SPN: Landscape Management Tips Before School Starts

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School Gardens

100_2766As August approaches and teachers come back from summer break, the neglected gardens might need some attention and maintenance in preparation for fall planting.  If the area is over grown and herbicides need to be applied, remember that you will need time between making the application and planting.  More importantly under the School IPM rules, you will need to post the area and keep students out of the area for at least 4 hours.

If the gardens plants have been damaged from heat or bugs, it’s important to dispose of them immediately. While heat-damaged plants can be added to compost piles, bug or disease-damaged plants should be pulled from the ground, wrapped in plastic, and disposed of separately to avoid transferring the problem to other plants.   This is especially true if some of your garden plants are rose bushes. Rose rosette disease has recently begun to make resurgence. Botanists have identified the pathogen that infects rose bushes and that it is spread by a tiny, wingless mite. The mites feed on a plant’s sap, transmitting the virus to the bush. Roses die within two to three years. The best solution that has been recommended so far is the removal and complete destruction of an infected rose plant.  I can personally attest that once you have it the best thing to do is remove the infected plants.

Planting fall foods, remember the mulch,  mulch is your friend. Use generous amounts to insulate your fall starters., but also help keep those tender roots cool during the warm days.  Make sure you mulch isn’t too ‘new’, one of the most common mistakes people do with home made compost is placing ‘hot compost’ on the garden plants.  Make sure your compost is on the cool down process so that it doesn’t leach nutrients from the plants.

Many of these plants can be grown in containers that can move as time goes by.

Many of these plants can be grown in containers that can move as time goes by.

Pot herbs, rather than planting them into the ground.  Herbs can survive the winter comfortably from an indoor environment or with greenhouse or in some locations with row covers.  When putting your garden to bed for the winter, pot your herb plants. Place these pots in a sunny, warm window location and consider this an alternative to keep herbs alive all year round.  In Texas our weather can turn soon and suddenly.  While you don’t want your herb plants to experience a freeze, it’s more than okay to keep the potted plants outside until the first frost. This gives them every possible opportunity for direct sunlight and fresh air prior to moving indoors for winter.  You may want to think about a location at the campus where you would want to transition potted plants. Moving plants from outdoors to indoors can also mean bringing in some other invaders like cockroaches, ants, spiders,  or other unwanted visitors who can hid in potted plants.  Be sure to remind teachers and staff about this tip so that you don’t inadvertently bring a pest problem indoors.

Finally, if you have not visited the USDA Community Food Systems web site, I recommend you do! I was recently asked if there were any guidelines on location of school gardens, how can you work with other programs like National School Lunch Program.  Everything you need to know about community gardens can be found here. Using Gardens to Grow Healthy Habits in Cafeterias, Classrooms, and Communities is a great fact sheet for school administrators and IPM Coordinators to review and plan for having a garden now and in the future.

Scouting for turf pests

During the summer Texas Turfgrass Association meeting I heard Dr. Matt Elmore and Dr. Casey Reynolds talk about herbicides and turf pests.  Some of the turf pests they were discussing have some interest to those of you who manage athletic fields but also open areas.

Fall armyworm on bermudagrass, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension photo

Fall armyworm on bermudagrass, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension photo

Fall armyworms are on the move! The armyworm moth flies and mates at night, they migrate like other caterpillar type species.  What typically gives most athletic directors heartburn is when you see a mass of caterpillars covering their turf. Check out this fact sheet from Dr. Reynolds Armyworm gives you good information about this pest and what to do.

Mole crickets if you live  in the piney woods of east Texas this pest could be coming to a field near you.  Mole crickets tend to spend their time underground but adults have wings and disperse in the breeding season.  They mainly feed on roots, but can also each grubs as well. The Aggieturf website has another good fact sheet on this pest.

With all the wet weather we have had this year, you will want to think about getting your Green Category fire ant baits out this August.  Insect growth regulator bait needs time to get out, be picked up by the ants, and taken back into the colony. There are many options for managing various kinds of fire ant problems. When using pesticides, use only products labeled for the location or “site” you want to treat. For instance, DO NOT use a product in your vegetable garden unless that site is listed on the label. Many combinations of control options are available, and there may be no single best method.  Fire Ants and the Texas IPM in Schools Program is a comprehensive document outlining a solid fire ant management program for all school settings.

Ticks to look out for – by southern states

American Dog Tick_TAMUtickapp

Written by: Rosemary Hallberg, Communication Specialist, Southern IPM Center

Even though nearly all media attention is on mosquitoes this summer, most people fear ticks more. At A Bug Day in Gastonia in May, I talked to several people who weren’t as worried about mosquitoes as they were about ticks. Perhaps that’s because ticks attach to a person and hang on for a while.

If a tick bites you or someone in your family, you’re probably going to go to the doctor’s office. And what is the doctor going to ask? Probably what kind of tick bit you! Each tick transmits a different pathogen, so it’s important to know which species of tick bit you. That will help the doctor determine what to treat you for.

However, that’s sometimes easier said than done! Ticks are very small, and most times they look alike. If they’re engorged, they look very different from the pictures of flat ticks. You could also be spending a lot of time trying to identify the tick, and your health care provider may not have any better luck identifying it.

There are about 20 different tick species in the US; however, many of them do not attack humans. Many of them, such as the American dog tick, have a wide geographic range. Others, like the western blacklegged tick, live in a very specific area.
If you knew what ticks you might be dealing with, wouldn’t that speed up your chances for identification? For instance, if you live in Virginia, what are your chances of being bitten by a Gulf Coast tick? If you live in Florida, do you have to worry about Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever?

The CDC has several maps that give a general idea of the range of the seven most common ticks. To make things even clearer, I’m going to list the tick species by state, along with the diseases that they transmit, at least for the southern United States. The links on the states will bring you to a page with more information from that state about the ticks and the diseases they transmit.

