December 2019
The Inspector
Happy Holidays from PPMA!
2019 was quite the year! Thanks to all of our members for making it a very memorable year! The PPMA office will be closed through Thursday, January 2, 2019. If you need any assistance during that time, reach out to [email protected].
Congratulations PPMA President Adam Witt and wife Nikki on the birth of their first child, Eli Frank Witt. Baby Eli arrived on December 4, 2019 weighing 5 lbs 14 oz.
2019 Platinum Partners
Continuing Education
Technical Spotlight
Insects and Other Pests Infesting Firewood
Answering Customer Questions - Safety First

Written by Techletter. Reprinted with permission.

You might be starting to get calls from customers who are suddenly finding insects inside their homes. If you're in a temperate region, those insects could be fall-invading insects becoming temporarily active, or they could be insects that have hitchhiked inside on firewood and are now making an appearance.

Often it takes a day or two after wood has been brought inside before the hitchhikers warm up and become active, although they're usually moving sluggishly. Before they emerge, firewood insects may push sawdust out of holes in the wood and can make faint noises in the wood, alarming customers. Many of the emerging insects will head to windows or lights.

What Kind of Pests are Found in Firewood?

The types of pests that can emerge from firewood depends on the wood's cute age (dried and seasoned, or not quite), condition (damp and decaying, bark on or off), and how it has been stored (on damp ground or up off the ground). Firewood pests are generally of two types:

  1. Pests that are actually living in and tunneling in the wood -- carpenter ants and termites are the most common, but also various wood-boring beetles and horntail wasps.
  2. Pests that are just overwintering or using the wood as a temporary shelter -- includes most of the occassional invaders or nuisance pests that can be found around a home's foundation and that require high moisture such as earwigs, centipedes, sowbugs, psocids, springtails, crickets, scorpions, ground beetles, and cockroaches, but also includes fall-invading and overwintering insects such as Asian lady beetles, stink bugs, plant bugs, and new queen wasps... and look out for black widow spiders that just love wood piles!

Answers to Customer Questions About Pests from Firewood

Q. Will they infest my house? This is probably the most common question when firewood pests end up inside. They rarely survive to become even short-term pests indoors because (1) they're usually brought inside in small numbers, (2) they're sluggish from their semi-hibernation and be easily captured, and (3) most have a hard time surviving in drier, indoor conditions with low wood moisture levels.

Q. Can I spray the wood with pesticide to kill the bugs? No. There are no pesticides registered for direct spraying of firewood. Never spray wood that is to be burned in a fireplace because of the risk of inhalation of potentially harmful fumes. Insects that are just sheltering in the wood will usually move on and larvae, ants, or termites that are tunneling inside the wood usually aren't reached by pesticide spray anyway.

There are a few pesticide products that allow outdoor treatment of the soil underneath firewood piles since some insects move into the wood by this route, but it makes more sense to simply stack your wood up off the ground. This keeps it drier too.

Q. Then what can I do? Because insects emerging from firewood indoors are sluggish and usually appear in slow numbers at random times, you can vacuum or sweep them up or us a fly swatter as they appear. It's possible that just a single piece of wood in your indoor stack is infested. Then just carry it outside and discard it some distance from the house. If for some reason, you have a large number of insects emerging, call a pest management professional. A professional can also treat your indoor firewood "holding area" (not the wood itself) with a residual insecticide that will kill pests as they emerge.

You can always keep your firewood outside, bringing in only the quantity you are going to use at the time. Removing the bark before bringing wood inside also eliminates many pests that hide just under the bark. Don't store extra firewood in a heated garage or basement or insects will emerge there, perhaps unseen.

Q. Can I still burn the wood? There is no reason that you can't burn insect-infested wood that is untreated, but wood that is infested by tunneling insects is probably wet and decaying and of little value in a fireplace anyway. Maybe it's time to invite friends for an outdoor bonfire instead, complete with marshmallows, to get rid of the wood and the ants or other insects at the same time.

Q. Is this going to happen nest year, too? Practicing proper firewood management can eliminate the problem of insect-infested firewood int eh future. Split and stack wood loosely and off the ground for drying. Wood that is properly seasoned will be too dry for most wood-boring insects to survive. Burn older wood first since wood stored for more than two seasons is likely to decay and become infested. Check firewood during the summer; discard any pieces that seem to be infested, rotate and re-stack the pile.
Small Business Spotlight
Five Things Small Businesses Should Do at Year-End

Originally published by Rocket Lawyer.

N ew Year's resolutions aren't just for your personal life. As the business year draws to an end and you begin to make preparations for the following year, it's a good idea to take stock of what you are doing to maximize your business's growth. Here are five business ideas to start the New Year right.
Get started Incorporate Your Business Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.

