Thursday, October 28, 2010

IPM Website updated!

Here at the Pesticide Education Office, we've been working recently on updating our website to fit the style of the new UNL template, and in the process have reorganized the content, including integrating our old IPM website into this new Pesticide Safety Education Program one. Please check out the new site:!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Science Cadre

Clyde and I have been discussing ways to better get the word out about our educational video game, Pest Private Eye, which teaches children and educators who work with them about IPM.

Now that the game is complete and in its final version, we would like to do a small project working with Nebraska elementary/middle school teachers in the classroom, using the game to teach IPM as part of the science curriculum. We would give teachers copies of the game for their students to play, then follow up with an in-classroom activity/survey about what they learned based on the Nebraska/National Science standards.

After contacting some ESU (Educational Service Units) around the state, we were invited yesterday to attend a "Science Cadre" at ESU9 consisting of science teachers in Hastings and surrounding towns. I presented about IPM and then demoed the game, explaining how we'd love to work with them on a project in the classroom. There were several questions about IPM and the game and also interest in doing the project! We look forward to using the game to further educate both children and teachers about IPM! Stay tuned for more info on this project as it progresses.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

October 6th Coalition Meeting

We had our fourth IPM coalition meeting of 2010 yesterday. We were joined by OPS and LPS, as well as EPA, UNL Extension, tribal, Nebraska Department of Ag, and pest management professional representatives.

Our guest speaker was Tom Green, who is president of the IPM Institute in Madison, WI. He discussed details about the process for a school to become IPM Star Certified, including maintaining records, working with the PMP to use IPM methods rather than routine spray applications, and generally controlling pests such as cockroaches and mice and improving conducive conditions to discourage pests. The IPM Star certification includes an on-site visit from a 3rd party professional who evaluates the school and provides them with a written list of recommendations. The school then addresses any deficiencies the evaluator has noted and contacts the IPM Institute for certification. Schools must score 70% on the evaluation to be certified, and certification lasts for 3 years. It must be renewed with a follow up visit after that time.

Tom also talked about Green Shield certification, which is an IPM Star approach to certifying pest management professionals. For more information about IPM Star and Green Shield, visit and

After Tom's presentation, we discussed the August in-service presentations Clyde, Barb, Stephen and I did for LPS and OPS (custodial and/or food service staff), the second visits (Sept 9 for OPS and Sept 23 for LPS) and the planned third demonstration visits (Dec 9 for OPS and Feb 2, 2011 for LPS) Additional IPM and pest (bed bug) training are slated for November 11 (IAQ group) and November 19 (Infection Control group) for LPS.

Mike Daniels then gave a brief overview of the Healthy Tribal Communities training that was held in Sioux City. He said there were 32 attendees and he felt it was a success.

Coalition meetings for next year have been set: Feb 7/8 (Urban Pest Management conference), April 27, July 27, and Oct 26. There was discussion about possibly having half day educational events rather than the two hour meetings we have been doing. There are advantages and disadvantages to this approach, so we'll be evaluating coalition member thoughts and suggestions before making a decision.

Bed bugs were also a topic of discussion (when is it not these days, especially with New York City practically overrun and many other places not far behind!).Barb mentioned that she and Clyde will be giving three bed bug workshops for landlords in October and November. Oct 20 will be in Lincoln, Nov 15 in Grand Island, and November 17 in Omaha. See for sign up information. As part of the training (at the Omaha and Lincoln location), they will be featuring Spots, a bed bug sniffing dog owned by James and Amy Pelowski in Lincoln. To learn more about Spots' services, check out their website, K-9 BedBug Detection at .

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Orlando and Lovebugs

I just got back from a wonderful vacation in Orlando...visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and had some Butterbeer (cream soda with butterscotch and vanilla); got soaked on the Popeye river raft ride; and fed the dolphins at SeaWorld!

The weather was warm and humid (about 90 degrees in late September) and I admit that I wondered if I'd find any interesting insects while in FL. I never can stray too far from my entomological fascination :-) I wasn't disappointed! When we landed, my friends and I were immediately struck when we looked out the plane window and saw millions of what looked like some kind of hemiptera flying around and also appearing on all the windows at the airport. It was an invasion! Intrigued (well, at least I was!), my friends and I quizzed the locals, who informed us that these pesky insects were "lovebugs" and that their nuisance expands beyond their large, annoying numbers to actually damaging property...the paint on cars! Motorists are encouraged to wash their cars soon after running through lovebug infested areas as these little pests can literally ruin car paint if left too long.

Of course upon my return from FL I read a bit about lovebugs and found out they are actually flies rather than true bugs and that they have mating flights twice a year, one being...ta da...August and September. Luckily they do not bite or sting, but definitely cause a mess for cars, planes, and people who may be in their way. Read more about these pests at and Apparently there are a lot of predators that eat the larvae and help keep the population down. The larvae don't actually cause much of a problem (and in fact can aid in some plant growth), but the less larvae there are, the less adults that can cause a mess! A little bit of biological control IPM going on there!!