The list below contains the most common ticks in each state, not every single tick species in the state. Be sure to take a sample of the tick that you find when you go to the doctor.

For large pictures of many of these ticks, go to identify.us.com . That web site also has more detailed information about the life stages of each tick species as well.

North Carolina

American Dog Tick_TAMUtickapp

 

 

American dog tick
Credit: TAMU Tickapp

American dog tick: Most common in the Piedmont area. Transmits Rocky Mountain spotted fever but NOT Lyme disease.

 

browndogtick_UF

Brown dog tick, photo credit University of Florida

Brown dog tick: Rarely attacks people but is common on dogs. They like to climb up draperies and walls. They’re found throughout the country, so you’ll encounter them wherever you go. Transmits Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

 

 

 

 

 

Lonestartick_OSULone star tick, male and female
Credit: Oklahoma State University

Lone Star tick: These attack people, deer and dogs. Adults and nymphs are around in the spring and summer; the larvae are out in the fall. It can be found mostly in the coastal plain but is also found in the piedmont. The larvae, called seed ticks, prefer humans. These ticks cause Southern Tick Associated Rash Infection, or STARI. The Lone Star tick also causes erhlichiosis.


blacklegged tick_CDC

blacklegged tick, female, male and previous life stages
Credit: Centers for Disease Control

Blacklegged tick: Adults attack dogs and deer. Also known as the deer tick. Adults are active in late fall, spring and early winter. Transmits Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis and Powassan disease.

 

South Carolina

Same species as in North Carolina.

Georgia

Lone Star tick: This is the most common tick species in Georgia, according to entomologists.

American dog tick: Feeds on humans only in the adult stage. For more on this and the blacklegged tick, see the web page on ticks at Georgia.edu.

Blacklegged tick

Alabama

Same species as in North and South Carolina.

gulf coast tick_tickinfo

Gulf coast tick
Tickinfo.com

Gulf Coast tick: This tick is also present in the Southeast closer to the coast but is more widely prevalent in Alabama. Adult ticks feed on deer. This tick transmits Rickettsia parkeri rickettsiosis, a form of spotted fever.

 

Florida

Brown dog tick, American dog tick, Lone Star tick, Gulf coast tick and blacklegged tick

Louisiana

Blacklegged tick: In Louisiana, this tick feeds on reptiles, so it does not transmit Lyme disease.

Gulf Coast tick: Larvae and nymphs feed on birds and small rodents, while adults feed on deer and other wildlife.

Lone star tick

American dog tick

Brown dog tick

Mississippi

The Mississippi tick publication has detailed descriptions of the common diseases transmitted by ticks. It contains descriptions of symptoms as well as the ticks that these diseases are associated with.

Blacklegged tick: They will appear as adults in fall, winter and early spring.

Lone star tick: Appear as adults in early spring and summer, nymphs in spring and late summer and larvae in fall.

Gulf Coast tick: Appear as adults in late spring and summer.

American dog tick: Appear as adults in late spring, summer and fall.

Brown dog tick: Appear in summer but bite dogs but not people.

Texas

In addition to the tick species in the rest of the South, watch for (all images from TAMU tick app):

cayennetick

Cayenne tick

Cayenne tick: This tick is cold-sensitive but can sometimes be found in southern Florida. They have very long mouthparts, so a bite can be painful and can cause tissue damage. Transmit Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and rickettsia south of the US border.

 

tropical horse tick_tickappTropical horse tick

Tropical horse tick: Found only in the southernmost edges of Texas and Florida. Primary host is equine but they also feed on deer and other farm animals. Transmits equine proplasmosis to horses.

 

 

cattletick_tickappCattle tick

Cattle tick: Found in a few counties along the Rio Grande Valley and in Mexico. Its primary host is cattle, to which it can transmit Texas cattle fever. It does not usually attack humans. It is a regulated species.

 

 

southerncattletickSouthern cattle tick

Southern cattle tick: Found only in the southernmost tip of Texas and in northern Mexico. Primary host is cattle, but it will also feed on other mammals. It is a regulated species.

 

 

wintertickWinter tick

Winter tick: Commonly called the “moose tick” because moose are its primary host. However, it will also feed on domestic animals and people if given the opportunity. It is a one host tick, completing its entire life cycle on a single host. Causes anaplasmosis in cattle.

 

spinoseeartickSpinose ear tick

Spinose ear tick: A soft tick, this species is distributed throughout the US. Farm and wild animals are its primary hosts, but it will also feed on people. It is found in the ear canals of its host, hence the name. There are no known pathogens associated with this tick.

 

 

 

Oklahoma

The link above goes to a publication with detailed descriptions of each tick species and about the diseases that are common from ticks in Oklahoma.

Class Aracnida, Order Acarina, fowl tick dorsal side  Class Aracnida, Order Acarina, fowl tick dorsal side Class Aracnida, Order Acarina, fowl tick dorsal side, AgriLife Extension

Fowl tick: Feeds on chickens. Feeds primarily during the day, and can live for years without feeding. This is a soft tick.

Spinose ear tick: More common in cattle, horses and other animals in Oklahoma, but sometimes feeds on humans.

Blacklegged tick: Does not transmit Lyme disease in Oklahoma because it doesn’t feed on mice.

Winter tick: An important pest of cattle, deer, horses and elk in Oklahoma. It is the only one-host tick in the state. It becomes very large when engorged, so it’s easily seen on animals.

American dog tick: Are a serious pest in wooded areas. It is the only known vector of Rocky Mountain Spotted fever in Oklahoma. It also transmits bovine anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis.

Lone star tick: This tick is the most commonly encountered tick recreationally in the state. It transmits several diseases, including ehrlichiosis, STARI, Heartland virus and Rickettsia.

Gulf coast tick: has become more of a problem in Oklahoma in the past several years. Its primary host is cattle and can cause tick paralysis in cattle and humans.

