House built for bugs; grand opening slated

PUYALLUP — Why would anyone intentionally build a new house with deck posts in contact with soil, improperly installed window flashings, a leaking toilet and attic insulation running right up to ventilation holes?

The answer is to provide the first hands-on training facility in the western United States for structural pest inspectors where they can actually see the real-world conditions that invite pest infestations.

A grand opening celebration will begin at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, April 9, for the new Structural Pest Research and Demonstration Facility located at the Washington State University Puyallup Research and Extension Center at 7612 Pioneer Way East in Puyallup.

While similar facilities have been built in the eastern U.S., this is currently the only facility of its kind in the West. The 1,152 square foot “house” also features four kinds of exterior siding and four kinds of roofing materials to allow trainees to see what creates pest-friendly conditions in a variety of structural materials.

Brad Cyrier, a structural pest inspector, tells participants how to conduct an inspection at a structural pest workshop.

“People who do structural pest inspections in homes don’t have much opportunity to get hands-on training,” according to Carrie Foss, WSU Extension urban integrated pest management coordinator.  “It fills a critical training need by providing a place where they can work with experienced inspectors and learn how to do inspections.”

The training facility will provide lasting benefits for Washington citizens, according to Foss.

“Improved training for inspectors will help us all protect our investments in buildings and homes, improve structural safety and reduce impacts on water quality by reducing the need for pesticide use,” she said.

Construction of the facility was funded by a mix of public and private sources including WSU, the Washington State Department of Agriculture, the Washington State Pest Control Association, the Washington State Commission on Pesticide Registration and private donors.

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