Tuesday, December 13, 2011

2011: The Year in Review

2011 has been another great IPM year for us here in Nebraska! Some highlights include:

  1. Four coalition meetings. These included attendance at the Nebraska Urban Pest Management Conference in February; our first half-day educational meeting, which offered presentations about pests, pesticides and health, IPM in Schools, and a visit from Spots the bed bug sniffing dog; and UNL Extension wildlife expert Stephen Vantassel's talk on bats.

  2. Completion of our IPM in Schools demonstration visits at OPS and LPS.

  3. IPM visits to 5 child care centers. For some of these, we provided general IPM information, while others requested help for specific problems, such as bats and cockroaches.

  4. Two IPM In-services for child care staff and directors.

  5. Two visits to 4 Nebraska tribal schools to provide IPM information and assessments.

  6. IPM survey distribution to coalition members, school administration, and child care centers asking about how our IPm program has affected their knowledge and use of IPM. I will report about the results of these surveys in 2012.

  7. Filming and production of the "How to Conduct IPM in Schools" video, which explores the process of an IPM demonstration.

  8. IPM Youth Programs at the Natural Resource District Nature Nights.

Thanks to everyone who was involved in these projects!

It's also been a year and a half since I started this blog. It's been a great way to document and share what's new in IPM, both in our state and through our work with colleagues around the country. I look forward to reporting on many new activities in 2012! Happy Holidays!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fall Nuisance Invaders

It's that time of year again...not only are people wanting to stay out of the cold, but many insects and their relatives are often driven into homes for the same reason. Common fall invaders include boxelder bugs, crickets, Multicolored Asian Ladybird Beetles, millipedes and centipedes, and wolf spiders. Using some good IPM practices, you can minimize the trouble these nuisance pests cause. Providing good seals around your home (perimeter, doors, windows), putting out sticky traps, and vacuuming up insect invaders can be helpful.

For more tips about the types of insects and spiders that can be bothersome in the fall and how to manage them, visit the following resources:

Common Fall Pests
Flies in the Home (Cluster flies being common in the fall and winter)
Managing Centipedes and Millipedes
Multicolored Asian Ladybird Beetles
Nuisance Pests
Wolf Spiders in Nebraska

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mouse Mystery revisited

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that there was a suspected mouse in my friend's car. After cleaning out the ripped up tissues from the glove box, throwing away the kleenex box that had been on the floor, and relocating everything else, we set up two snap traps in the glove box. We didn't want to actually bait them because we knew it would make a mess in the car. Besides, although bait certainly helps, it isn't absolutely required for catching mice.

However, after about a week with no luck (with the hopeful feeling that the mouse had left but the unsettled feeling that it had not, or was dead somewhere in the car), she found in the trunk area near the spare tire another selection of tissues that had been unkindly ripped to shreds by our mouse friend. Enough was enough! One night, my friend parked the car in the garage and baited the trap with peanut butter. That did it...we caught our little four footed furry fiend! But my friend was having nothing to do with disposing of it, and had her dad do it for her! He then reset the trap...just in case.

I told her that everything was probably fine now that the mouse had been caught, but agreed it was a good idea to continue our IPM monitoring with a newly set trap. And low and behold, I received a text this morning (a little over a week after the first capture) saying she caught another mouse! I was shocked...sure I can believe there is more than one mouse in a structure, but in a car? What are the chances? Maybe mice are just fond of Honda Fits. I do have to say this has been the most unusual (although very successful!) IPM experience I've ever had!

UPDATE: I just heard from my friend that the other mouse was caught in her garage; she had put the second trap there while the other remained in the glove box. This makes more sense! One in the car was enough, so at least she prevented a second occurrence!

Friday, October 28, 2011

October IPM Coalition

On October 26th we held our last IPM Coalition meeting of 2011. We had a good mix of representatives from the pest control industry, schools, UNL Extension, EPA, child care, and tribes.

Stephen Vantassel with UNL Extension presented on the most common types of bats found in and around houses in Nebraska (Big Brown and Little Brown, which are colony bats), bat life cycle and behavior, and how to safety capture and/or control bats. For more information about bats, see:
Barb talked about a new bed bug detector called “Verifi.” It's small and unobtrusive and can be placed in vulnerable areas in hotels, schools, day cares, etc.