1. Consider Incorporating.
The business year-end is a good moment to reflect on your business organization or lack thereof. A Sole Proprietorship is the most common form for small businesses to take, but is it really the best choice for your business? As you prepare your tax forms, calculate how much you would have to pay if you were to convert your business to a Corporation or an LLC. If you are considering incorporating, doing so with a January 1st effective date can make preparing your annual financial statements less complicated. Get the help you need to incorporate your business .

2. Prepare Your Tax Paperwork.
December is also a good time to reflect on your taxes in general. Consider taking time now to review your paperwork and iron out any issues that may arise with the Internal Revenue Service. Better yet, consult a tax advisor and see if you qualify for any additional deductions. Tax deductions are easy to miss and can save you money.

3. Review Your Documentation.
It's also a good idea to go through your business documentation and clean it up to start the year fresh. Remove old paperwork, correct mistakes, and make a list of any new licenses that you will need to apply for. When you return to business in the New Year, no matter what form your business takes, you'll know that your records are in good order (or well on their way to being corrected).

4. Provide Feedback to Employees.
Your employees are critical to the success of your company. Take some time at the end of the year to provide employee evaluations , so every team member knows where they stand and what you expect in the coming year. Also make sure you have the right agreements in place with every employee, like Employment Agreements and a company Employee Handbook . Keeping good records puts everyone on the same page, and it can also help you avoid the cost and hassle of employment disputes in the coming year. See more documents for managing employees .

5. Set Goals for the Coming Year
The end of the year is a natural time to reflect on, and analyze, your business. Assess whether or not the business is where you want it to be, its prospects for the future, and whether your current business practices are adequate. As you reflect, set goals for the year to come.
The end of the year is the perfect time to prepare for changes, so that you can start the New Year with a relatively clean slate. The insight you will gain from this process is invaluable, and can mean the difference between success and failure.

Read the article where originally published here .
Silver Partners
Industry Updates
Spotted Lanternfly
For up-to-date information on the Spotted Lanternfly and the current quarantine zone, visit the PA Department of Agriculture's website at the link below.

Bronze Partners
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 [email protected]. 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.

HB 21 - Helm, Sue (R) - Amends the Engineer, Land Surveyor and Geologist Registration Law, providing for the regulation of the practice of home inspection; and making a related repeal.

This legislation is of particular interest to PPMA. The bill has passed through the House of Representatives and is now in the Senate for consideration.

SB 941 - DiSanto, John (R) - Amends Real Estate Tax Law, in sale of property, providing for notice of sale, for deed, for hearing and order for judicial sale and for additional restrictions and providing for condemnation orders.

PPMA is working jointly with NPMA on this legislation to ensure that work regarding pests is completed by an appropriate professional.

HB 2091 - Zabel, Mike (D) - Amends the Pennsylvania Pesticide Control Act, providing for prohibited pesticides.

The bill which will ban chlorpyrifos has been sent to the House Ag and Rural Affairs Committee. A vote has not been set yet.

HCO 1764 Solomon, Jared (D) - Modernizes and overhauls the Landlord and Tenant Act.

The co-sponsorship memorandum has been filed. We await the filing of the legislation.
To update your company's service area, please follow the steps below:
  1. Log on to the Manage My Group area of the NPMA website. Please note: in order to access the "Manage My Group" area of the NPMA website, you must be a company administrator. 
  2. Click on "Company Information" from the drop down menu.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find the Service Area section.
  4. Download the excel template found on this page.
  5. Update this template to include all of the zip codes that you service.
  6. Save the file on your computer.
  7. In the Service Area section click Choose File. Locate the excel template file that you just saved. Click open.
  8. 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  [email protected] .
Articles of Interest
  (Press Release)

For Ryan Johnson of Norvelt, Pennsylvania’s white-tailed deer are more than just a potentially dangerous nuisance. “Deer in Pennsylvania are playing a huge part in ruining lives and costing people major money through accidents and disease,” Johnson said. “Lyme disease is a big deal and doesn’t get the attention it... - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

DuPont Co., the Wilmington-based chemical maker that has been selling its businesses since separating from Dow Chemical Co. last spring, is merging its Nutrition & Biosciences group into IFF, a New York food additives giant. DuPont food and drug group — which sold $6 billion of products such as... - Philadelphia Inquirer

Consider the beautiful disruptive invader known as the spotted lanternfly. The bugs' black-spotted gray-brown forewings are not too remarkable. It's the crimson hindwings that peek out through the semi-translucent forewings that give the bug its allure. "When you pull out its wings it's like Christmas," said artist Elsabe... - Reading Eagle