland Manuel
Manchester, PA

Keith Jones
Archer Pest Control
Camp Hill, PA
Eastern Division  
Bryan Levengood
Thur-O Pest Mngmt
Elverson, PA

Mike Snyder
Township Pest Control
Warrington , PA
Rob Byer
Mount Laurel , NJ
Northeast Division
Jeff King
The Pest Rangers
Hanover Twp., PA
Paul Kutney
The Pest Rangers
Larksville, PA
Peter Arnold
K-9 Bed Bug 
Detection Services
Pleasant Mount, PA
Western Division
Adam Witt
Witt Pest Management
Pittsburgh, PA
Scott Grill
Bill Grill Exterminating
Verona, PA
Sean Williams
Bill Grill Exterminating 
Verona, PA
Industry Liaison
Brian Smith
Sharon Hill, PA
Executive Director
Versant Strategies
Harrisburg, PA

Many thanks to these Past Presidents:
Len Bruno
Dana Lown
Harvey Goldglantz
John Morrison
Keith Hamilton
Mike Powers
Dave Hyres
Steve Rubel
Robert Jones
Charles Taylor
Joe Kahn
Ed Van Istendal
Paul Kutney
Rick Voyton

Are we missing someone? Let us know as we work to compile this record.










Dear Friends:

With this wacky weather, it's hard to tell the busy season is just around the corner! If we at the Association can be of assistance, please let us know! We can always be reached at (800) 842-9090 or cwright@versantstrategies.net. 

Be sure to check out the Small Business Spotlight highlighting vehicle purchases and the Member Benefits spotlight focusing on the PA One Call rebate.

We look forward to hearing from you! Let us know if we can help!

Team Versant  
A Humorous Story of Pest Control
Several years ago, I was scheduled to perform a Sentricon check at a home in Lancaster. It was a nice home in a "well to do" community with a huge fenced-in backyard and custom-built swimming pool. I remember it being a nice, sunny, and warm afternoon. The kind of day that you feel blessed you get to work outside. Back then each Sentricon station was checked with a hand held device that would scan the bar code located on the bottom of the station cap and would make a "beep" sound when it registered. I always made it a point to make some noise before entering a backyard. If you didn't know any better, you would think every time I open a gate is the first time I've ever done it. What I'm doing is making noise and waiting to hear for any response. I would do this especially in the summer because you can easily walk up on a house wife sun bathing by the pool who dozed off and the last thing you want them to do is wake up as you're standing next to them. Fortunately, that scenario has never been a problem, but it terrifies me still today that it could happen so I'm very careful. I also want to alert any dogs that someone is about to encroach on their territory because a mad dog is bad enough but, as any good sports fan knows, we always fight harder on our own turf.

Well this day I had already gone through my normal routine and had assumed no one (or dog) was in this  backyard and I could proceed with my inspection without hesitation. I got as far away from the gate as this check would take me when my "beep" was followed immediately by a very deep growl. I looked up and the biggest German shepherd I've ever seen to date slowly came out of a door I hadn't noticed, until now, between the house and the garage. He had his head down and was creeping toward me like a lion you see on National Geographic prowling a wildebeest in the tall grass of the African plains. It may sound dramatic, but you weren't there were you? It was the most frightened I have ever been on the job to this day and that would include my previous construction job where I had to be revived by chest compression after losing consciousness 30 feet deep in a manhole.

The thoughts that went through my head, other than "I'm screwed", included the fact that I was a good 100 feet from the gate to safety and I was on a deck. To get away unharmed I would have to go down the stairs before running to the gate or jump off. Not to mention I would have to turn my back at some point to run and I was not looking forward to that either.

Just then, he let out one loud bark and leaped at me going right for my face. I leaned back and did the only thing that felt natural at that moment. I punched him in the face. It hurt me more than him and seemed to have no effect whatsoever. I turned and ran as fast as I could knowing there's no way I could out run him because I've seen way too many episodes of "Cops." I knew initial speed was very key, so I had no choice but to run straight passed the stairs that would take me down the deck. Unfortunately, it also meant I would have to jump off the deck but there was no turning back now.