Bed bugs is certainly a hot topic! We also briefly discussed reasons for bed bug resistance and movement and heavily infested areas of the U.S. Barb said she believes the insect has genetically changed worldwide, resulting in its resurgence.

We also talked about our work with Gina on the Child Care IPM assessments, and the in-services we have given for child care directors and providers.

In 2012, we will again have 4 coalition meetings (including the Urban Pest Management Conference). We would like future meetings to primarily consist of educational components, perhaps with a different “theme” or topics for each meeting.

We also want to get involved in more “sensitive environment,” IPM, such as group homes, jails and prisons, zoos, nursing homes, and hospitals. We would like to broaden the scope of this coalition and expand our membership to include more individuals who want to promote IPM concepts.

Stay tuned for the latest updates on the IPM coalition in 2012!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Not Your Everyday IPM

I was looking forward to a leisurely evening at TCBY with my friend last night, but little did I know it would end up with an IPM adventure!

Forget about IPM in Schools or IPM in Daycare Centers, I have a new specialty...IPM in Cars!

When I arrived at my friend's house and we had just gotten into her car, she said "I know you know about spiders...do you know about mice?" I had to cringe a little at that. Mice are cute...I love pet store mice, and I even had a pet lab rat when I was in college, but when it comes to WILD rodents in the house, I get a bit nervous.

I told her I knew a little bit about mice and hesitated.."why?" I was sitting in the passenger side and she pointed out some chewed up kleenex in the box on the floor by my feet, and then opened her glovebox and showed me a chewed up napkin. My preliminary reaction was denial...a mouse wouldn't want to go into a car, would it? I'd heard of cases, but thought it was probably rare. Maybe her dog had done it! However, upon closer inspection I saw mouse droppings among the napkin scraps and knew I had to face reality.

I asked her if she had any rubber gloves and cleaner, so I went back inside and brought my "combat" materials out, along with a plastic bag and flashlight. I wasn't feeling particularly confident, as I wasn't enthused about a mouse running out quickly and scaring the heck out of me. But I put on a brave face and slowly started sorting through the items in the glovebox after spraying them with disinfectant (my friend was not happy to find out that mice are incontinent!). In the end, there was a lot of nesting material but no mouse. I threw away the chewed up napkin and the entire kleenex box, and put most the items in the glovebox in another area of the car. We also shook blankets and other items that were in the car...just in case. But we figured he was most likely in and around the dashboard and glovebox since that's where we found all the evidence. After all this cleanup and a couple false alarms (yes, I jumped!) as I moved stuff from the glovebox, I threw everything away and told her we had just implemented IPM in her car. By removing nesting material, the mouse wouldn't have any material to nest with now. In addition, although there didn't appear to be any food in the car other than a couple popcorn kernels (which could have been brought in by the mouse) I recommended she not have any food in there for awhile.

The background to this story is that my friend had been staying out at her sister's acreage for a few days in the country, and the nights have been getting cold, so the mouse probably thought that her Fit was a great place to spend the night. Since we didn't know if he was still in the car (she hadn't heard any odd shuffling sounds or anything else), I told her to be safe we should go buy snap traps and set them in the glovebox. I don't know why you never have a camera when you need one, but we did manage to take a cell phone photo of our night's work. Now I am anxiously awaiting word to see if she caught our unwanted passenger!

In the end, we still did get our TCBY, but we certainly had to work for it! Just goes to show you never know when you might have to implement IPM!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Lazy Classroom Contest

Calling all IPM Sleuths! Enter our newest Facebook Contest for a chance to win the grand prize...a copy of the Pest Private Eye game, Teacher's Guide, and Comic book for use in the science classroom! Please pass this along to any science teachers and students who might be interested!

