Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Flea and ant training classes

This year's ant ID class will be more physically distant than
last year's class; but will offer the same hands-on opportunities
to become an ant identification pro.
I am happy to announce two new training opportunities this summer.  The IPM Experience House is hosting a real, in-person (physically distanced) ant identification class on July 16.  Enrollment is limited to 15 and registration information can be found at https://agriliferegister.tamu.edu/productListingDetails/3150

This is the first post COVID-19 class we've offered at the Dallas Center.  We will be following university guidelines that require us to take all reasonable precautions to keep everyone safe.  Every student will have their own microscope and supplies, class size is limited and everyone will be kept at least 6 feet apart.  We ask that you bring your own mask. Disinfectant will be provided.

Now that we've covered all the essential safety information, this is a great class.  It is our goal to offer it once a year to anyone wanting to improve their ant identification skills.  The class is a mix of lecture, ant identification using microscopes, and outdoor demonstration. Our principal instructor is Dr. Robert Puckett, urban Extension entomologist from College Station. We hope to see you there.

The second opportunity I'm especially pleased to tell you about is a new online class called Flea and Tick Biology and Control.  This class can be taken on your own time, any day of the week.  Cost is only $25 for CEU credit with both Structural and Ag CEUs.  No face masks required! To learn more and to register, click here.

This course will help you identify fleas and important tick species.  It goes into the biology of these important parasites, and provides practical advice on control strategies and personal protection. Best of all, the class is designed to move quickly and keep you engaged as you learn.

These two course represent the future of pesticide applicator training as we move into a post-COVID world. We will continue to embrace the use of more training technology while continuing to make use of face-to-face classes. Expect to see more online courses like this in the future. 

As a reminder, currently the Texas Department of Agriculture allows license holders to get credit for online CEUs every other year.  If you used online CEUs last year, the Structural Pest Control Service (TDA) is allowing your to get your CEUs online again this year due to the COVID situation; however don't assume that will be allowed again. If you get even just some of your CEUs online this year, you will likely not be able to get CEUs remotely next year.  I assume that these rules will continue to evolve as technology and the world adjusts to working remotely.

For our part, I know my extension colleagues and I are all committed to making online training less painful and more interactive.   Other currently available online classes of interest to PMPs include:

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