Thinking back, it's probably what saved me from being ripped to shreds because either he didn't feel like jumping off too or simply had a great deal of respect for me for jumping. I remember being about 12 feet in the air looking down at the ground and thinking, "as soon as you hit the ground, GET UP AND RUN!" I don't know how but I landed on my feet and jumped immediately again over the six-foot fence landing safely on the other side. I can only assume it's the same adrenaline pumping force that allows a woman to lift a car off her child in a moment of despair.
Since that day, I approach every yard with an even greater precaution for dogs. Now almost everyone in this area has an invisible fence and their dogs run all over the yard. Because of my experience with the massive German shepherd that looked like it was bred for pulling a coach full of Budweiser I am easily freaked out by dogs. I got away but we all get lucky once in our lives.

The feeling from that day has never left me. About a year ago, I pulled up to a home to check their stations. All the signs were there that they had outside dogs. Dog house, food, and water dishes, toys, piles, etc.... Nothing came running up when I pulled in the driveway, but I knew to proceed with caution. I got around to the front door, bent over to check the station and saw a large shadow on the sidewalk moving toward me. I immediately panicked and ran like crazy to my truck. For whatever reason I turned to look over my shoulder to see how close the dog was. I guess it's because I knew I'm not as fast as I used to be. Funny enough, the only thing I saw was a beautiful orange and black Monarch butterfly fluttering in the breeze casting its shadow on the walkway below. It was then that I realized that I had the moxie equivalent to an elementary school girl and was running away from a freaking butterfly.

So, this story goes out to those who have ever been chased by dogs, reacted drastically to something that wasn't what it seemed or anyone who saw an idiot running from nothing down a side walk one afternoon in Lancaster and thought, "what's that guy's problem?" Now you know the answer. He is haunted by a memory he hopes he never has to relive.

So, watch out for the dog days of summer!

Provided by
Leland J. Manuel
Pest-Rite LLC.
Here comes The Season...Are you ready?
The PPMA Mentoring Program would like to wish everyone a safe and productive season!

That was one long winter that just didn't want to give up. After a couple of stalls, here's hoping that the 2018 Pest Season is finally underway.

If there is anyway that we can help your season go smoother, fell free to contact me and we'll do our best to help.

Scotty Grill
PPMA Mentoring Program Chairman
Small Business Spotlight

The SUV and Truck Deduction in 2018 - An Unexpected Loophole

 Remember the good old days when you could write-off 100% your new SUV or Truck under the 179 deduction? That was the wild wild west (pre-2006), and then we all became quickly familiar with the $25,000 cap on writing off these gas guzzling vehicles.

However, the game has changed with possibly an unintended loophole under the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). The silver bullet: Bonus Depreciation.

A little history lesson first

Section 179 allows certain assets to be deducted in one year if a section 179 election is made, but places a maximum deduction of $25,000 on what it classifies as sport utility vehicles (any four-wheeled passenger automobile between 6,000 and 14,000 pounds). This deduction was formerly known as the Hummer Deduction as business owners flocked to buy large SUVs as soon as it was enacted. However, most large SUVs cost a lot more than $25,000, so the benefit was limited.

In order to jumpstart current investment, the government will at times enact rules that speed up depreciation. Two such rules are found in Sections 179 and 168(k) of the Internal Revenue Code.

That's where Section 168(k) steps in and is referred to as Bonus Depreciation! In years past, Section 168(k) allowed SUV purchasers to write off 50% of the value of their new vehicle over and above the $25,000 Section 179 deduction.

This meant that if a business owner purchased a Tesla Model X (weighing over 6,000lbs) for $100,000 before September 27, 2017, the first year depreciation would be $62,500.00.

2017 SUV/Truck Purchase (new off the lot)

Vehicle Cost $100,000
179 Expense $25,000
Bonus Depreciation $37,500
Remaining basis under MACRS $37,500
Total 1st Year write-off $62,500 + actual expenses

The total write-off in 2017 is $62,500, plus actual expenses (gas, fuel, repairs & maintenance). The rest of the expense would then be depreciated following MACRS going forward. That is a pretty big incentive for a business owner to invest in an SUV, but it gets better.

