If you're a pest management professional in the bed bug business, I suspect the last thing you might want to hear about is a good consumer treatment for bed bugs. But the latest study published the Journal of Economic Entomology by Changlu Wang's lab at Rutgers University may hold a little good news for everyone.
In the study results recently reported in PCT magazine, Narinderpal Singh, Wang and Richard Cooper identified two low-toxicity, over-the-counter products that are surprisingly effective against both bed bugs and their eggs. EcoRaider™ and Bed Bug Patrol™ are essential oil-based insecticides available both in retail stores and via the Internet.
We all know the toughest life stage of bed bugs to kill is the egg. Singh et al. applied each of the sprays directly to exposed 2-3 day-old eggs. EcoRaider™ controlled 86% of eggs, better than any other product, including the professional standards which gave less than 17% control.
Of course a good insecticide should not only kill on direct contact, but should leave a residue that continues to kill, and not repel, after it dries. Singh and colleagues pitted EcoRaider™ and Bed Bug Patrol™ against the two pyrethroids by confining bed bugs for five minutes on one-day old residues on cotton fabric. They then removed the bugs, placed them in clean dishes and observed. After ten days, EcoRaider™ and Bed Bug Patrol™ provided an impressive 93% mortality, equivalent to Temprid® SC, and significantly better better than Demand® CS. However when bed bugs were allowed to choose between resting on treated or untreated surfaces, the two professional products were significantly better.
So don't dump your Temprids, Transports and Tandems just yet. Bed bugs always have a choice where to rest and walk in the real world, and these results suggest that when given a choice they might avoid spots treated with plant-oil products. And even the researchers admit that all spray exposures in this test were applied under ideal conditions. It's likely that results in the field, where bed bugs are almost always protected in cracks and crevices of furniture and bedding, will not be as good. Perhaps most importantly, even the best bed bug treatments miss directly contacting all bed bugs. Hence residual control is very important and rightly remains the holy grail of bed bug control. Today's modern insecticides may not always excel at long-term residual control of resistant bed bugs; but they are likely to be better than the best essential oil-based insecticide. The plant oil-based sprays in this test were only aged for a day, and given the volatility of plant oils I would not expect them to last much longer.
Nevertheless, low-toxicity "organic" pesticides have established a strong niche in the professional pest control business today. I applaud the efforts of the Rutgers researchers in sifting through the many "natural" products vying for bed bug market share. Singh et al's work may not be the last word on the subject of which green products work and which don't; but the methodology appears sound and the work thorough. Based on what I read in the paper, if I were looking for a green insecticide to supplement my bed bug program (even one that was available to consumers), I would take a hard look at their top two performers.
The other insecticides evaluated in this study included Bed Bug Bully, Bed Bug Fix, Ecoexempt IC2, Essentria, Rest Assured, Green Rest Easy, and Stop Bugging Me. The two detergents tested included Eradicator and Bed Bug 911 Exterminator.
Please note that mentions of trade names in this article does not imply endorsement, but are included for educational purposes only.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Friday, December 5, 2014
|Inspections are never fun, but are mandated for every school|
district, non-commercial applicator and commercial business
Fortunately, you don't need to have a bad inspection. At last month's Structural Pest Control Advisory Committee meeting, the good folks at TDA provided a list of the most common mistakes being found by regulatory inspectors during routine business and school inspections. As you'll see, most of these mistakes relate to paperwork and record keeping--stuff that's relatively simple to correct. So as the end of the year approaches, it might be a good time to use these non-compliance lists as checklists to see where your team stands. Take the test and see if you pass:
Most Common Mistakes for Commercial Pest Control Businesses in 2014
- Are the name and license of the person(s) applying pesticides or using devices, recorded on use records stored at your business location? (21% failure rate)
- Do your service report forms have a jurisdiction statement? (18% failure rate)
- If you present a termite bid, do your forms include the required definitions for partial, pier and beam, slab construction, spot treatments, baiting systems and barriers? (16% failure rate)
- Are all your employees getting the necessary continuing education units (CEUs)? (15% failure rate)
- When providing a termite bid are you providing your termite customers with a diagram, blueprint or building plat with a description of the structures to be treated? (8% failure rate)
- When conducting WDI inspections for real estate transactions, does your paperwork record the name and affiliation of the person purchasing the inspection, as well as the owner/seller of the property? (7% failure rate).