Kentucky

American dog tick: One of the primary tick species in Kentucky, not a vector of Lyme disease.

Lone star tick: can transmit Rocky Mountain Spotted fever.

NOTE: despite the fact that the two most common tick species in Kentucky do not transmit Lyme disease, there have been cases of Lyme disease in the state.

Tennessee

American dog tick: This and the Lone star tick are the two most common ticks in the state.

Lone star tick: This and the American dog tick are the two most common ticks in the state.

Brown dog tick: Usually found in places where dogs live in spring and summer months.

Virginia

American dog tick: Transmits Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Tularemia on the east coast.

Lone star tick: This is the most common tick in the state.

Blacklegged tick: Primary host is white-tailed deer.

Brown dog tick

SPN: Summer Tips for IPM

This floor drain is an example of what wax build up can look like and how it can hamper water flow, which allows for cockroaches to move in.

Summer in Texas means high temps and high humidity, it also means schools are busy cleaning, repairing and preparing for the next school year. For many of you this means several projects at once and can be overwhelming. This summer tips are ways you can share with your fellow summer school employees how they can help your IPM/IAQ program while you work this summer.

This floor drain is an example of what wax build up can look like and how it can hamper water flow, which allows for cockroaches to move in.

This floor drain is an example of what wax build up can look like and how it can hamper water flow, which allows for cockroaches to move in.

Floor Drains – These are the nastiest places on school campuses, especially when floor drain covers have been repeatedly waxed and little or no water can go down the drain. In food prep areas, kitchen and culinary art room’s floors are washed down but the food doesn’t make it down the drain and builds up by the drain guards. No matter the problem, floor drains need to be maintained in order to keep American cockroaches, drain flies, and other small pests from moving in. Here are some tips to think about this summer:

  • Install trap guards – these rubberized gaskets slip into the top of the drain, they allow water and debris to go down, but once that has happened there is a flap that doesn’t allow for anything to come back up. The trick here is to make sure that the cover plates for the drains have enough openings to flush water through.
  • Clean the drains – there are a number of drain enzyme cleaners that can help with eliminating organic matter build up. Floor drains can become a harborage for food borne illnesses, flies and roaches can spread these pathogens, just as power washing and splashing that organic matter all over the kitchen. Bleach is not a good alternative as well, you need a substance that will stick to the organic build up and help break down and allow it to go out with other grey water materials.
  • Repair the drains – in our ever shifting soils in Texas (and other places as well) plumbing fixtures move. This movement can be as simple as an escutcheon
    Small places that can lead to pest problems

    Small places that can lead to pest problems

    plate coming loose, to drain pipes sinking and pulling away from toilet fixtures. If you are constantly seeing a specific pest in an area and you are not finding a solution, consider a full plumbing inspection. Drain flies, springtails, American cockroaches can all be indicators of a moisture issue, don’t just assume they will go away without a proper inspection.

Classroom cleaning – the practice of pulling everything out of the classroom and cleaning that area is something not every school system does. Depending on staff and budgets, depends on how much this extra deep cleaning can be done. No matter the staff or location, clutter removal and organization is important to the IPM and IAQ program. Here are some tips while staff is cleaning to be on the lookout for:

Even storing the simplest of products can lead to problems.

Even storing the simplest of products can lead to problems.

  • Large amounts of sawdust, dirt, or shredded paper – when furniture is moved and areas are exposed for cleaning (now easy to inspect) remind staff to be on the lookout for odd signs of pests. Moving a cabinet and finding what appears to be sawdust or lots of black specks could be evidence of ants, termites, cockroaches or even mice. Take pictures to document, have the area cleaned up and monitor for pests. Not reporting this type of evidence can hide a small pest problem that could turn into something major later on.
  • Cardboard and paper – even with technology schools still have a large quantity of paper and cardboard boxes to store that paper. Kitchens, concession stands, staff support rooms, and classrooms all collect a lot of paper, books, teaching supplies and other items that can be used and reused. However, storing in cardboard or keeping large amounts of paper out and on walls can lead to future pest problems. Silverfish, cockroaches (all species), ants, mice, and mold can thrive with a good paper source, just add a little humidity for moisture and you have the perfect conditions for a variety of pests to survive. At the same time, large amounts of clutter can also contribute to dust, dust mites which can trigger asthma and allergy systems. Instead of keeping all this paper and cardboard, encourage reducing, recycling and storing in plastic storage containers. Those plastic bins can be easily moved and classroom items can easily be labeled so that anyone can find items but not have to look at a large mess as well.
    • But what about cost for those containers – check with your local big box stores, hardware stores and others, many companies have grants or scholarships that school districts can apply for that would cover the expense of purchasing the containers. Then use your parent volunteer groups to help campuses get organized – you can DYI it with parents and students to make it more fun.

Outdoors – during the summer, the focus outdoors is keeping lawns mowed, athletic fields maintained and working on landscape projects that can only be done when students are not present. inspectingHowever, when no one is around the campus, this is a chance for wasps, yellowjackets, bees, birds and bats to move in.

  • Take a walk – need to get your steps in? You could start an entire fitness campaign using IPM by just walking the exterior of a campus.
    Outdoor lighting can harbor bird nests, wasp nests and other spiders.

    Outdoor lighting can harbor bird nests, wasp nests and other spiders.

    Don’t rely on your pest control contractor to be the only person walking around the exterior of your school campuses, enlist the help of campus staff during the summer. Each campus has some staff around during the summer, talk to the campus principal about appointing someone to be on the lookout for those nests showing up. The time to react to the pest problem is early not in late August when staff and students are back in session.

