Thursday, April 7, 2011

Texas included in EPA bed bug grant awards

Yesterday the U.S. EPA announced the successful applicants for grants totaling $550,000 for bed bug education, outreach and environmental justice projects. I'm pleased to announce that our office is one of the five recipients that will receive these EPA bed bug funds this year.

Looking over the successful projects, a theme was research and extension efforts that benefit high-risk and under served communities disproportionately exposed to environmental risks:
  • The University of Missouri St. Louis will develop training materials for immediate use in working with building inspectors and social service agencies that serve low-income minority and immigrant neighborhoods in the metropolitan St. Louis area ($89K for one year).
  • Texas AgriLife Extension Service (that's us!) will develop a pilot IPM program and train workers at a minimum of three homeless shelters in Texas ($76K for two years).
  • The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will develop and provide training as well as technical and material support to residents, service providers and retail operators in the 12 poorest zip codes of Baltimore City and county health offices throughout Maryland ($142K for two years).
  • Rutgers University will implement a state-wide bed bug educational outreach program for low-income communities in New Jersey ($100K for 19 months).
  • Michigan Department of Community Health will promote the Michigan Bed Bug Working Group as a model for the creation of local bed bug task forces of governmental and community agencies ($142K for two years).
In its news release, the EPA correctly noted that because of increasingly scarce resources, it's more critical than ever that all facets of government, industry, and academia work together efficiently. This includes Extension and the pest control industry.

If you are a Texas PMP working with a shelter of any kind, and bed bugs are an issue, we would like to know.  Over the next couple of months my teammates and I will be looking for sites to serve as test sites for the project. In addition, as part of this project, Dr. Grady Glenn will be developing what he's calling an "S of P 100" (Survey of Pests 100) list.  This will be a list of 100 Texas pest control companies willing to periodically provide information about the number of calls and contracts that you have with bed bugs and other key pests. Participants will remain anonymous, but the data received will be used to track the incidence and severity of various pests throughout the state.

If you are interested in either aspect of this project, please contact me at "m-merchant at".

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