- For WDI reports, are you providing all customers with a properly labeled diagram of the structure inspected? (6% failure rate)
- Do you provide all termite customers with the required termite treatment statement?
- I'm surprised this failure rate isn't higher: Do your service report forms record the purpose for which pesticides or devices were used (e.g., the target pest)?
- Can you document on a verifiable training records (paragraph n) form that your technicians have received the required training?
Most Common IPM Rule Mistakes for School Districts in 2014
- Are you creating and maintaining records showing approval of use of Yellow Category pesticides? (d)(6)(B)(ii) (30% failure rate)
- Do you maintain written guidelines defining action thresholds (a)(1)(f), at least for your key pest problems? (24% failure rate)
- Are you maintaining your IPM records for two years (b)(3)(B)(do you even have all your records?)? (16% failure rate)
- Do you have a system for storing and retrieving all records (b)(3)(B) of facility inspection reports, pest-related service reports, pesticide applications and pesticide complaints? (14% failure rate)
- Do you keep training records for all employees approved for incidental use of pesticides? (10% failure rate)
- Would you be ready to provide all your IPM program records on the spot to an inspector if they were to request them? (b)(3)(B) (9% failure rate)
- Are you creating and maintaining records showing approval of use of Red Category pesticides? (d)(6)(C)(ii) (8% failure rate)
- Have you the IPM Coordinator provided the required training for any employee on the District making incidental use applications of pesticides? (e.g., electricians carrying wasp spray for when they open electrical panels with a wasp nest inside) (8% failure rate)
- Do you have a plan for educating your employees about their role in an IPM program? (a)(1)(E) Note, this includes teachers, administrators and staff outside your pest control staff. (8% failure rate)
- Do you have a pest monitoring program in place? (a)(1)(B) Word to the wise: if you don't have properly-maintained sticky cards in your school kitchens you definitely do not have a monitoring program! (8% failure rate, and I'm surprised this isn't higher)
- If you're a new IPM Coordinator, have you got proof of taking your 6 hour mandatory IPM Coordinator training? BTW, we can help with that. (8% failure rate)
- When any pesticides are applied outdoors, is your staff in the habit of posting pest control signs (d)(2) at the time of application until the minimal reentry time? (8% failure rate)
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Who wants to go to a committee meeting? Especially if you're not on the committee? So if visitor counts are any indication, either things are pretty slow in Austin these days or the Structural Pest Control Advisory Committee is a hot ticket right now. Most visitor chairs around the room were full at last month's meeting in the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) headquarters building.
|Bad picture, I know. But here's proof that |
the SPCAC was hard at work last month
at the Texas Department of Agriculture
offices in Austin.
October 30 was the first followup meeting to last spring's lively session focused mostly on TDA Structural Pest Control Service's (SPCS) enforcement activity. It's no secret that many in the industry feel that "the bad guys" (shady pest control companies operating under the radar and outside the rules in Texas) are not being sufficiently policed by regulators since the former Structural Pest Control Board merged with the Texas Department of Agriculture and formed the new SPCS division. Based on what I heard at this meeting, I think the TDA has heard those complaints, and is responding, especially when it comes to fumigations.
Several inspection issues were brought up and solutions suggested at the meeting. Pretreatment notifications have historically been a slow and cumbersome process with inspectors often not receiving word of a planned termite pretreatment until it was starting or already completed. According to official Mike Kelly, the department wants to bring this process online for increased speed and efficiency. This will allow pest control companies to go online to report a pretreatment appointment, and will allow inspectors to get electronic notifications of all planned pretreatments twice a day. Current rules require operators to call, email or FAX notifications to the department. Last year there were 6,275 notices of termite pretreatment and 1,076 fumigation notices received...a lot of office time. This change in procedures could save significant staff time handling notifications. Lots of smiles around the table!