  • Bait for ants – with all the spring rains all ant species will be out this summer, not just at your 4th of July picnic. When temperatures go above 90 degrees during the day and the overnight low is low 80’s or high 70’s baiting for ants becomes challenging. However, if you don’t want to spend your fall months answering calls and complaints about ants, work a plan to bait later this summer in the early mornings. Green category baits will take a few weeks to work, so you want to time your applications so that the bait has had time to work before students are back on campus. Depending on your work schedule and where you are located, you can also bait in the evenings after the sun has started to set so the bait is out during the cool of the evening. When it is really hot ants will come out during the night hours to forage for food or cool of the morning.
  • Mosquito management – watch for those areas that water can collect and become stagnant. If you can’t eliminate those areas, then do use Bt Dunks, granules, or mosquito fish (ponds) so that mosquitoes don’t have a chance to breed. Do be sure to stress the importance of the 4 – D’s: Drain, Dress, Dusk, and DEET to all your co-workers. It’s important that all employees understand that you can prevent mosquito bites by taking the right precautions. Share this interactive website with your co-workers so they can learn more about mosquitoes. http://mosquitosafari.tamu.edu/

 

This fine mesh suit will keep you cool, but mosquito free.

This fine mesh suit will keep you cool, but mosquito free.

Want a safe way to be outside and not get bitten? Check out these mosquito suits, its fine mesh netting that fits like a jacket and pants; you can be covered from head to toe. For a grounds person working in a marshy area this would be ideal.

Remember IPM is everyone’s responsibility it takes everyone in the school district to have a successful IPM program. There is no “I” in IPM it’s all about TEAM. Have a wonderful summer. TX School IPM Team.

Want to share this will your school staff – download this flyer and feel free to print and distribute.  SPN_Summercleaningtips

SPN: Online pest risk school IPM tool helps schools locate pest problems

inspecting

A new online pest risk evaluation tool will help school integrated pest management (IPM) coordinators around the country assess what pest problems exist in their school and where they are. The tool is featured in an article in the Journal of Extension.

inspectingAdoption of IPM in a school often happens reluctantly, after IPM practices are mandated or after numerous reports of pests in the school. Many schools contract with pest control companies to do a monthly treatment, but results can be uneven if the source of the pest problem is not addressed.

Some schools have access to expert assessment of pest problems, but not all of them use it, and many don’t have the budget for it if it is not freely available.

To address the accessibility issue, a group of school IPM specialists from Texas created an IPM Calculator to highlight pest problems in a school. The Calculator consists of a survey that can be taken online at http://ipmcalculator.com. Users can evaluate several school buildings and compare them. Questions cover pest issues on the outside as well as the inside of the building.

The Calculator assesses pest risk for 18 key pests within 34 building features and maintenance practices. Once the survey is completed, the calculator produces two scores: one for current pest risk and the other for potential pest risk. Potential pest risk is an estimate of what pests might be problems in the future, based on the building condition, sanitation and maintenance practices, and major pests in that region.

Scores are based on the health and economic risks of pests present in the building, so the presence of German cockroaches—with a high health risk—would yield a higher risk score than the presence of ants.

Evaluations in 43 individual school buildings in Alabama, California, Florida, Louisiana, Maine and Texas showed that the scores from the IPM Calculator were only 5 percentage points lower than school IPM Extension specialist scores for the same buildings.

“Most IPM Coordinators were already aware of the score that their building was going to receive,” says Janet Hurley, School IPM Extension Program Specialist at Texas A&M AgriLife and one of the authors of the article. “However, they were surprised at where the problems were located. The Calculator pointed out areas that they weren’t previously aware of.”

Identifying potential and current problems helps with setting goals for the IPM program.

Identifying potential and current problems helps with setting goals for the IPM program.

Recommendations generated by the Calculator often include repairs that are inexpensive. Often the Calculator identifies human habits that are causing pest problems, such as clutter or poor cleaning practices in a classroom.

“When we used the Calculator on John McDonogh High School in New Orleans, the Calculator identified the areas that needed to be fixed,” says Hurley. “It’s hard to keep rats out of a building when there are no window panes on the windows.”

School IPM experts like Hurley and her colleagues at other land-grant universities love the tool because it gives school facilities managers more independence in assessing their pest problems.
“It helps them identify problems so they can spend their money more wisely,” Hurley says. “Not only does it identify where sources of pest problems are, but it also points out other indoor air quality problems.”

This research was funded by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and a Southern IPM Center IPM Enhancement grant.

Read more:
Bennett, B., Hurley, J., and Merchant, M. (April 2016) An integrated pest management tool for evaluating schools. Journal of Extension, 54:2

Penn State and Philadelphia schools fight pests that trigger asthma

AgriLife Logo
Since 1980, the biggest growth in asthma cases has been in children under 5.

Since 1980, the biggest growth in asthma cases has been in children under 5.

Asthma is a chronic lung disease affecting ten percent of school-aged children in the United States. In Philadelphia, this number jumps to almost 25 percent, and in some neighborhoods, nearly 50 percent of school-aged children have been diagnosed. The Pennsylvania Integrated Pest Management (PA IPM) program — a collaboration between the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture — is partnering with the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) to reduce asthma triggers in schoolchildren by preventing pests, including mice and cockroaches, from entering schools.

“Asthma can limit physical activity, and is the number one reason for school absenteeism Nationwide,” said Michelle Niedermeier, community IPM coordinator for PA IPM. “While asthma cannot be cured, it can be controlled with medication and by avoiding common triggers such as tobacco smoke, mold, cockroaches, and mice. School buildings that can be easily penetrated by mice and other pests might be a contributing factor to this high incidence of asthma.”

According to Niedermeier, an asthma attack can be triggered by a protein found in mouse urine. “Mice are ubiquitous; they pee all the time, so there are urine droplets everywhere they’ve been,” she said. To help alleviate this problem, PA IPM is helping the school district educate staff and students about asthma triggers. They also are assisting with SDP’s rodent reduction campaign via the door sweep initiative, to keep pests out of buildings.