The Big News Under New Legislation

Late last year, when the TCJA was signed into law, bonus depreciation was increased to 100%, AND it is allowed on new or used equipment purchases (which an SUV/Truck falls under). Now, under 168(k)(6)(A) this allows you to write-off 100% of the SUV or Truck purchase (assuming it is 100% business use). You heard me, right ... 100%!

2018 SUV/Truck Purchase (new or used)

Vehicle Cost

179 Expense $25,000
Bonus Depreciation $75,000
Remaining basis under MACRS zero
Total 1st Year write-off $100,000 + actual expenses
This means that a business owner can deduct 100% of the cost of a new SUV or Truck (with less than a 6ft bed), and it's all through the 'back door' of Bonus Deprecation.

A Few Cautionary Points

Remember to keep in mind that you need to substantiate the business use percentage. In the examples above, it was assumed the business owner could show 100% business use. Historically the best method to prove your business use is through a mileage log. Many business owners think that when they go to the 'actual method' they can roll down the window and throw out the 'mileage log'- wrong. Make sure you can prove the business use versus the personal use of your SUV or Truck.

Also, keep in mind that the Section 179 expense can only be taken up to the amount of profit in your business. For example, in the scenario above, if you had $20,000 in profit, you could only take $20,000 in Section 179 expense (not the entire $25,000).

However, the bonus depreciation amount is NOT limited by profit. Thus, you could take an additional $80,000 loss in your business and deduct against other income on your 1040 (presuming you had a basis, it wasn't a hobby and had active participation, just to name a few).

Mark J. Kohler is a CPA, Attorney, Radio Show host and author of the new book "The Business Owner's Guide to Financial Freedom- What Wall Street Isn't Telling You", and  "The Tax and Legal Playbook- Game Changing Solutions For Your Small Business Questions". He is also a partner at the law firm Kyler Kohler Ostermiller & Sorensen, LLP and the accounting firm K&E CPAs, LLP. For more information visit him at www.markjkohler.com.  [Written in collaboration with Deven Munns, Attorney, KKOS- Rexburg, Idaho]
Member Benefit Spotlight

Written by Caleb Wright, Executive Director.

Termites and other wood destroying insects are every homeowner's worst nightmare, but part of many pest control company's business model. While the process of placing the treatment into the ground has become a common practice in the industry, the commonwealth has put regulations in place to ensure the safety of the technician beyond the products they are used. 

PA state statute requires that those digging with powered equipment call to have utility lines marked at least three days before the dig occurs. Simply call 811 and the PA One Call System takes it from there!

The system charges a $125.00 annual fee. This allows "members" to call in an unlimited number of times. To help the bottom line of your business, the PPMA will pay this statement for you! Just mail, email (cwright@versantstrategies.net), or fax (717-635-2317) the invoice. We will pay it for you! Consider that a $125 discount on your membership fee!

Questions about this membership benefit? Call the office at  (800) 842-9090. For more information on the PA One Call System, check out www.pa1call.org. 
Commercial Kitchens are a Different World 
Finding Pest Hot Spots in Food Service Accounts

Republished with permission from Techletter, www.techletter.com 
A commercial kitchen can mean anything from a school cafeteria to a fast food carryout to the kitchen of a four star restaurant. In commercial kitchens, your primary pest targets are cockroaches, flies, and mice. Secondary pests are ants, stored food pests, and other occasional invaders. There will always be pest "hot spots" in any food service account and they won't necessarily be the same from one account to the next.

In early visits, develop a profile of the top problem sites that you will check at each future service visit. Ask staff where they see pests (make sure they know you are not the health inspector), but maybe more importantly, ask "Where are the most hard-to-reach or hard-to-clean areas?" Add this info to your inspection results and monitoring trap data and you will have an idea of the sites most likely to have pest problems.