Most of us were especially interested in a followup report from last spring's discussion of a May 2013 apparent violation by a fumigator that occurred in Boerne, TX and was detailed at that time by committee member Warren Remmey. Mike Kelly of TDA explained some of the circumstances around the event including lack of evidence to verify that the fumigator was actually carrying gas cylinders when delivering tarps to a home in an unmarked truck (a violation of SPCS rules). After the meeting the inspector on the site, Kelly reported, the fumigator claimed that the reason no notification was filed was because a truck carrying gas was delayed with mechanical problems, and he didn't know when it would arrive--skeptical looks around the table. Nevertheless the tarps that were installed on the day of the incident remained in place over the house more than a week before the gas arrived and the SPCS was finally notified, and attended the fumigation.
No citations were issued in the case (no smiles around the table), but Kelly reported that steps have been taken to improve training and enforcement of fumigators by their inspector staff. For one thing, Larry Riggs of Ensystex, a former regulator, has agreed to help provide fumigation training for inspectors. Dr. Rudy Scheffran at the University of Florida will also host four inspectors at his fumigation training school in Florida this year. TDA has also formed a task force to advise the agency on fumigation-related issues. Debbie Aguirre of Elite Exterminating, Corpus Christi, has been leading the group. Since the April 11 meeting, TDA has conducted 11 fumigation inspections. The committee thanked Kelly and the staff for responding to concerns from the last meeting, especially the training initiatives for inspectors. The committee was smiling again.
After this Debbie Aguirre presented suggestions from the task force for changes to the structural fumigation requirements. One of the major problems her team has identified is that companies often subcontract or sub-sub-contract fumigation jobs, and its not always clear who is the responsible party is when communicating instructions to the customer and when planning the job. TDA staff have agreed to review the fumigation committee suggestions and bring back legally suitable language for a second review by the SPCAC.
Kelly also announced that TDA is planning to eliminate fees for CEU course sponsors. Currently anyone organizing a CEU class must pay TDA a $48 fee for each CEU provided. Kelly says the department has determined these fees were not necessary and will be eliminated. I sensed CEU providers all over the state smiling at this one.
Also bringing smiles to all the PMPs on the committee was a proposal to change the long problematic rule on advertising. A problem with this rule has been that the rule was written to require licensed companies to not use false or deceptive advertising. The current wording makes it difficult for the department to penalize unlicensed operators from making false or deceptive claims online or in newspaper. The advertiser would have to be actually observed making a pest control treatment to be penalized under the existing rule. Two new paragraphs will be added to the section expanding the rule to apply to anyone offering to perform pest control services. In addition all advertisements must include the official business name as listed on the business license. The committee objected to an additional requirement to include the business license number on all advertisements, and it was removed.
Also in response to requests to provide more information about enforcement actions, Stephen Pahl introduced new staff members including new chief counsel Martina Berrera, a former prosecuting attorney and judge. She has been with the department for two months and is eager to get to know the industry and work to address concerns. She replaces outgoing counsel David Gibson.
The SPCS includes both "Program staff", including inspectors, and "Enforcement staff". Program staff are required by law to conduct 480 inspections of non-commercial applicators, 200 use observations of structural licensees, 950 commercial business inspections. In addition they must inspect approximately 250 school districts each year. Also program staff must respond to complaints (46 so far in FY2014). Not all violation cases investigated by program staff get turned over to enforcement. In 2014, we learned, program staff forwarded 40 cases involving unlicensed activity to Enforcement. For schools with unlicensed activity a non-compliance advisory letter is usually sent without a fine. For violations at commercial businesses and non-commercial locations, Enforcement may issue a Notice of Violation (NOV), a warning, or take no action (e.g., when a business has shut down or the complainant may not be willing to pursue the case).
Numbers of consumer complaints (46) have decreased significantly this year from prior years (ave. 181 per year 2011-13). Although the agency reports that the number of consumer complaints have been decreasing for the past 12 years, this year's large drop appears due largely due to the department no longer accepting consumer complaints about poor service or failure of a company to control pests. Now the only complaints accepted for investigations are those involving possible infractions of the rules or law. As I see it, this amounts to a significant change in policy, redirecting the agency away from consumer advocacy, to being a law enforcement agency only. These changes appear to be necessary given tighter budgets over the past several years. Mostly blank faces on the committee.