“Cockroaches and mice often come in the same way we do — through the front door,” said Niedermeier. “If there’s a big gap at the bottom of the door, they can just walk in, even though the door is closed.”

Niedermeier and her colleague, Dion Lerman, environmental health programs specialist for PA IPM, assisted with the inspection

Doors with a gap of a 1/4 inch or more can allow mice and cockroaches in.

Doors with a gap of a 1/4 inch or more can allow mice and cockroaches in.

of schools’ exterior doors and helped to develop a strategy for selecting the most appropriate and effective door sweeps. Lerman also created a video  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eozbRdZbKB8&feature=youtube) to teach district facilities staff members how to properly install the door sweeps. So far, SDP has installed about 1,500 new door sweeps in its buildings.

“This initiative already has been preventing pests from entering schools underneath exterior doors,” said Francine Locke, director of environmental services at the School District of Philadelphia.

As a land-grant university, part of Penn State’s role is to help Pennsylvania’s communities to implement research findings and best practices. “The SDP, like many across the U.S., has pest issues and kids with asthma, and by lending our expertise we can help alleviate some of the risk factors. The door sweeps are a good first step in preventing the pest from becoming a problem,” said Niedermeier.

“The School District of Philadelphia has learned from PA IPM that the pest management chemicals used to address pests in schools may sometimes be more harmful in terms of toxicity, carcinogenicity and respiratory irritants than the pests themselves,” said Locke. “Our IPM program is strategic in terms of how we identify pests in schools, how they are entering a building, the environmental conditions in schools that promote pests and the many different district departments and operations that could affect pests in terms of creating conditions that attract pests. The support and technical guidance of PA IPM has been extremely helpful in guiding our district to healthy and safe ways to prevent and address pests in schools.”

In addition to the partnership that PA IPM has built with the SDP, it also works with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the American Lung Association via the Pennsylvania Asthma Partnership, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Community Asthma Prevention Program and other organizations and agencies to address asthma-related issues. They aim to carry out the mission of World Asthma Day: to encourage the identification of allergens and irritants that can lead to asthma attacks, and to create asthma action plans for minimizing these irritants as well as other topics, with the goal of improving asthma awareness and care. World Asthma Day is being celebrated this year on May 3rd.

For more information about World Asthma Day, go to http://worldasthmaday.org/. For more information about PAIPM in Philadelphia, go to http://extension.psu.edu/pests/ipm/community

New turfgrass handbook available through AgriLife Extension

Crabgrass from top

Homeowners and professional turfgrass managers now have a new Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service publication available to help them when selecting herbicides, insecticides and fungicides to control common turfgrass pests.

Weed, Insect, and Disease Control in Turfgrass was authored by AgriLife Extension turfgrass specialists Dr. Casey Reynolds, College Station; Dr. Matt Elmore, Dallas; and Dr. Young-Ki Jo, College Station; as well as Diane Silcox Reynolds, a postdoctoral research associate.

Image of Dallisgrass from the top

Image of Dallisgrass from the top

“It’s a pretty extensive document that I think will be useful to those managing turf in Texas,” Reynolds said. “In addition to providing information such as the common and trade names, application rates and intervals and mode of action, we’ve included notes and cautions throughout to help you improve control and learn about restricted-use pesticides, use sites, turfgrass tolerance and other issues of importance.”

Reynolds said the 120-page guide will be useful for anyone responsible for maintaining athletic, golf course, landscape, recreational or utility turfgrasses.

The document can be found in the publications section of AggieTurf, the Texas A&M turfgrass program’s website: https://aggieturf.tamu.edu/publications/.

For more information on this publication or other AgriLife Extension turfgrass programs, contact Reynolds at casey.reynolds@tamu.edu.

SPN: How to obtain a pesticide applicator license in Texas

Use the hand held spreader/seeder for baits that are applied at very low rates such as one to five pounds of product per acre.

There seems to be a lot of confusion buzzing around schools these days on who can apply pesticides. First only licensed applicators can make ANY type of pesticide application – even “organic” solutions for pest/weed control is considered a pesticide.  The Texas Department of Agriculture has required that only licensed applicators and technicians make applications on schools, childcare centers, or educational institutions since the mid-1980s.

Use the hand held spreader/seeder for baits that are applied at very low rates such as one to five pounds of product per acre.

Even if you use the hand held spreader/seeder for baits that are applied at very low rates, you need to have a pesticide license in TX to make these types of applications on all educational properties.

Although certification is not required for IPM Coordinators in Texas and other states, it’s an option that many are choosing. Certification is a decision that must be based on your own circumstances. This School Pest News article and webpage is designed to help you understand the issues involved and find the resources you need.

A certified applicator (CA) is someone who is licensed by the state to apply pesticides. In Texas, only certified applicators and licensed technicians can conduct pest control services on school and child care facilities. In Texas, a school district or child care employee can be licensed as a non-commercial applicator, a less expensive option. A non-commercial applicators license does not require a business license, but does require training.

To learn more about Texas Pesticide Applicator Licensing please follow this link http://schoolipm.tamu.edu/pesticide-applicator-information/how-to-obtain-a-license/ 

Texas Department of Agriculture, P.O. Box 12847, Austin, Texas 78711
1-800-TELL-TDA or (512) 463-7622 www.TexasAgriculture.gov
For the hearing impaired: Relay Texas 1-800-735-2988 (voice) or 1-800-735-2989 (TDD)
Structural Pest Control Service – 866-918-4481 www.TexasAgriculture.gov/spcs/
Agricultural Pesticide Certification and Compliance – (512) 463-7622

SPN: Mosquitoes and Zika Virus

The larval stage of the mosquito is aquatic. The larvae are legless and spend a majority of time at the surface of the water. The larval stage is commonly referred to as “wriggler” or “wiggler”, due to the lashing movements of the abdomen that move them forward, backward, or sideways in the water.