To Enter the Contest:
  1. Log into our Pesticide Safety Education Program Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/iWRTOm
  2. Become a fan of our page by clicking on the "Like" button at the top.
  3. On the "Wall" you'll see a CONTEST post with a photo (similar to "Where's Waldo") that shows students in a messy classroom (direct link to photo: http://on.fb.me/n9mo36)
  4. Write a short description (can be sentences or bullet points) about what makes this room a good place for pests to live and what can be done to make the room less inviting to pests.
  5. Post your comments and we'll announce the winner next week!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Big Red Green Team

In my early "Spielberg" days, I worked with Clyde, other UNL specialists, our department head, and the Educational Media department to develop two CSI spoofs about a team of scientists, the Big Red Green Team, with backgrounds such as plant diseases, weed science, entomology, soil science, and toxicology. This was a fun and educational way to introduce Agronomy/Horticulture careers and get students interested in learning more about these fields. Since many of us that work in IPM and Pesticide Safety Education Programs have backgrounds in similar fields or work with others that do, I thought you might be interested too!

Watch the videos here:

"Batter Luck Next Time": The Big Red Green Team investigates the murder of a Husker baseball player. Will the evidence tell the story?

"It's Not Easy Being Green": The Big Red Green Team investigates the strange destruction of greens at a golf course. Is it an accidental pesticide misapplication or is there more to it?

Read these articles for more information about the project:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Child Care In-Service

Last night Clyde, Barb, Stephen Vantassel and I provided an in-service for child care providers about pests and how to control them through IPM. Gina at the Lancaster County Health Department coordinated this event.

We discussed IPM strategies (sanitation, trapping, exclusion, etc.) and common pests that might be found in child care centers, such as cockroaches, mice, head lice, and bed bugs. We also included examples of sticky traps, exclusion devices for mice, mouse multi-catch traps, and even dead bed bugs!

Our audience asked many questions and we hope that the information presented will help child care providers understand how they can better prevent and/or solve pest problems in their facilities.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Social Media at NATS

On Friday Pierce and I presented to the Nebraska Association of Teachers of Science (NATS) about how we are using Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and this blog!) in our office to distribute information about pesticide safety and integrated pest management. We also gave them some ideas on the ways that teachers can use social media in the classroom, such as a communication tool between teachers and students (i.e. posting when assignments are due), or using social media for projects (i.e. setting up a classroom YouTube site, doing science projects, or using apps that cover a specific topic).

We provided the attendees a list of links that will help them set up their own social media sites, or "subscribe" to or "like" one of ours. We also explained how to track feedback and statistics for social media by using sites such as Feedburner. Feedback helps people gauge how their sites are being received and the information in which their target audience seems most interested.

We also encouraged the teachers to enter our second facebook contest, which is about IPM and will be launched next week. Watch for more information on this soon!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

IPM Article in The Connection!

Check out the article Clyde and I wrote about IPM activities in Nebraska in the
September issue of "The Connection," a newsletter distributed by the North Central Region Integrated Pest Management Center. The newsletter also features many other IPM events and resources from around the region!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Third Child Care visit

Last week Clyde, Barb, Gina and I conducted our last IPM Child Care visit. This was a smaller facility than earlier ones we visited, but it also had its own kitchen and laundry room. It had several classrooms where daycare and after school care is provided.

We met with the owner and director, who said they hadn't really seen many pest problems. They have had no issues with bed bugs, but we gave them tips about what to do if a bed bug situation ever occurs. As with other child care facilities, they have had occasional instances of head lice, and we also gave them tips on the best way to handle these.

Upon inspecting the facility, the only pests we found were a ground beetle and some house flies. This time of year, the beetles commonly come in and aren't a huge concern. The flies were found mainly in the kitchen but also elsewhere in the building. The kitchen had an exterior door that led to the trash area, which was really close to the door. We explained that many of the flies could be coming in from there (mainly when staff open and close the door to take out the trash), so recommended they move the trash to the other side of the door and further away, which in itself would probably cut down on the number of flies. Also, we recommended installing yellow lights outside, and inside, putting up fly paper or a fly light to capture flies.

Other recommendations we had for the facility were general ones we have given to other schools and child care centers...sealing cracks and crevices, good sanitation (especially counters, behind appliances, and wherever food is cooked or served),installing and maintaining doorsweeps, screening windows, hanging mops and brooms,and locking cabinets that contain chemicals. Although overall the facility didn't have a lot of clutter, there were a few storage spaces where clutter could be minimized, thus reducing potential harborage for pests.

The owner explained that they have a pest control company come in and do preventive sprays, and we encouraged her to talk with them about doing IPM strategies instead, such as inspection and monitoring. In addition, we provided the staff with sticky traps to put out in the kitchen under sinks and in corners near appliances. Although they have not seen any cockroaches, this is a good way to monitor for pests and make sure there isn't a problem!