Visitors who attend these committee meetings do get an opportunity to comment if they wish. Don Ward left a comment from the Texas Pest Control Association suggesting that SPCS host a class for pest control office staffers to appraise them of what they can and can't say and do. He also indicated TPCA support for the advertising changes. Bryan Springer with Bevis Pest Control, Houston, commented that with all the regulations and safety requirements in place, the safety record of professional fumigation is good. Harvey West of Coastal Fumigators, Houston, encouraged SPCS to provide and train inspectors to carry fumigant gas measurement devices to ensure accurate dosing of commercial fumigations. He also urged the department to do something to discourage the practice of allowing spot treatments for drywood termites to suffice for passing real estate transactions. Spot treatments are notoriously unreliable for eliminating drywood termite infestations in homes.
The committee adjourned after approximately a three hour meeting. Smiles all around.
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
|Portland, Oregon, site of this year's ESA|
meeting, is a short drive from many natural
wonders, including Punch Bowl Falls in the
Columbia Gorge area.
The year I skipped ESA was like being lost in space--as if I had missed out on all the advancements in my field for the previous 12 months. The ESA annual conference is the best way I know to keep in touch with colleagues and learn about new advances in the science of insects. The meeting covers everything from the most basic scientific theory to very practical topics in pest control. I haven't missed a meeting since that lost year.
This year the meetings were at the Portland Oregon Convention Center, with over 3,400 entomologists and about 3600 papers and posters. Every year after the meeting I like to go over my notes and highlight what I think were some of the most important bits of information. So, as my gift to you, here are highlights from the very small slice of the conference that I experienced:
- In Michigan and other Midwest states, an insect called the Emerald ash borer (EAB) has been devastating ash trees since 2002. Researchers are finding, however, that after a decade of expanding its range, some "good" bugs are coming to the rescue. In the center of its new territory, parasitic wasps, both native and imported, have reduced EAB densities five-fold over their peak in 2005. With EAB poised to invade Texas, this is especially good news. Over the past ten years, several effective treatments have been discovered for this beetle. Emamectin benzoate (TREEage), imidacloprid (Merit), dinotefuran (Safari) provide multiple years of control with one application. There is even an effective organic treatment. Azadirachtin (TreeAzin 2) has been found to control EAB larvae for one year.
- Molecular genetics has become a major, if not dominant, subject of presentations at the annual conference. This year's keynote speaker, Fred Gould of North Carolina State University, spoke of the successes and potential of genetic pest management. The science started with sterile insect releases that eradicated the screwworm fly and Med flies as early as the 1960s. More recently genetic engineering has been developed to insert genes into a population of insects that might reduce its ability to be a pest. For example genes have been discovered that might prevent a mosquito from becoming infected with a virus like West Nile. Mosquitoes have been targets for this kind of genetic engineering research in the past 20 years, but a major challenge has been how to speed up the spread of desirable genes into the whole population. Now a new version of this technology promises to solve this problem. According to Gould, special genes have been designed that not only insert desirable genes into pest insect DNA, but also, like a computer virus, replicate itself within the pest's chromosomes. Called homing endonuclease genes, this technology promises almost immediate results, unlike the older technology which might take years to take hold. With this technology it is conceivable, says Gould, to completely eradicate a "bad" insect species. Of course implementation of this technology raises ethical questions, for which scientists will have to answer. If it works, it would be scary powerful.
- Have invasive ants finally met their match? Two 2014 papers highlighted at this year's meeting suggest that fire ants and Argentine ants, two of our worst invasive ant species, have finally been out competed by other ants. When encountering fire ants, the tawny crazy ant (TCA) covers itself with formic acid which forms a coating that protects from fire ant venom. Researchers tested the importance of the TCA anal excretions by covering their little ant anuses with nail polish (I'd like to see how they did that). When anuses were blocked almost half of the ants battling fire ants died. When not covered, only 2% of the TCA died in battle with fire ants. Cool. Similarly the Asian needle ant is out-competing Argentine ants for prime nest sites. They do this by having better cold tolerance than Argentines. Too bad that both of these new invaders are bad pests on their own. People living with tawny crazy ants in Texas say they would rather have the fire ants. And Asian needle ants are supposed to have a wicked sting.