Mosquitoes  By: Wizzie Brown, Extension Program Specialist III – IPM

The Aedes albopictus or Asian tiger mosquito (shown here) is one of the two mosquito species known to commonly transmit chikungunya. The other is Aedes aegypti. Both species are found in Texas. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Mike Merchant

The Aedes albopictus or Asian tiger mosquito (shown here) is one of the two mosquito species known to commonly transmit chikungunya. The other is Aedes aegypti. Both species are found in Texas. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Mike Merchant

Mosquitoes are a hot news item currently, especially those transmitting a new virus….Zika. (At the end of this article you will find a handout designed to help you educate others about Zika.) Mosquitoes can transmit various diseases to humans and animals such as heartworm in dogs and cats, as well as encephalitis (including West Nile Virus), Chikungunya, dengue, yellow fever, malaria and filariasis among humans.

Aedes mosquitoes transmit diseases such as Zika virus, Chikungunya, yellow fever and dengue. These mosquitoes are found in Texas and are active during the day. Most people don’t consider protecting themselves from mosquitoes except at dawn and dusk, so please, protect yourself when outdoors and educate your students/teachers. These mosquitoes are common in backyards and hatch eggs in containers and other areas where small amounts of water are found. (Remember these houses surround your schools.)

The larval stage of the mosquito is aquatic. The larvae are legless and spend a majority of time at the surface of the water. The larval stage is commonly referred to as “wriggler” or “wiggler”, due to the lashing movements of the abdomen that move them forward, backward, or sideways in the water.

The larval stage of the mosquito is aquatic. The larvae are legless and spend a majority of time at the surface of the water. The larval stage is commonly referred to as “wriggler” or “wiggler”, due to the lashing movements of the abdomen that move them forward, backward, or sideways in the water.

Female mosquitoes require a blood meal for egg production; males feed on nectar and do not bite. Eggs can be laid on the surface of water or in dry

locations that are flooded by water. Some eggs are able to remain dormant under dry conditions for several months. Eggs hatch into larvae, or wigglers. Mosquito larvae live in water and feed on organic debris or microscopic plants and animals. Larvae molt into pupae which do not feed. Mosquito pupae spend the majority of their time at the surface of the water, only moving when disturbed.

Work with your District to carry out an integrated mosquito management plan. You will need to eliminate all sources of standing water. Containers such as watering cans, buckets, tire swings, birdbaths, bottles, and other items can turn into mosquito breeding grounds. Standing water should be drained at least once a week. Tree holes should be filled with sand or expanding foam, or drained after each rain. Leaky faucets and pipes located outside should be repaired. Rainwater collection systems should be sealed so mosquitoes cannot enter and lay eggs.

Any temporary body of water that is present for more than a week can be a mosquito breeding habitat.

Any temporary body of water that is present for more than a week can be a mosquito breeding habitat.

Areas that cannot be drained, such as ponds, can be stocked with fish that eat mosquito larvae. Products containing Bacillus thuringiensis israeliensis can also be used in these areas. This active ingredient disrupts the life cycle of the mosquito and is non-toxic to humans, amphibians and fish. Dunks are not for use in drinking water sources.

Encourage students, teachers and outdoor workers to wear loose-fitting, light colored clothing with long sleeves & long pants when outside. Also, encourage using mosquito repellents, below are some suggestions about repellents.

Repellent Quick Tips

  • Repellent should only be applied to clothing and ex-posed skin.
  • Do not apply repellent underneath clothing!
  • If you want to apply repellent to your face, spray your hands with repellent and rub it onto your face.
  • Do not spray repellent directly into your face or near eyes or mouth.
  • Make sure to apply repellent outdoors.
  • Do not allow small children to handle repellents.
  • After applying repellent, wash hands before eating, smoking or using the restroom

Mosquito Repellents

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends using a product registered with the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) containing one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535 and some of the products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus.

DEET, also known N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide or N,N-diemethylbenzamide, was developed by the U.S. Army in 1946 to protect soldiers in insect-infested areas. Pesticides containing DEET have been used by the general public since 1957. Products containing DEET should not be used on children younger than 2 months of age. DEET has a slight odor and may have a greasy feel to some people. It may damage plastic, rubber, vinyl or synthetic fabrics. DEET may be irritating to the eyes and skin for some people. DEET comes in a wide variety of concentrations, so choose the one that will work best for your situation.

Mosquito repellents come in all shapes and sizes.

Mosquito repellents come in all shapes and sizes.

Picaridin was first made in the 1980’s and resembles a natural compound called piperine (which is found in plants used to produce black pepper). Picardin has been used in Europe and Australia for many years, but has only been in the U.S. since 2005. Picaridin is non-greasy and odorless.

IR3535, or 3-[N-Butyl-N- acetyl]-aminopropionic acid, ethyl ester, was developed in the mid- 1970’s and became registered for use in the U.S. in 1999. It is registered as a biopesticide by the EPA because it is function-ally identical to a naturally occurring substance (an amino-acid). It may dissolve or damage plastics and may be irritating to the eyes.

Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or PMD (para-menthane-3, 8-diol) are essentially the same thing; PMD is the synthesized (lab created) version of oil of lemon eucalyptus. “Pure” or “essential” oil of lemon eucalyptus is not labeled as a repellent and has not undergone testing and should not be used as a repellent product. OLE/PMD has been on the market in the U.S. since 2002. OLE/PMD should not be used on children younger than 3 years of age. The natural product (OLE) has known allergens within it while the synthetic version (PMD) has less of a risk to allergens. This product is classified as a biopesticide. OLE/PMD has a varying range of residual, some offering about 20 minutes of protection while other products may last up to two hours.

