School Pest News, Volume 10, Issue 5

Section 1 Ticks make you nervous? 1
Section 2 New Rodenticide rules 3
Additional Information – Join a listserv 4

Early identification and accurate information are vital in effectively responding to human and animal interaction with ticks, said experts in the entomology department at Texas A&M University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in College Station. To help in that response, they have developed and introduced a free mobile Internet smart phone application named “The Tick App for Texas and the Southern Region” or simply “The TickApp.”

“Ticks are blood-feeding parasites capable of causing irritation, inflammation, and infection in animals and humans, as well as transmitting the pathogens that cause tick-borne diseases,” said Dr. Pete Teel, Texas AgriLife Research professor and associate entomology department head. “We are frequently contacted for assistance from lay and professional audiences to identify ticks and answer questions about their biology, distribution and control, as well as the potential for acquiring a tick-borne disease.”

The TickApp was developed as a mobile application that resides as an Internet website providing in-depth content on tick identification, biology, ecology, prevention, and management, and was designed for primary delivery on smart phones such as BlackBerry, Droid, and iPhone using Internet browsers, Teel said. Desktop or laptop computer, as well as other personal portable electronic devices also can access it.

The mobile app is available at, and future developments will include availability as a downloadable PDF for offline use.

Teel said he and others have designed and organized information to address the most frequently asked questions about ticks for a broad range of end-users into a smart phone application.

“We believe the smart phone application will provide portability and accessibility to tick-related information when and where it is needed,” he said.

The app’s creators have identified potential users, including: pet owners; state and federal park managers and employees; pest control professionals; animal shelter workers; animal control employees; outdoor educators; animal health inspectors; military personnel; veterinarians and vet clinic employees; public health and medical clinic employees; and recreational consumers, such as campers, hunters, birders, hikers and fishermen.

The new mobile smart phone app will allow users to access a wide range of information about ticks, including photos and detailed descriptions of regional tick species, in a simple format accessible when and where it is needed most, such as in field or human or animal clinic setting, he said. A glossary of terms, information on tick biology and the parasites’ one- and three-host life cycles and other details will assist users without an entomology background. Images of tick species showing gender-based developmental differences will make identification easier.

Teel said the six most frequently encountered tick species of the southern U.S. addressed through The TickApp are the Lone Star tick, Gulf Coast tick, American dog tick, blacklegged tick, brown dog tick and spinose ear tick. There also are five other tick species important to human and animal health included: the cayenne tick, the winter tick, the tropical horse tick, the southern cattle tick and the cattle tick.

For each tick species there is a brief description of the associated tick-borne diseases of the region, such as rickettsiosis, erlichiosis, anaplasmosis, babesiosis and borreliosis, including Lyme disease and Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness.

“Before launching the online product, we asked colleagues and students at universities in Oklahoma, Ohio, Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, and Texas to review and provide input on smart phone types that enhanced app content, appearance, and navigation,” Teel said.

The new mobile smart phone app will allow users to access a wide range of information about ticks, including photos and detailed descriptions of regional tick species, in a simple format accessible when and where it is needed most, such as in field or human or animal clinic setting. — Pete Teel, AgriLife Research entomologist.

The TickApp provides identification and management information on species of ticks that typically affect humans, livestock, companion animals and wildlife in the 13-state region from Texas to Florida covered by the Southern Region Integrated Pest Management Center, he said. However, as distribution of several of these tick species extend beyond the southern region, there is likely to be nationwide interest in the app.

Teel and his colleagues submitted a successful grant proposal to acquire partial funding to develop the app from the Southern Region Integrated Pest Management Center.
“The Southern Region IPM Center issues grants to universities and other stakeholders from agricultural, urban, and rural settings involved in integrated pest management efforts that generate economic, environmental and human health benefits,” said Steve Toth, the center’s associate director. “The online guide and TickApp site is being supported, in part, by funding from the Center as we realized its potential to reduce health and other economic costs associated with human and animal exposure to ticks and tick-borne disease.”

The TickApp also will contain information on and hyperlinks to the Center’s website, so users can gain additional information on integrated pest management efforts and research in the region, developers said. There also will be information on proper tick removal and on how to submit tick samples to the University of North Texas Health Science Center for testing of ticks from humans in Texas. Other states may have similar services provided through their state health departments.

“A further application of this technology could be linkages to state and federal tick surveillance programs that track such changes as geographic distribution of tick vectors and/or the introduction of exotic tick species and foreign animal diseases,” Teel noted.

“There are economic and health risks associated with recreational and occupational exposure to these parasites in both urban and rural environments of the southern U.S.,” Teel said. “For example, it has been estimated that the cost for diagnosis and treatment for an individual affected by Lyme disease, for which the blacklegged tick is the primary vector, may exceed $150,000.” “Similar risks and management needs are associated with livestock, companion animals, and wildlife.

Teel added that the tickborne disease known as equine piroplasmosis affected the U.S. horse industry recently.

“The Southern U.S. is home to known and suspected tick vectors of the disease pathogen,” he said. “The impact of this disease on horse owners throughout the U.S. is staggering, as owners work to comply with new testing for horses moving from state to state, and to respond when horses test positive for the disease.”
He said information provided by the app may prove vital to those with potential exposure to ticks in making decisions about preventive measures or the subsequent implementation of tick management practices.