- New insecticide formulations come around less often than new insecticides, but this year Syngenta Professional Products appears to have developed a promising new formulation for ant control. Based on polyacrilamide gel, the formulation consists of water-storing crystals that can hold an insecticide for long periods of time. Add sugar, or a protein, and you have a product that can be applied dry like a granule, and expand with exposure to water into a highly attractive gel bait. Imagining being able to bait an entire yard for sugar-loving ants with gel bait in the same amount of time that it takes to put out fire ant bait. Reported by Purdue entomologist, Grzesiek Buczkowski, this formulation could provide better control of sugar- or protein-loving ants, including Argentine ants, odorous house ants, crazy ants and rover ants, among others. This product is not yet on the market.
- Now imagine baiting for bed bugs! Bait technologies have revolutionized cockroach and ant management, but because bed bugs feed only on blood, baits for bed bugs have been seen as impractical. Maybe until now. Research by Alvaro Romero, urban entomologist at New Mexico State University, appears to have solved at least one step in the complex problem of bait development for bed bugs. Alvaro's group found a synthetic substitute for blood that bed bugs will feed on, and even gain weight with. If an effective method of delivery can be found, this could be a major advance in bed bug management at some time in the future.
- Ebola virus was the subject of an informal symposium put together at the last minute by Extension entomologist Nancy Hinkle, University of Georgia. The official line from the Centers for Disease Control is that no insect is a known vector for Ebola virus. However, after a quick literature review of the potential for insects to serve as Ebola vectors it became clear that the book is not closed on this subject. While some research shows that Ebola transmission from mosquitoes is unlikely, medical entomologists are concerned about the potential for flies to serve as mechanical vectors of the virus. In Africa, where several species of flies are commonly seen feeding on eyes and wounds of people, the potential for mechanical (carried on the external portions of the body rather than in the saliva or feces) transmission is feasible. The group also discussed the potential for cockroaches and bed bugs to serve as Ebola vectors. To date, it appears that no one in Africa, or with the CDC, has specifically investigated these potential vectors. The symposium participants agreed that the issue is important enough to justify writing a letter to the CDC urging funding for research into these pests in the near future.
- Speaking of human diseases, one of the more surprising announcements at the meetings this year was research by Brittany Blakely, of New Mexico State University, which showed that bed bugs may be able to transmit Trypanosoma cruzi, the pathogen that causes Chagas disease. If experimentally demonstrated with live animals, this would be the first human disease known to be carried by bed bugs. But this is still just a theory. What Blakely and her team showed was that when bed bugs were fed on infected blood, the pathogen could be found in their bodies for at least 3 months. The pathogen also remained with the bugs even through molting. At the same time we were learning these results, Penn State researchers announced last week l that they had successfully infected mice using bed bugs as a vector for T. cruzi. Because bed bugs are primarily human feeders, they would have to first feed on an infected person to become infected. According to the Red Cross, there may be as many as 100,000 people with the parasite in the U.S. If bed bugs are proved to be capable of transmitting the disease between two humans (which hasn't happened yet), this could be a significant new twist on the bed bug problem.
- The ACE (Associate Certified Entomologist) program at ESA is expanding this year with the launch of a new International ACE program. A new test has been developed for PMPs outside the U.S. wishing to become certified. In addition, the ESA is considering adding an ACE-Public Health certification to its program. Some of the initial discussions about this option took place last week at the meeting and it appears that the National Mosquito Control Association is interested in the prospect of having ESA develop a test and certification.
