Global Pest Issues Discussed at 10th ICUP in Barcelona

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BARCELONA, Spain – Delegates from across the globe gathered face-to-face at the 10th International Conference on Urban Pests (ICUP), held at the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, Spain, June 27-29. It had been a long wait for this event as it was originally planned for 2020, but the COVID pandemic prevented this, so five years had passed since the last ICUP event held in Birmingham, UK.

In total, more than 250 academics, manufacturers, regulators and service professionals representing all sectors of the urban pest management sector attended. Delegates came from 28 different counties from as far away as Argentina, South Korea, Australia and India but, as to be expected, there were strong contingents from European countries, in particular Italy, Germany, France and of course, the host country Spain. There was also good representation from the U.S. with more than 25 delegates present.

Opening the event was Dr. Bill Robinson, chair of the ICUP Executive Committee, who greeted all the delegates, referring to them as “the ICUP family.” This is certainly a very apt description as these events have a very loyal following with well over half of those present having attended at least one, if not several, or even all, of the previous nine conferences going back to Cambridge in 1993.

Robinson implored all those present to “Get out of your box and think laterally about urban pest control. Economics are coming into pest control. The world is changing. We are all safe and sound here in Barcelona, but the world is no longer such a friendly place. Some of our East European colleagues are absent. And several of us have had to battle with airline and train cancellations as well as lost luggage.”

Problems certainly, but this failed to dampen the excitement and enthusiasm of those lucky enough to be present.

Dr. Ruben Bueno, chairman of the ICUP Organizing Committee welcomed everyone to Barcelona. He highlighted the challenges and new problems faced within Europe, such as the growing threats posed by the spread of West Nile virus and the increase in invasive species such as Aedes albopictus, black flies, Asian hornets and termites.

There were numerous US speakers, including Dr. Jason Munshi-South of Fordham University, N.Y., who gave the opening plenary presentation covering the management of urban rat populations and Dr. Dini Miller of Virginia Tech, who covered her field experiences with bed bug monitors and stressed the need for assessment-based pest management. The University of California was well represented with presentations from Dr. Andrew Sutherland, UCANR and from UC-Riverside, Dr. Chow-Yang Lee, who spoke about cockroaches and bed bug resistance. Also from UC-Riverside was Dr. Michael Rust, who has  attended virtually every ICUP conference. He addressed cockroaches and yellow jackets.

In total there were approaching 70 oral presentations accompanied by poster presentations, which covered both scientific research and practical experiences of the full range of urban pests including rodents, bed bugs, cockroaches, ants, birds, mosquitoes and termites, using both chemical and non-chemical means. These sessions generated detailed, and sometimes extended, discussion about the various issues raised. In addition, there was a one-day, more practical workshop which was well attended by local pest professionals as well as those attending for the full three days. As ever at such ICUP events, the informal time spent by delegates networking and exchanging ideas proved both very valuable and enjoyable.

Delegates received printed and bound proceedings, which contained the full text of the oral presentations together with abstracts of the 60 posters. These papers and posters will soon be available to view and download, free-of-charge, from the permanent ICUP website at

The next ICUP Conference will be in three year’s time, in 2025. Further details, including the location, will be announced very soon.

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