Bert Dodson Sr. Urban Entomology Enrichment Fund improves lives by battling urban pests

 

Dodson family

The Bert Dodson Sr. Urban Entomology Enrichment Fund was made possible by Dorothy Dodson, Karen Dodson Whitt, Bert Dodson Jr., Todd A. Dearborn, and Bonny L. Dodson.

People have been using a battery of weapons in the battle against household pests like cockroaches and bedbugs for decades. Now, they have a new weapon.

The newly established Bert Dodson Sr. Urban Entomology Enrichment Fund in the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will enable researchers, faculty, and Virginia Cooperative Extension professionals to implement novel solutions to urban pest problems and to share that knowledge with students, pest management professionals, and citizens. By researching ways to fight urban pests and sharing that knowledge through outreach and education, the fund will help society deal with the scourge of urban pests.

The fund was made possible by a gift from the family of Bert Dodson Sr. He founded Dodson Brothers Exterminating Company in 1944, along with his brother Robert, in Lynchburg, Virginia. Later, their brother Arthur joined them, and they began to build the small company into what would eventually be one of the largest family-owned pest control company in North America. Bert bought out his brothers in the early 1960s and expanded the enterprise throughout the mid-Atlantic region. Widely known for its bright yellow trucks, Dodson Brothers prides itself on delivering quality service with customer satisfaction being their principle goal.

Bert Dodson Jr., president and C.E.O. of Dodson Brothers, said that the members of Dodson family were all behind the decision to create the endowment.

“We want to give back to the community and to the commonwealth that has been so good to us for over the last 70 years,” he said. “We need the help of a research center, especially for training. Dodson Brothers has been blessed with a good customer base and really good team members. We feel the support we got from Virginia Tech faculty over the decades has really helped our company grow and prosper. We are giving back to a great institution that has helped us throughout the years.”

The fund will help further the work of the Dodson Urban Pest Management Laboratory, which was founded in 1988 by a group of Virginia pest management professionals lead by Bert Dodson Sr. The Laboratory’s mission is to create knowledge and provide innovative pest management information to pest management professionals and the public through Virginia Cooperative Extension. The laboratory is dedicated to applied research on urban insect pests and pesticide application tests. It is home to two insect rearing areas and has space for staff and students to conduct research. The lab is part of the Department of Entomology, which is a recognized leader in advancing urban arthropod pest management.

— Written by Zeke Barlow

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