Outside we found that some plants were growing into the air conditioner unit and recommended they cut these away from the AC unit and the building to help reduce pest harborage and keep the AC running smoothly!

We were happy to see that none of the child care centers we visited had major pest issues. We are providing all the facilities with written recommendations to help them implement IPM and solve minor pest problems they currently have as well as prevent future pest problems.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Second Child Care Visit

Last Thursday Clyde, Barb, Pierce, Gina and I visited the second of our Lincoln child care centers. This too was a fairly new facility, which included a large basement that is currently being used for storage.

The biggest pest issues that this daycare has experienced is with accidental invaders in the basement, including spiders and millipedes in the basement. The staff has put out sticky traps by the doors and caught many insects that way. At one time there was a "meadow vole" problem, and staff reported seeing "baby" meadow voles entering through the basement. Glue traps were also placed for these. There is no report of problems with cockroaches or mice. The facility has a pest control company come in and do regular preventive sprays. We encouraged them not to do this and to instead work with the pest control company to implement IPM methods.

This facility has its own kitchen, although food is not actually prepared here, just heated up. The cook reported that she sees flies occasionally, but rarely fruit flies. Because there was a service door in the kitchen leading outside and dumpsters were near the building, we would recommend that the cook keep this door closed as much as possible to discourage flies from entering. Also, the service door needed to have its doorsweep replaced. Installing outside security lights with yellow lights would also help cut down on the amount of pests near the building.

The kitchen was clean overall, but needed some extra cleaning around appliances and floor drains. Food such as cereal was in original packaging, so we would recommend it be put in pest-proof containers. We also saw some gaps around pipes here and also in the restrooms.

This child care was unique in that it had a cafeteria in which kids could eat. Most child care centers have children eat in their classrooms. Having a cafeteria will help cut down on the amount of food in other areas and thus help prevent pests in those areas. Staff indicated that they try not to have much food in the classrooms, even for curriculum (i.e. dry pasta). After it's used, they try to move it back to the kitchen whenever possible.

There was a laundry room in this facility. As with the first child care center we visited, we gave them tips about how they could use heat to kill bed bugs if this ever became a problem.

The basement was cluttered, but the staff may convert the basement into more classroom space, so this could be temporary. Still, as a general recommendation we would encourage the facility to reduce clutter whereever possible in classrooms, storage, and the basement.

Because this child care doesn't have a lot of pest issues, we will primarily give them a list of general recommendations to help prevent pests.Through good sanitation, sealing around pipes, keeping doors shut and installed with doorsweeps, and reducing clutter, the facility should be able to reduce potential pest problems.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

First Child Care IPM Assessment

Yesterday Clyde, Pierce, Barb, Gina from the Lancaster County Health Department (who works with training child care providers on health and safety), and I went to do an IPM assessment at the first of three child care centers in Lincoln. This one was the largest of the three, with several classrooms, its own commercial kitchen, a "mom's room,", laundry room, large indoor and outdoor recess areas, and two staff breakrooms. The facility is new construction, only two years old and is being kept in excellent condition.

The director and assistant direct accompanied us on our tour. They reported very few pest problems. They said when the facility was being built and doors were being left open, they had a few mice, but hadn't since. Some mouse traps were still left out, but some of these were being used to catch insects (sticky traps were being placed inside). Ground beetles and "fruit flies" were the only other complaint.

Upon checking all the rooms, we noted that the staff is doing very well overall on keeping the facility in good condition.

For example, the kitchen's cook has been doing an excellent job with maintaining sanitation, especially in cleaning floor drains to prevent buildup that can attract flies and cockroaches. She noted that she'd seen a few fruit flies by the drain, but regularly cleans the drains to try to reduce problems. We also noted that all permanent food prep areas/sinks/fixtures were sealed at the wall junction. The storage closet has open shelves and no wooden pallets, both things we encourage in kitchen storage areas to prevent pests. These are all great IPM approaches!

The classrooms had some clutter and some had small kitchens, but overall were in good shape. One had a pet guinea pig that appeared well cared for. Generally floors were clean throughout the facility, with just a few areas, such as in the laundry room, that could use better sanitation. We also found a rodent ultrasound device that we informed the staff wasn't effective in deterring pests.