  • Many factors play into how long a repellent will last for a person. Some of these are:
    The concentration (or percent of active ingredient) of the product. You can find the percentage on the product label.
  • Person’s attractiveness. Some people are more attractive to mosquitoes than others (and no scientific research has proven that it is because of eating garlic, taking vitamin B, using tobacco products, etc.). A person’s genetic code plays a large part on what makes a person so attractive to mosquitoes.
  • Frequency and uniformity of application. In other words, how often is the repellent applied and how good of coverage did you get? Activity level of the person. The more active the person is, the more sweat they produce which can cause the repellent to wash off the surface of the skin.

For More Information on the Zika Virus and mosquito management, fire ants and the upcoming programs in Bexar County Extension follow this link for Bexar County Extension newsletter:  HERE

What Texans need to know about Zika virus (PDF Flyer to help educate all Texans)

WHO_ZikaVirus_SituationReportMarch2016 (PDF)

Mosquitoes and Diseases They Transmit (PDF)

Crabgrass Germination Advice for Homeowners

These small sprigs is crabgrass sprouting in early spring
These small sprigs is crabgrass sprouting in early spring

These small sprigs are crabgrass sprouting in early spring

Given the warm temperatures in North Texas, Dr. Matt Elmore, sent out a note today alerting us that NOW is the time to treat for crabgrass! I thought this was good information for all our readers, even for those of you who are not in north TX. I have heard about forsythia bush being a guide to planting but never, thought of it as a guide for herbicide applications, great tip from Matt!

With soil temperatures rising to the upper 50s and low 60s this week and we may see crabgrass germination very soon, especially if we get rain this weekend. Now is a great time to apply pre-emergent herbicides. Chad Gulley, Smith County Extension Agent – Agriculture and Natural Resource sent Dr. Elmore a photo of a forsythia plant starting to bloom. Matt recommends homeowners and other turf personnel apply pre-emergent herbicides soon. See the aggieturf link and this image (upper left) to see what germinating crabgrass looks like. When looking for seedlings, scout (walk) south-facing slopes, bare areas, and areas along sidewalks for crabgrass. I personally will say, check your bare spots and weak areas in your lawn that is typically where I start to see the growth.

General Information

Crabgrass germination typically occurs in late winter (February to mid-March), but varies from year to year, based on temperature, rainfall, and location. Crabgrass germination usually begins when the soil temperature at a 2-inch depth reaches 55°F for at least 3 days. Since crabgrass is the first summer annual grassy weed to germinate we apply pre-emergence herbicides based on its germination.

Forsythia Lynwood Gold shrub,

Forsythia Lynwood Gold shrub,

The forsythia (Forsythia spp.) plant can be used to time preemergence herbicide application. Make pre-emergence applications when forsythia is in full bloom (their yellow flowers are usually among the first plants to bloom). Forsythia plants are more prevalent in East Texas—they are rare in West Texas.

Sometimes referred to as “pre” herbicides, preemergence herbicides must be applied before the target weed geminates or emerges, or they will not control it. Although these herbicides are commonly used to control annual weeds that germinate at predictable times of year, and will not control perennial weeds. A couple tips for pre-emergence herbicides.

Selecting a Product

A pre-emergence herbicide is the most effective way to control crabgrass. They are especially recommended for lawns with a history of crabgrass problems.

Common active ingredients found on products available to homeowners include pendimethalin, dithiopyr, and prodiamine. Trade names for these products include but are not limited to: Pre-M, Bonide Crabgrass Preventer and Halts Crabgrass Preventer. Pre-emergence herbicides that contain these active ingredients will usually provide suitable crabgrass control when applied before crabgrass germination and according to the product label. These products mostly control grassy weeds, although they may control some broadleaf weeds. Always check to ensure that the product can be safely used on the turfgrass species in your lawn.  To see what is recommended for athletic fields and commercial uses check out this Pre_emergement_handout (PDF File).  It highlights preemergence herbicides labeled for control of grassy (crabgrass, goosegrass, annual bluegrass, etc.) and small-seeded broadleaf weeds (such as purslane, spurge, chickweed).

Many pre-emergence products that contain dithiopyr are labeled for early post-emergence control of small (seedling) crabgrass plants. This includes products such as Bonide Crabgrass and Weed Preventer.

Consider using these products if you cannot make the application before germination and check the label to ensure it contains dithiopyr and is labeled for early post-emergence control.

Corn gluten meal is an organic option for crabgrass control. Research has demonstrated that crabgrass control with this product is inconsistent but it may be effective in some situations.

It is best to select a pre-emergence product that does not contain nitrogen fertilizer. Companies that distribute products nationally as crabgrass preventers have products that come with nitrogen. While these products may be suitable for northern regions of the U.S. they should not be used in Texas. Warm-season grasses are still mostly dormant when crabgrass germinate and nitrogen fertilizer should not be applied until the lawn is mostly green.

Unlike “Weed and Feed” products that will control broadleaf weeds and should not be applied around tree drip lines, pre-emergence herbicides are usually safe for use around trees and ornamentals. Products that contain atrazine are one exception. Some are labeled for use over the top of ornamentals.

Reading the Pesticide LabelAlways read the product label thoroughly for use restrictions.

Pre-emergence herbicides are effective only if they are applied uniformly and are watered into the soil by rainfall or irrigation before the crabgrass or other target weed emerges. See the product label for information on the amount of irrigation or rainwater needed.

Recent or upcoming renovations and severely damaged lawns.

After they are watered in, the herbicide molecules remain in the upper layer of soil and control and weeds or desirable grasses that germinate from seed for several weeks. If you plan to seed or sod, do not apply a pre-emergence herbicide without first checking the label for the appropriate reseeding/sodding interval.

Also, do not apply some pre-emergence herbicides before sprigging or sodding. If you are planning this type of turf renovation, use other weed-control options. In general, apply these herbicides only to well-established turfgrass. See the product label if you have established turf from sod, seed, or sprigs within the previous year. Many pre-emergence herbicides will impede encroachment of existing turfgrass into areas damaged by winterkill, traffic, or diseases. Do not use pre-emergence herbicides if your lawn has been severely damaged.

