New York State IPM Program

A Tribute to Peter Castronovo

The New York State Integrated Pest Management Program lost a wonderful collaborator and friend recently with the passing of Peter Castronovo.

graphic made with two photos of Pete Castronovo

Dr. Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann, NYSIPM Community IPM Coordinator. “Peter was a dedicated IPM practitioner for the University of Rochester, including Strong Memorial Hospital and the Memorial Art Gallery. He was a reliable colleague and friend to us all. Managing a University/Hospital in the age of bed bugs, along with all other sanitation tasks was never without challenge, but Peter took the time to find and carefully implement the best solutions. His humor and storytelling were often the highlight during our Council meetings, where he regularly traveled across the state to participate for more than twenty years. His talent, advice and kindness will very much be missed. Peter was an avid outdoorsman and a passionate supporter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.”  You can make a donation in his name to this organization here:

Dr. Jennifer Grant, NYSIPM Director. “Peter Castronovo was an amazing professional. We can talk about environmentally sound solutions for managing pests—but Pete had to apply those IPM practices in hundreds of dormitories, classrooms and a prestigious teaching and research hospital. He was always networking, gathering and sharing pest management ideas. He served on several NYSIPM and Cornell advisory committees, and helped select several NYSIPM Directors. Our conversations ranged from bed bugs to yellow jackets and skiing. Peter contributed so much to so many; he is sorely missed.”

photo of Lynn and Pete

Lynn Braband and Pete Castronovo’s friendship extended far beyond their passion for practical pest management.

NYSIPM Community Educator Lynn Braband worked closely with Pete. “Peter was a great collaborator over the years with me and the NYS Integrated Pest Management Program of Cornell University, from bringing his expertise as a speaker in workshops that I organized to assisting in outreach concerning the use of yellowjacket container traps. And he was a good friend. It was less than a month ago that he participated in my virtual retirement party.”

Dr. Amara Dunn, NYSIPM Biocontrol Specialist. “When I was new to the Community IPM team and pest management in and around structures, Peter was friendly and welcoming right from the start. I will miss him!”

photo shows members of the Community IPM council in a meeting room. Photo shows Pete Castronovo closest to the camera

Pete, (closest to the camera) was a major contributor to the state-wide Community IPM Council.

Joellen Lampman, NYSIPM Community IPM Extension Specialist. “Peter was a great at storytelling that helped illustrate his wide range of pest management struggles – many brought on by people. He loved sharing his experiences and solutions and was also open to new ideas and collaborations. He will be sorely missed.”

photo of IPM award paper

Learn more about Pete’s 2007 Excellence in IPM Award

graphic with quote

Dr. Matt Frye, NYSIPM Community IPM Extension Educator. “My first memory of Peter was the extremely warm welcome he offered when I joined the IPM Program. In the years that followed, I got to know Peter during coffee break conversations, and truly enjoyed hearing about his experiences, relayed with enthusiasm and gusto. At professional meetings, Peter’s thoughtful questions and insights were greatly appreciated, and he was a leader among his peers. His absence at Community IPM Coordinating Council meetings and the Food Processing and Pest Management Workshop will be deeply felt.”

photo of group at Bergen swamp

Pete joined IPM staff and collaborators on a tour of what is being done to protect the delicate ecosystem in Bergen Swamp.

Scott Menrath, P.E. Director, Bureau of Pesticides Management, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation “This is very sad and unexpected news. Peter was such a gentleman, so practical and down to earth, and curious to learn about new and different things. He was a constant fixture at Community IPM meetings and always participated and contributed to the group in ways only Peter could. He always had something to say. His stories were amazing and amusing. He made you shake your head and laugh out loud. Most of all you could see and hear how much he cared about IPM, about finding practical solutions to real, daily pest problems in a very large university setting, and above all, about people – the students, faculty and staff he served as well as the larger community. Clearly he will be missed by everyone who knew him.”

Thomas Gallagher, Agricultural Specialist, CCE Albany County. “I will miss Peter at our meetings. I always enjoyed talking with him over lunch or after the meeting He had so much knowledge to share from his many years of experience. My best to his family and our IPM family.”

photo of Pete at work on the U of R campus

Pete on the University of Rochester Campus

John Santacrose, Chair of the Albany County Soil and Water Conservation District (ACSWCD). “This is a tough time for all. He offered his wisdom and knowledge to us in so many ways that will be missed by all. His contributions to all things IPM were immense. My condolences to Peter’s family and all of his friends at the IPM program.”

Dr. Mary Centrella, Director and Educator, Pesticide Management Education Program (PMEP), Cornell Cooperative Extension “What tragic news. I only met Pete briefly, but was struck by his candid and energetic personality, and his colorful stories. My heart goes out to his friends and family.”

Gil Bloom, President of Standard Pest Management, Queens, N.Y.  “A loss to all who knew him and to all those who don’t even realize how much he impacted their health. The meetings will not be the same.”

Susannah Krysko Reese, StopPests in Housing, Northeastern IPM Center. “I had only met him once and that was memorable enough to understand the extent of this loss. Condolences to you all, clearly he was a valued colleague and friend.”

Jim Carpentier, Env. Program Specialist 1, Pesticide Product Registration, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. “Pete certainly was a great guy. Once you met him, you couldn’t forget him! 😊 He will be missed very much.”

This short presentation video includes Lynn and Pete’s interview regarding their valuable success against stinging insect problems. We know you’ll enjoy seeing Pete’s enthusiasm!

For more on how you can support Pete’s memory, see this link to Peter Castronovo’s Obituary

Thank you to all who were able to contribute to this post.

Author: Debra E. Marvin

Community IPM Program Assistant for Schools, Daycare and Horticulture. New York State Integrated Pest Management Program, Cornell University, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, 630 W. North Street, Geneva, NY 14456 Email:

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