My Observations of the ACE Exam

I recently completed the exam to become an Associate Certified Entomologist. Many folks claim it is the most difficult test they’ve ever taken. I do feel this test is difficult, but I believe the reason people struggle with it is because it’s a different type of test.

While most exams are a test of KNOWLEDGE, this exam tests your APPLICATION of knowledge. Simple memorization isn’t enough, you’ll need to know the information, then apply it in problem solving scenarios. For pest control operators preparing to take the test, I offer the following advice:

Get a good night sleep

Don’t spend the night obsessing over the names of body parts, different active ingredients or the construction of respirators. Although you will see questions about those topics, the lion’s share of questions will pertain to pest’s habits and characteristics. You’ll need to be mentally sharp, so make sure you’re well rested.

Schedule you test at the best time (If possible)

I often find myself getting drowsy around 1pm – 2pm.

Care to guess when I scheduled my test?

If I needed to take the test again, I’d definitely schedule my test around 8am when my mind is at it’s sharpest.

Be Hydrated

While being self explanatory, I think this tip is highly underrated!

Study the right stuff

You’ll definitely want to spend adequate time with IPM for the Urban Professional: A Study Guide for the Associate Certified Entomologist, but you’ll also want to have a good understanding of 132 pests. If using the NPMA Field Guide to Household Pests, you’ll not only want to focus on the “Characteristics” section, but also the “Habits” and “Control” sections.

Here is a list of the pests and categories that could possibly be included in your test:

BITING AND STINGING (33 Total)
Bed bugs and bat bugs
Yellowjacket wasps
Paper wasps
Mosquitoes
Honey bees
Black widow spiders
Brown recluse spiders
Hornets
Cat fleas
Brown dog ticks
American dog ticks
Scorpions
Wolf spiders
Bumble bees
Black legged tick
Solitary bees
Flesh flies
Mites
Stable flies
Black & yellow mud daubers
Lone star ticks
Sac spiders
Hobo spider and other funnel weaver spiders
Soft ticks
Cicada killers
Ground spiders
Jumping spiders
Organpipe mud dauber
Head louse
Dust mites
Body louse
Crab louse
Chigger mites

FLIES (ORDER DIPTERA) (13 Total)
Small fruit flies
House flies
Lesser house flies
Moth/Drain flies
Phorid flies
Fungus gnats
Blow flies
Cluster flies
Flesh flies
Stable flies
Horse and Deer flies
Small dung flies
Crane flies
Soldier flies

ANTS (FAMILY FORMICIDAE) (14 Total)
Carpenter Ants
Odorous house ants
Red imported fire ants
Pavement ants
Pharaoh ants
Argentine ants
Little Black Ants
Acrobat Ants
Crazy Ants
Ghost Ants (Tapinoma melanocephalum)
White Footed Ants
Big Headed Ants
Field Ants
Harvester Ants

COCKROACHES (ORDER DICTYOPTERA; ALT. BLATTARIA) (9 Total)
German cockroaches
Asian cockroaches
American cockroaches
Brownbanded cockroaches
Smokybrown cockroaches
Oriental cockroaches
Australian cockroaches
Woods cockroaches
Surinam cockroaches

STORED PRODUCT AND FABRIC PESTS (22 Total)
Indian meal moths
Cigarette and drugstore beetles
Carpet/domestic beetles
Clothes moths
Flour beetles Sawtoothed and merchant grain beetles
Warehouse & Cabinet Beetles
Psocids
Rice Weevils and Corn Weevils
Hide and larder beetles
Angoumois Grain Moths
Mediterranean Flour Moths
Foreign Grain Beetle
Plaster Beetles
Spider Beetles
Mealworm Beetles
Dust mites
Bean Weevils
Flat Grain Beetles
Cowpea Weevils
Red Legged Ham Beetles
Cadelles

WOOD DESTROYING INSECTS (12 Total)
Subterranean termites
Carpenter ants
Formosan termites
Carpenter bees
Drywood termites
Lyctine powderpost beetles
Old house borers
Anobiine beetles
Bostrichid (false powderpost) beetles
Long horned beetles
Dampwood termites
Metallic wood boring beetles

OCCASIONAL INVADERS and GENERAL HOUSEHOLD PESTS (20 Total)
Silverfish
Springtails
Earwigs
Brown marmorated stink bugs
Millipedes
Centipedes
Boxelder bugs
Sowbugs and pillbugs
House crickets
Cellar spiders
Multicolored Asian lady beetles
Ground Beetles
Field crickets
Clover mite
Firebrats
Comb footed (cobweb) spiders
Camel (cave) crickets
Thrips
Elm Leaf Beetle
Aquatic Insects Adults

COMMON COMMENSAL PESTS (NON-ARTHROPOD) (8 Total)
House mouse
Norway rat
Roof rat
Pigeon (rock dove)
Deer mouse
English sparrow
European starling
Commensal bats (Chiroptera)