Interview With an Entomologist◀ Back To Blog
October 23, 2019
Here at Thomas Pest Services, one of our greatest points of pride is the people who make up our staff; the Thomas family is a group that’s defined not only by their exceptional skills but also by their dedication to a strain of professionalism characterized by a focus on exceptional service and a drive to educate and inform. We love our staff - which is why we want readers to get to know them better!
In the first of our series of staff interviews, we talked to Bob Gaul, a highly skilled entomologist with nearly 30 years of experience and Director of Service here at Thomas Pest Services. We compiled some of Google’s most frequently asked entomology questions so that you can not only get to know a bit about Bob, but also learn about what he does. Let’s get to the questions!
- What is Entomology?
Entomology is fundamentally the zoological study of all insects. To dig into that a little more, that basically means observing and analyzing insect behavior to better understand the threats they might pose to people on a day-to-day basis, and using that expertise to figure out the best method to eliminate an infestation.
- How did you become an Entomologist?
Things have gotten quite a bit more streamlined since I first started; getting certified is a quicker process than it used to be. When I was first getting into the field- around 30 years ago- there wasn’t a straightforward certification program like you have now. I basically had to get some schooling and then spent 7 years in the field to get officially certified, because the field was still pretty young and programs hadn’t been established yet. It took time, but I enjoyed being able to learn with a hands on approach!
- Oh wow, so that’s quite the process. How do you use those skills you developed when you’re on the job?
Oh, I use them constantly. The Entomology skills I’ve learned heavily inform the fundamentals of our Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which uses a bunch of entomological methods including cultural, mechanical and biological control techniques. Honestly knowing all of this stuff has been invaluable in building and deploying that whole process.
- What drew you to the commercial specialization in the Entomology field?
It sort of just happened. I’ve been with Thomas since the very beginning, through multiple generations of the family, and they’ve been a pleasure to work with. I got into it right as it started, and I’ve really enjoyed it, so I’ve stuck with it ever since.
- What makes Entomology important?
Well, earlier I mentioned how it comes into play with IPM and really figuring out the best treatment method. Understanding the biology and the behavior patterns of different bugs is pretty key when it comes to figuring out best practice and building out a solid plan of approach when it comes to removing an infestation. It also is important in other specializations- some entomologists focus on things like preventing disease spread and protecting food sources from insects- so really the study as a whole has importance both inside commercial pest control and also in a bunch of other places. It’s got a pretty wide net of importance.
- Interesting! One last quick question- this is one we’ve seen a lot online. Do Entomologists study arachnids too?
Oh yea, I know more about spiders than I’d like to admit!
Good to know! Thanks so much Bob!