We are going to provide general recommendations for this child care center, such as caulking around escutcheon plates on the sinks in the bathrooms, keeping food in a centralized location and in pest proof containers, good sanitation, and reducing clutter. We also noticed mulch and vegetation close to the building around the perimeter, which may be the source of the ground beetles. The facility may want to address this to reduce the number of beetles that come into the building.

Although this child care center has had no problems with bed bugs, we did give them some pointers about what to do in case a problem would ever occur. We advised them to keep a close eye on coat rack areas where children's coats and backpacks might be stored, and the pet cage, since bed bugs would be attracted to the guinea pig at night when people are not around. Since the facility has an onsite laundry room, we recommended drying clothing or backpacks at 120 degrees if bed bugs are suspected. Bed bugs are vulnerable to heat and succumb to it fairly easily.

Overall this was a well maintained child care center that seemed very interested in learning about and implementing IPM strategies to keep pests out or get rid of any that might become a problem. In addition, their pest control technician also seems to be on board--he does not come in and automatically spray but instead recommends IPM approaches. Just what we like to hear!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Bats in the Belfry

Last Friday Clyde, Pierce, wildlife specialist Stephen Vantassel, and I went to visit a child care center located in a church that had reported seeing bats. We met with the director, another child care staff member, a custodian, and a parent who had been involved in capturing one of the bats. They had been seeing several bats inside, and had caught them either with containers or gloves. In all cases, they've followed rabies protocol and had the bats tested. All have turned out negative, but with the children and staff in the building, it's especially important to find the source and prevent more bats from entering.

We suggested that on the inside, the staff screen all vents and openings, such as around pipes. We also noted that they should fill in gaps under the doors with thick towels or rubber stoppers, and to keep doors shut at night to prevent bats from moving to different rooms. Doors during cleaning and trash removal should also be kept shut.

A trip outside the church revealed many large gaps and bat droppings in many locations. We recommended that the staff install one-way bat doors on gaps rather than sealing them immediately. Sealing them could cause the bats to try to find another way out, which in this case might be inside the building. A recent roof repair might have also contributed to some of the bat activity inside. The one-way door will allow the bat to fly out of its roosting/living area, but it won't be able to find its way back in. Once the child care staff are sure the bats are gone out of an area, then they can seal up the gaps. We did find one actual living bat in a gap.

We also mentioned that the staff might want to initiate a "bat watch." Near sundown, people can be stationed at each corner of the building and watch for the comings and goings of bats. That would help in determining exactly where they are living/roosting and help target control efforts.

Other pest issues the staff will want to address include cutting tree limbs away from the walls so that squirrels or other animals can't access the building. Also, weedy areas near the building are great mice habitat and a weed free zone of 12-15 inches should be established around the entire structure.

We wrote a set of recommendations and sent them to the child care center, outlining many IPM methods that can be used to solve their bat problem. We hope to hear some good news about the bat sightings once the staff implements these strategies!

For more information about bats and bat control, check out our Bat Nebguide.

Monday, August 29, 2011

IPM in Child Care Centers

We have arranged to visit 3 child care facilities (of different sizes) in the next few weeks to do IPM assessments. We will report our findings on Oct 5th during a presentation we are doing for child care providers through the Lancaster Health Department.

We are also planning to visit a fourth child care center that is having problems with bats.

Look for more updates after we complete our visits!

Monday, August 15, 2011

PACT Meeting in Portland

We just returned from Portland, OR, where Clyde, Pierce, Jan, our new Nebraska Department of Agriculture colleague, Mark, county educator Robert Tigner, and I all attended the 2011 Pesticide Applicator Certification and Training conference. This national meeting is held every other year (with Regional meetings in between) and provides a chance for PSEP colleagues around the country to network and discuss new ideas. Session topics included pesticide exposure and PPE, the Ag Health Study, NPIC resources, improving PPT presentations, soil fumigation, using Adobe Connect and Present, and IPM, just to name a few.

We were very pleasantly surprised to have many comments from colleagues about our YouTube dramatization video work! A colleague from North Dakota even showed a clip in his presentation of our What to Wear video about PPE, and said how he has used it in his own training. It was great to find out that other state counterparts are enjoying and using our training videos.

