Bedbugs, vanishing bees and organic food on the menu for National Pesticide Forum in Aurora

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A job for pesticides?
Our recent feature, "Bug Bedlam," dissected Denver's struggle against the tiny, bloodsucking pests. And how do most people get rid of pests? With pesticides. But there are some who argue that's the wrong approach -- and dangerous. This weekend, they'll gather in Aurora for the 29th annual National Pesticide Forum.

The forum covers lots of topics, from growing organic food to battling invasive plants to the negative effects of pesticides on bee colonies and children. And this year, Beyond Pesticides, the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that hosts the conference, added bedbugs to the list.

"Being that bedbugs are the pest of the year, we've brought in national experts on controlling bedbugs without pesticides," says John Kepner, Beyond Pesticides' project director. Those experts include Changlu Wang, a professor at Rutgers University whose research focuses on the chemical-free killing of bedbugs, as well as Scott Harvey, the owner of Fort Collins-based Envirozone, Inc., a pest management company that uses heat to kill bedbugs -- and guarantees that it will work, 100 percent.

But Harvey isn't the only local speaker at the two-day conference, which will run Friday through Saturday at the Colorado School of Public Health in Aurora. The speakers also include Rella Abernathy, the integrated pest management coordinator for the city of Boulder; Krista Roberts, president of Slow Food Denver; and Marygael Meister, founder of the urban beekeeping group Denver Bee.

The cost to register is $35 ($5 for University of Colorado, Colorado State University and University of Northern Colorado students), but the activities kick off tonight with a free screening of the film Vanishing of the Bees at 7 p.m. at the Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York Street. Watch a trailer below.

We know vanishing bees are bad, but vanishing bedbugs? That would be a blessing.

Vanishing of the Bees - Trailer from Bee The Change on Vimeo.

More from our Follow That Story archives: "Bedbugs: Watch them suck human blood, defecate and have sex (VIDEO)."

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