“In developing this application, we considered our own goals for integrated pest management practices and reducing the risk of animal and human health, as well as the goals and concerns of others,” he said. “Among those were the Southern Region IPM Center, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, beef cattle industry associations and national human and animal health agencies. We also considered Texas-specific entities, including the Texas House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture and Livestock, Texas Animal Health Commission and county agents from our university system’s Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

“One great advantage of this type of application is that it also gives us the ability to expand and update our information on a regular basis,” said Otto Strey, senior research associate with AgriLife Research and manager of the university’s Tick Research Laboratory, who first proposed the TickApp concept.

Unlike pocketsize printed cards or other print options, Strey said, changes can be made quickly and easily, eliminating reprinting and automatically updating information on the app.

“By applying the mobile app to the Internet as a website for use through browsers, we are not restricting use to a single smart phone brand,” added Rob Williams, web-design specialist with AgriLife Extension.

“This application will be useful for anyone from a novice to a professional as in proper tick identification, treatment, and control,” said Janet Hurley, AgriLife Extension Program Specialist at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Dallas, also on the app team. “It’s a user-friendly means of finding and disseminating information about ticks, and it was developed knowing that a homeowner or other individual will want different information than a rancher or other user.”

“After a lot of work and collaboration with others, we have developed what we feel is an effective, easy-to-use mobile app with concise but thorough details on various aspects of ticks that almost anyone can use to get information for their personal or professional benefit,” Teel said.

Written by Paul Schattenberg, Communication Specialist, AgriLife Extension.


On June 4, 2011, new regulations on rodent bait products went into effect, mandated by the U.S. EPA in the Rodenticide Risk Mitigation Decision. The regulations affect the sales and uses of rodenticides by professionals, agricultural users, and the retail markets. For retail sales, the second-generation (single feeding) anticoagulants will no longer be available, but all active ingredients will continue to be available to professional applicators. For retail sales, the only formulations that will be available will be solid blocks or soft baits, and package sizes must be less than 1 pound.

For professional applicators (this includes non-commercial applicators as well), the most noticeable change will be the package sizes that can be sold. For first generation, anticoagulants the minimum package size will be 4 lbs., and for second generation it will be 16 lbs. Product that already are in distribution or in end users’ hands can be sold and used as currently packaged and labeled.

Rodent baits used outdoors aboveground will need to be placed in bait stations, and must be within 50 feet of a structure. If they are used in areas where children and non-target animals are located then they must be in tamper resistant stations as well.

For agricultural applicators, the changes will affect the package size and label restrictions. For first generation, anticoagulants and non-anticoagulants the minimum package size will be 4 lbs., and for second generation it will be 8 lbs. or larger with an agricultural specific label.

Rodent baits used outdoors aboveground will need to be placed in bait stations, and must be within 50 feet of a structure. If they are used in areas where children and non-target animals are located then they must be in tamper resistant stations as well. Second-generation use is restricted to in and around agricultural buildings only

For retail customers (products bought by the public) changes to package size, type and placement have all been addressed. First-generation anticoagulants and non-anticoagulants will be sold in packages restricted to 1 pound of bait or less and must be sold in or with a bait station. Second-generation anticoagulants will not be sold to retail consumers. Pelleted bait is prohibited from being sold to the general public as well. Rodent and mice baits must be sold in block or solid form.

For More information about EPA’s decision please go to their website at

What’s the difference between first and second rodenticides
First-generations rodenticide anticoagulants require higher concentrations and consecutive daily intake in order to accumulate lethal doses. They are less toxic than second-generation agents are.

Second-generation agents are far more toxic than first-generation. They require lower concentrations in baits; are lethal after a single ingestion of bait; and are effective against strains of rodents that become resistant to first-generation anticoagulants.

Information gathered by Janet Hurley

Join the National School IPM 2015 Listserv. In an effort for school IPM coordinators, pest management professionals and other key stakeholders to come together to share information a new school IPM 2015 listserv has been developed by the IPM Institute of North America. The IPM Institute is taking the lead so each state doesn’t have to duplicate their efforts. By joining this listserv you will receive information about grants for schools, new tools developed by school IPMers all across the country and learn how others deal with their IPM and IAQ programs.

To Sign up for the School IPM 2015 mailing list you can go through their direct link or through the School IPM 2015 website (box on the right side of the page) or if all else fails send an email to and put subscribe in the subject line.

Join the Facility Masters Listserv – Ask Questions, Get Answers and Share Best Practices with Peers

National Facility Masters Listserv for Educational Operations Professionals Subscribe for Free and Start Networking with Colleagues Today

Roger Young announced the launch of the Facility Masters Listserv on July 1, 2011 and wants you to join the more than 6,000 of your colleagues who have participated in the Facility Masters Webcast Series sign up for this new listserv.

Roger and I both consistently hear feedback from your peers regarding the need for more no-cost, networking opportunities for educational facility and business operations leaders at the national level.

As a result, Facility Masters has created a free, nationwide listserv to help educational professionals ask questions, get answers and share best practices for operating and maintaining quality learning environments that promote student achievement.

Subscribe to the Facility Masters Listserv – It’s Free!
To subscribe to the listserv, simply send a blank email message to If you know a colleague that would also like to join, they can subscribe using the same process.

View Current Discussions on the Listserv
Some of the topics that are currently being discussed on the Facility Masters Listserv include Key Control, Energy Management, Floor Repair and ENERGY STAR. You can view a few recent discussions here:

I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to join the listserv, post and respond to questions, and most importantly, network with your colleagues across the country. So far the information I have seen in the few weeks it’s been online has been very informative. Learn from others in this tough economy.

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