- Lastly, I can't ignore the buzz about the Twitterverse any longer. I have to admit that I've been slow to jump on the Twitter bandwagon, but after listening several very good talks last week I think I've been convinced to take the leap. I've been told that if I want to stay in touch with you and other (especially young) pest management professionals, this is something I need to do. Plus, last month at our fall IPM training conference I felt old when our new Extension turfgrass specialist casually put up his Twitter handle at the end of his talk and welcomed people to follow him. Not to be outdone by a young whippersnapper, here's my "handle" @mikemerchant. I invite you to follow me on Twitter as I try to find my place in this increasingly wired world.
Tuesday, November 4, 2014
|This wax scale-infested holly could be the|
key to controlling ants around your customer's
This is a mistake. A well-trained commercial or residential pest control PMP needs to know about plant pests, especially scales and their cousins the aphids, whiteflies and mealybugs. The key reason is that scales are part of the ecosystem surrounding the home or business, and can play an important role in insect life coming indoors...especially when it comes to ants.
You know ants. Only one of the most important pest issues for the industry around the world. The vast majority of indoor pest ants are sugar-loving. But these ants don't get their sweet tooth from sheer gluttony (like us!); ants have evolved with a heavy reliance on sugary foods in the form of honeydew.
Honeydew is the sweet excretion product of many plant feeding insects, including scales, aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies and others. Most of us have experienced honeydew when parking a vehicle under a tree during the summer months. Those sticky drops all over the windshield were honeydew, or less delicately, insect poop.
Much like our obsession with sugar, ants have an interesting relationship with honeydew producing insects. It turns out that ants have been relying on the scale insects for so long that both scale and ant have become co-dependent. The ant gets a free, long-term, stationary food source. The scales benefit from the ants keeping down excess honeydew and mold on the old leaf, and even get protection from predators like lady beetles and parasitic wasps.
Ants that naturally feed on honeydew include carpenter ants, crazy ants, odorous house ant, Argentine ants, acrobat ants, rover ants and fire ants...and probably several others I'm forgetting at the moment. If you're battling any of these critters on a regular basis, you might need to know something about why ants are attracted to your accounts in the first place. In many cases it probably has something to do with the presence of scale insects around the building perimeter.
I'm not suggesting that all ants are attracted to your accounts just because of sugar-pooping pests, but I guarantee you that, when present, these insects will contribute to an ant problem. So what can be done? First of all, learn the signs of honeydew producing insects, and how to select some of the excellent control products on the market.
There's a lot to learn about scale insects--more than I can cover here; but if you're interested in learning a little more, check out this link to a PowerPoint presentation I'll be giving this week on the subject. The topic is scale insects and their control. I hope the pictures and notes will give you an interesting introduction to the subject and a taste to learn more. Speaking of taste, I think I hear a KitKat bar calling my name.
Monday, October 20, 2014
|Norway rats scavenge left-over people food|
in a New York city park. Photo by Mailman
School of Public Health, Columbia University.
The authors state that the study shows a need for improved pathogen surveillance and disease monitoring in urban environments. I would add that these results also show the importance of rodent control to human health, as well as the need for pest management professionals to take precautions when handling dead rodents.
Along with the NYC rat report, came coverage last week of rat mites. One reporter called them a worse scourge than bed bugs... something I disagree with, but a story that is sure to resonate with some of your customers with suspected mite problems.
Rat mites are tiny parasites that principally attack rodents. The primary homes of rat mites are in the nests of rats and mice; but when the rodents are trapped or exterminated, the resident mite population may abandon the nest in search of other hosts. Though rat mites cannot live on human blood, they will bite people, often leaving a red mark and blister.
The reason I don't consider rat mites to be as troublesome a pest as bed bugs is that rodent control will ultimately eliminate a rat mite problem--though mite control in a structure may still be needed to clean up residual mites that can linger in a home for several months.
The other, more scholarly story in the news this week is a study that appears to show a connection between rat mites and Bartonella infections in two dogs and a human. In a study reported by researchers from North Carolina State University, several raccoons were trapped and removed from a New York home. After removal, the house living area became infested with rat mites, Ornithonyssus bacoti, many of which were removed from the animals and some of which were collected by the homeowner. Both the dogs and the homeowner subsequently became ill, and blood tests revealed the presence of Bartonella henselea, a bacterial pathogen best known for causing "cat scratch disease".
