Bayer Hosted Fire Ant Summit

Bayer Environmental Science, manufacturer of TopChoice fire ant control, recently hosted more than 100 pest management and lawn care professionals at the 2004 Fire Ant Summit in Orlando, Fla. The company discussed the significant fire ant control business opportunity, and its premier fire ant product, TopChoice, a broadcast insecticide that both controls and prevents fire ants for up to one year with a single application.

“There is tremendous business opportunity for preventive fire ant applications for both lawn care and pest control professionals,” said Jim Fetter, director of marketing, Chipco Professional Products, Bayer Environmental Science. “We estimate that in the 310 million acres of the southern United States affected by fire ants, there are six million homes that are prime candidates for treatment. By aggressively promoting TopChoice fire ant control through integrated marketing, public relations and professional support, we can help our customers capture this market.”

Speakers at the three-day event included Tim Davis, area wide imported fire ant specialist and researcher at Clemson University; Dr. Nick Hamon, director of development and technical services, Bayer Environmental Science; and Laurence Mudge, field development and technical services representative for Bayer Environmental Science. Attendees were educated on the history and biology of red imported fire ants, which gained access to the United States from South America via the port of Mobile, Alabama in the 1920s, as well as their specific behaviors, characteristics, and the most effective management methods.

On day two of the summit, representatives from Colle+McVoy, Bayer’s advertising firm, and Tierney Communications, Bayer’s public relations firm, educated attendees on marketing practices of Bayer products, including ways in which they can work with Bayer ES to promote TopChoice, in addition to promoting their own company. Moreover, they were alerted to the upcoming public relations and advertising campaigns that will be taking place throughout 2004 for TopChoice.

“The consumer sees Bayer as progressive, quality and solution-oriented,” noted Eric Whitaker, senior planner with Colle+McVoy. “We take care of their health with Bayer aspirin; we take care of their termites with Premise and their lawn with Merit. Because TopChoice works, we can gain their trust protecting them from fire ants.”

A panel discussion was held on the last day of the event to facilitate an open discussion about controlling fire ants and the use of TopChoice. Panelists included Scott Williams, Lawn Master; Gordon Morrison, marketing manager for Bayer Environmental Science; Dr. J. Bryan Unruh, associate professor of environmental horticulture with the University of Florida; Judi Pittman with NitroGreen; Frank Meek with Orkin; and Jim Fetter.

Attendees were also able to network with their peers who have used TopChoice over the past several years as well as share success stories and useful strategies.

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