Underneath Heavy Equipment - Spaces beneath stoves, coolers, dishwashers, beverage dispensers, and other heavy equipment or appliances are too often overlooked when cleaning. Food spills start here or end up here when cleaning pushes debris into those dark, warm voids. This is also where you are most likely to have damaged flooring or openings around pipes and conduits that enter wall voids or the floor. For equipment that doesn't move on wheels, a flashlight with a long-handled inspection mirror and monitoring sticky traps can be useful.

Floor Drains - Wash water, complete with food scraps and grease, ends up here providing food for drain flies, fruit flies, phorid flies, cockroaches and other pests. Look for forgotten floor drains under equipment or in storage areas. Floor drains should be free of bacterial scum and should have a grate cover or screen. A biocide cleaner that kills bacteria is a safe choice for drains. Sink drains may need routine cleaning as well.

Refrigeration Equipment - Ice makers and coolers provide warmth around the compressor and hiding places inside motor housings or deteriorating door seals. Pests can find moisture from condensation and clogged drains and food debris underneath. Look for scummy drip pans under equipment. Walk-in freezers and coolers offer protected hiding inside false floors, ceilings, or walls. Open and inspect these spaces when you can and install sticky trap monitors.

Dishwashing Stations - Dishwashing equipment has many nooks and crannies that can collect food debris and is generally not cleaned often enough. In some cases, dirty dishes may be left in the dishwasher overnight. The high temperatures and moisture in dishwashing areas attract cockroaches, but these same elements along with the use of detergent can break down some pesticides quickly.

Drink Dispenser Units - Bar areas or other sites with beverage dispensers, tanks, lines, and drains used in serving alcoholic drinks or syrupy soft drinks can be prone to leaks or spillage. Fruit flies and ants are particularly attracted to areas with sugary spills or fermented odors of beer or wine. 

Don't overlook potential pest hot spots outside of the kitchen area such as loading docks and receiving, recycling bins, dumpsters and other garbage disposal and handling, damaged or return  goods storage room, mop closets, and tray cart storage. These are often the sites that first feed pests into the kitchen, and if overlooked, will continue to do so despite your best efforts in the back room. 

Treatment Considerations in Commercial Kitchen Hot Spots

As you contemplate how you are going to treat various pest hot spots in a commercial kitchen, be aware that not all residual  pesticiedes are labeled for use in food areas, and those that can be used are often restricted to crack and crevice or spot application. A "food area"  is defined by EPA as any area where food is received, stored, packaged, prepared (cleaned, sliced, cooked, etc.), or served. For some pesticides, the label will require that you cover food-handling surfaces, food, and utensils before treatment, or wipe down surfaces after treatment. never apply insecticide dust into ceiling voids above food areas. 

In commercial kitchens, the use of pesticides in food areas is not only restricted by the product label, but can also be affected by heat, moisture, grease, and routine cleaning. Choose products that are labeled for the site and have the ability to stand up to those conditions. For cockroaches or ants, placing insecticide gel baits in cracks and crevices and in hidden areas under equipment, under counter tops, or in hollow legs is generally good practice but avoid placing gel bait in very hot areas around stoves or equipment. Emphasize good sanitation, clutter reduction, and elimination of excess moisture.
News From NPMA

                2018 Farm Bill

On Wednesday April 18th, the House Agriculture Committee passed the Agriculture and Nutrition Act, H.R. 2 (the "Farm Bill") out of committee. The Farm Bill passed on a straight partisan line vote, with the Republicans in the majority and the ability to pass the Farm Bill without bipartisan support. NPMA attended the mark-up in which the majority of the debate and disagreement continued to focus on nutrition funding levels and worker requirements for the supplemental nutrition assistance Program (SNAP), aka food stamps. 
As the committee reviewed and debated the entire Farm Bill, when the Horticulture title IV (which includes our pesticide issues) was brought up, no debate or discussion was had and no objections or further clarification was needed. This is a positive development, considering we expected there to be some disagreement over some of the provisions contained in this title involving pesticide regulatory reform.

The Farm Bill is now headed to the House floor for a full vote by all U.S. Representatives. We anticipate this vote to come in early May. The magic number is 218 votes and there currently is 237 Republicans in office. The issue remains that the Farm Bill has historically not had support from certain factions of the Republican Conference, therefore needing support from moderate Democrats. NPMA along with our close industry allies are conducting extensive outreach with potential swing votes on both sides of the aisle.