Finally, here is a video that explains some of what is discussed above.

Need specific help, feel free to contact our turfgrass specialists you can find them at the Aggie Turf page https://aggieturf.tamu.edu/turfgrass-faculty/

A special thank you to Dr. Matt Elmore,  Assistant Professor and Extension Turfgrass Specialist, AgriLife Extension for this information.

SPN: Glue boards

sampling

Monitoring versus control, what you need to know when servicing food areas

One of the key components of an IPM program is monitoring. Using some type of glue device that captures pests as they move around an indoor environment is essential.

IMG_5224In most building settings, the building envelop is not sealed adequately to keep pests like ants, crickets, spiders, and occasionally mice out. At the same time, in certain areas, monitoring is the only way to know if you have a pest problem.

 

Monitoring is using visual and manual observations to observe trends and changes in pest activity inspectionover time (sampling).  Visual observations include inspections which goes beyond looking at a pest log, visual observations require you to look high and low to see if there are evidence of pests.

pesttriangleAll pests need food, water and harborage to survive.

Sampling is observing sticky cards and recording pest presence or numbers to see if  they meet your action thresholds that trigger a physical, mechanical, biological or chemical treatment. Thresholds are boundaries between acceptable and unacceptable pest levels. The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) requires each school district to have written thresholds for important insects, weeds as part of their IPM program.   TDA has updated the TX School IPM Rules  to allow  the use of non-pesticide tools and devices by unlicensed school district personnel, for monitoring purposes, shall be permitted. Monitoring by unlicensed school district personnel shall be done only as directed, under the supervision of the IPM Coordinator.  This allowance by TDA helps the IPM program by allowing the coordinator to use sticky traps to determine if there is a pest problem or not.  Only licensed applicators can make the decision to treat.

Sampling is observing sticky cards and recording pest presence or numbers to see if  they meet your action thresholds that trigger a physical, mechanical, biological or chemical treatment. Thresholds are boundaries between acceptable and unacceptable pest levels. The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) requires each school district to have written thresholds for important insects, weeds as part of their IPM program.   Recently TDA , updated the TX School IPM Rules  to allow  the use of non-pesticide tools and devices by unlicensed school district personnel, for monitoring purposes, shall be permitted. Monitoring by unlicensed school district personnel shall be done only as directed, under the supervision of the IPM Coordinator.  This allowance by TDA helps the IPM program by allowing the coordinator to use sticky traps to determine if there is a pest problem or not.  Only licensed applicators can make the decision to treat.

Proper placement of these devices ensure insects are captured, rather than escaping.

Proper placement of these devices ensure insects are captured, rather than escaping.

Per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Food Code, insects and other pests are capable of transmitting disease to humans by contaminating food and food-contact surfaces. Effective measures must be taken to eliminate their presence in food establishments.

Insect fly lights are most effective when they are placed between 4 to 6 feet high.

Insect fly lights are most effective when they are placed between 4 to 6 feet high.

Insect electrocution devices are considered supplemental to good sanitation practices in meeting the Code requirement for controlling the presence of flies and other insects in a food establishment.

Improper design of the device and dead insect collection tray could allow dead insect parts and injured insects to escape, rendering the device itself a source of contamination.

Light traps are good provided you change the boards frequently, using the information to make decisions about treatment.

Light traps are good provided you change the boards frequently, using the information to make decisions about treatment.

Exposed food and food-contact surfaces must be protected from contamination by insects or insect parts. Installation of the device over food preparation areas or in close proximity to exposed food and/or food-contact surfaces could allow dead insects and/or insect parts to be impelled by the electric charge, fall, or be blown from the device onto food or food-contact surfaces.

One of the most confusing aspects of the FDA code is that most pest management professionals are unaware that these rules apply to them and how they control pests in kitchens.

Sampling for pests helps applicators an idea of what to use and how much to use to solve pest problem.

Sampling for pests helps applicators an idea of what to use and how much to use to solve pest problem.

Placing a monitor behind a wet area helps determine if there is a pest problem

Placing a monitor behind a wet area helps determine if there is a pest problem

This kitchen was having a fly issue. Using a device like the glue board shown does allow an IPM coordinator the ability to safely say “the kitchen has pests”. And the PMP was able to establish a treatment plan based on their thresholds.  However, for the kitchen manager who will be inspected by the Dept. of Health, to allow this glue device to used in “her” kitchen can put her at odds with the Dept. of Health inspector.

In wet areas and around food prep areas, using a closed device like this can do many things at once.

In wet areas and around food prep areas, using a closed device like this can do many things at once.

Instead, using a closed receptacle like the image seen here, allows pests to crawl in, but not necessarily crawl out.  In one case, a PMP used the Trapper Device to not only catch possible insects, but he used a cockroach bait to help control a German cockroach problem happening in a school principal’s office.

 

monitoringandbaiting

Placing out a sticky card as seen here in the image to the left, with a bait station sends the wrong message and may not gain the results you want as well.

Depending on your pest, choose the right monitoring device, each one of these devices work for different pests.

Depending on your pest, choose the right monitoring device, each one of these devices work for different pests.

 

 

Using glue boards and sticky cards are the best way for TX schools to stay in compliance with the TX school IPM rules. Which require a monitoring program to determine when pests are present and when pest problems are severe enough to justify corrective action.  Routine pesticide applications (insecticide, herbicide, rodenticide, etc.) are not considered part of an IPM program.  However, monitoring for a pest problem and then taking proper action for that problem is IPM.

 

For more information about the updated Food Code check out this link. 

 

SPN:Glue Boards Handout for IPM coordinators to use with school staff and others about this topic.