Bartonella is known to be transmitted from cats and dogs via fleas and ticks, but this was the first time rat mites have been implicated in transmission (It's important to note that the researchers couldn't conclusively prove that the mites transmitted the disease, as ticks were also found on one dog. Also they did not rule out the presence of rodents or fleas in the home, but the timing and series of the events, along with the large number of mites and visible bites on both dogs and the person in the house provide good circumstantial evidence of the mite's role).
I gleaned a couple of points from this paper. First, although the paper did not in my mind conclusively prove the raccoon as host and source of the mites, the close association of the raccoon removal and mite infestation seem to suggest that rat mites could infest raccoons. Raccoons are a relatively common wildlife invader of homes in Texas and throughout the U.S., and these results potentially impact many pest control jobs. Second, I was unaware of the potential disease problem associated with rat mites. The potential for rat mites to transmit disease appears to be low, or else there would be many more instances in the literature; nevertheless, this paper is something we in the pest control industry should be aware of--not only for our customers, but also when treating for rodent or bird mites. If a technician is going into a situation with lots of biting mites, it would be prudent to provide protective gear, including gloves and protective overalls sealed at ankles and wrists.
Lastly, I was reminded that when a real rodent mite problem exists, it is normally not too difficult to collect mites. In this case the homeowner had no problem seeing and collecting mites for the pest control company and researchers. This is not the case with many submitters of "mites" to my office. This year I've received dozens of samples of suspected mites from people who are convinced they are being attacked by mites. In most of these cases the sample submitters have been unable to provide an actual mite specimen. This is often a case of a misinformed customer who has been led astray by poor information on the Internet, or from poorly informed friends. For customers who will not take a diagnosis of no mites, regardless of repeated efforts to get samples, the situation may be one of delusions.
Once again the importance of pest control is supported by scientific research. It's important for you and your employees to remember every day that the service your pest control company provides is important. Rodents simply cannot be tolerated in homes, schools, food plants, businesses or multifamily apartments. And it's not just a matter of aesthetics. Even when rodents are present but out of sight, remember that many rodent diseases are transmitted by airborne dust from rodent urine and droppings. It's critical that we are protected not just from seeing rodents, but from being exposed in any form to rodents in our buildings.
If we're talking scary, forget the zombie costumes or Ebola scare stories this Halloween. A much more real risk is that of unwanted contact with rodents and their mites and diseases.
Thursday, October 2, 2014
|Rose rosette disease is one of the subjects being|
discussed at this year's IPM Seminar
Our goal is to help you to learn things that you will actually be able to put to work in your daily profession as a pesticide applicator. As always you will receive five CEU credits for the day. The CEUs are good for either structural or agriculture (3A) licenses. The focus of this training is traditionally on pests of turf and ornamentals; but if you work for a pest control company that does T&O work, you should find this training very useful and appropriate.
This year's speakers include:
- Janet Hurley providing information about changes coming to EPA labels;
- Dr. Matt Elmore, will tell us how to tackle tough Texas weeds;
- Laura Miller, horticulture agent from Tarrant County, will discuss the relatively new rose rosette disease and its management;
- My long-time colleague, Dr. Allen Knutson, will provide some background on how biological control has been used in outdoor IPM programs for both insects and weeds;
- and I will discuss the often tough problem of scale insects and their control.
|Over 300 people typically attend the Fall IPM Seminar each |
year for the good speakers, CEUs and a good lunch
(in that order, we hope).
I'm especially pleased this year to be able to introduce Dr. Matt Elmore as our new turfgrass specialist, following the retirement last year of Dr. Jim McAfee. Matt knows he's got big shoes to fill, but is ready and eager to meet all of you in the industry and learn about the challenges of turfgrass management in our part of the country. If any of you get the chance to meet him anytime soon, give him a warm Texas welcome.
Online registration is open for this year's class at https://agriliferegister.tamu.edu/ipm. Just click on Fall IPM Seminar for online registration. You can download a copy of the program brochure at the Conference Registration page, or by clicking here.