BUT......we need your help in this process! Last week NPMA members sent nearly 500 messages in one week, but now we need to do it again and send this action alert onto others. We've begun to see the first efforts by Beyond Pesticides to mobilize their constituents in opposition of our language. So please click here to send a positive message to your elected official, urging their support for the Farm Bill, and how not passing the farm bill will harm your ability to provide pest management services jeopardizing the public health of constituents in their districts.
Upcoming Meetings          

The Meetings and Events section of the website is always the most up-to-date resource for happenings of the Association. Be sure to check it out!

The Eastern Division continues to hold its monthly meetings with varying topics of discussion on the second Thursday of every month at the Crowne Plaze in Trevose.  For more information on monthly topics and speakers, contact Sue at (215) 331-1121.
Legislative Update

The information below represents legislative activity (including bill introductions) that has occurred since the last newsletter.  For a full listing of legislation that Versant is tracking for PPMA, please contact us at (717) 635-2320 or cwright@versantstrategies.net.  Activity marked HCO or SCO indicates a co-sponsorship memo which precedes the actual introduction of legislation and is designed to secure the support of other legislators prior to introduction as a bill.

Both the House and Senate met in April. All members of the House, half of the members in the Senate, and the Governor are all working towards re-election. Be sure to vote in the primary on May 15. Versant Strategies is paying close attention to the following legislation on your behalf:

HB 1001- Helm, Susan (R) - Act regulating home inspectors; establishing the Home Inspection Licensing Board; providing for licensure & practice, for disciplinary action, for remedies & for penalties; making an appropriation; & repealing provisions.

The bill has passed the Senate Labor and Industry Committee and awaits further action in the Senate.
Increase Your Business Opportunities; Update your Find a Pro Listing Today
To update your company's service area, please follow the steps below:
  1. Log on to the Manage My Group area of the NPMA websitePlease note: in order to access the "Manage My Group" area of the NPMA website, you must be a company administrator. 
  1. Click on "Company Information" from the drop down menu.
  1. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find the Service Area section.
    1. Download the excel template found on this page.
    2. Update this template to include all of the zip codes that you service.
    3. Save the file on your computer.
    4. In the Service Area section click Choose File.  Locate the excel template file that you just saved. Click open.
    5. Click Upload file.
Once you've completed these steps your service on Find-a-Pro is instantly updated to include these new zip codes. 
If you are having problems accessing please contact NPMA at (703) 352-6762 or npma@pestworld.org.

Articles of Interest

04-26-2018 Pets could be next target of exotic tick that infested N.J. farm
An exotic tick from East Asia that infested a sheep in one New Jersey county has now been confirmed in a second county, according to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture. Expand icon Advertisment 1 of 2 Gallery: Pets could be next target of exotic tick that infested N.J. farm... - Philadelphia Inquirer

04-25-2018 Pruitt unveils controversial 'transparency' rule limiting what research EPA can use
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt moved Tuesday to limit what science can be used in writing agency regulations, a change long sought by conservatives. The proposed rule would only allow the EPA to consider studies where the underlying data is made available publicly. Such restrictions could affect... - Washington Post

04-23-2018 Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home: Chesterbrook students release 9K aphid-eating beetles to mark Earth Day
Students at Chesterbrook Academy Preschool got a jump on Earth Day celebrations Friday with a ladybug launch at their Manheim Township school. Earth Day was Sunday, but students gathered a few days early to release 9,000 ladybugs throughout the schoolyard. Students are learning that ladybugs serve as a natural pesticide by feeding... - Lancaster Intelligencer Journal

04-12-2018 Tire collection aims to prevent mosquito-borne diseases
LEBANON, Pa. (WHTM) - More than 2,000 tires are on the way to a recycling facility following a massive collection on Wednesday. The event organized by Penn State Extension happens annually at the Lebanon County Fairgrounds. Municipalities across the county set aside funding... - WHTM