Dr. David Beresford, a professor in the Biology department at Trent, has a new title: member of the Pest Management Advisory Council. As part of the national council that advises the Minister of Health on pest management regulations, Professor Beresford will help foster communication between the general public and the Health Canada Pest Management Regulatory Agency.
Considering the courses that Dr. Beresford teaches on entomology, this prestigious appointment is well suited and well-deserved. Dr. Beresford studies insect pests like mosquitos and stable flies, which affect beef and dairy farms. Because these pests often carry antibiotic-resistant forms of bacteria and can travel over long distances, they present significant risks to the general population. However, they also play important parts in their ecosystems. Prof. Beresford emphasizes a flexible pest control strategy that targets only the pests in question instead of applying pesticides indiscriminately.
Prof. Beresford hopes that his position on the Pest Management Advisory Council will bring greater attention to new, less-invasive forms of pest control. In particular, he wishes to help the government create more stringent guidelines surrounding pesticide use. He also hopes future guidelines will emphasize field testing.
“A laboratory study isn’t the same as a field study. These pesticides can do damage throughout the environment that can’t be predicted. It’s always important to do field studies as well as lab studies,” Prof. Beresford said. He applies this belief in his classes, which include trips to his own farm so his students can see principles of integrated pest management in action. There, they can see how he has set up his experiments so they can apply his methods to their own research. “When I was an undergraduate at Trent, I found it extremely helpful when knowing how to proceed in my own graduate research, and I want to pass that along... That’s an important part of how I was trained, and it’s an extremely important part of how I teach.”
Prof. Beresford believes that serving on the Pest Management Advisory Council will benefit also his students, as he hopes to use this experience to give them a greater understanding of how government policy is created.
“Because we don’t understand all the issues that other sectors are dealing with, it’s difficult to understand how many people are stakeholders. I think it will be really important to bring that to my teaching. People who eat are stakeholders. Farmers are stakeholders. Legislators are stakeholders. I think that will be something I’m really excited to learn and bring back to my students.”
Dr. Beresford’s appointment to the council was confirmed in November 2014. His council term will last for three years.
Posted on Tuesday, December 9, 2014.