The day before the conference began, our group had the opportunity to go on a tour that demonstrated Oregon agriculture or good IPM/pesticide practices. We visited Oregon Berry Packing Company, an Oregon hazelnut store, Fisher Farms nursery, International Rose Test Garden, and Nike World Headquarters.

Attendees also got to enjoy a social outing during our stay, with dinner at Queen Anne Victorian Mansion and its outdoor gardens. And before we went home, some of my colleagues and I couldn't miss a stop at Powell's City of Books, which is a city block long and 5 stories high! After that, it was off to Old Town Pizza, which is supposedly haunted by a ghost from the 1800's!

Our next national meeting will be held in the twin cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul) in Minnesota. As someone who lived in MN for five years as a child, I'm greatly looking forward to getting back to the state!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

How to Conduct IPM in Schools video

It's finally here! "How to Conduct IPM in Schools," the video we produced to teach schools about implementing IPM in their facilities, is completed and available on our Youtube Channel. I encourage you to take a look!

Through dramatization, the video outlines the steps UNL Extension takes when conducting IPM demonstration projects in schools. This includes working with school administration, staff, and pest management professionals; implementing IPM strategies such as sanitation, trapping, and exclusion; teaching IPM to custodial, food service, and other staff; and helping administration develop an IPM policy.

We hope to distribute this video to Nebraska and other school districts that may be interested in learning more about and implementing IPM in their facilities.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

IPM in Schools Coalition

We had a great half day educational IPM in Schools coalition meeting today! In addition to the donuts and pizza, there were a lot of great reasons that people joined us :-)

About 22 people attended, including representatives from OPS and LPS, child care (Lancaster County Health Dept and Dept of Education), pest management professionals, UNL Extension, EPA, and NDA. Presentations included Clyde's introduction to Nebraska IPM projects, including tribal IPM, the revision of the IPM manual, and the completion of the "Conducting IPM in Schools" video. Barb presented about bed bugs and James Pelowski and Spots from K9 Bed Bug Detection did a bed bug sniffing dog demonstration. After the break, I spoke about pests, pesticides and health, including findings in recent studies such as the Ag Health Study and Farm Family Exposure study. Finally, Brad Smith, a PMP in West Des Moines, IA, talked about his experiences working with school facility managers on implementing IPM in their schools.

Following the meeting, we had lunch and networking and got a lot of good feedback and ideas for future meetings. We also spoke with the coalition members involved in child care and are planning to do presentations and projects in that area in coming months.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Greenhouse Videos

We have two new PSEP videos up on our UNLExtensionPSEP YouTube channel! The first is a visit with a greenhouse owner, who discusses his operation and what is involved in growing produce that will go to farmer's markets and other venues: http://www.youtube.com/user/UNLExtensionPSEP#p/u/4/o34z4Z-FmuY

The second video, formatted like a newscast feature, explores Worker Protection Standard procedures in a greenhouse: http://www.youtube.com/user/UNLExtensionPSEP#p/u/5/pUO6xV0UUKk

Enjoy these and other PSEP videos we have available on our YouTube channel about IPM and pesticide education and safety!

Coming soon...the much anticipated "How to Conduct IPM in Schools" video!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"Mock" Bed Bug Inspection

Last week Clyde, Barb, our UNL videographer and I went to an apartment to stage a mock bed bug inspection for an interactive video project. We walked through all the steps of what someone might do to check for and treat for a bed bug infestation, including many IPM strategies. I will highlight some of these steps here.

One of the first things to do is inspect in and around the bed by taking down the bedclothes and checking the bedspread, pillowcases, sheets, and mattress pad. These should then be put into a large plastic bag, carried to the laundry room, and washed and dried.

Next, inspect the mattress, especially around the seams. You should also look at the box springs, including removing the dust cloth. In addition, remove the headboard if possible, check behind picture frames above the headboard, and pull the bed away from the wall.

Besides the bed, you should look at drawers, cracks and crevices, and other potential hiding places within the infested room. Couches and recliners are also good bed bug harborage locations.

After examining the mattress, you can put bed bug encasements on the box springs and mattress, which prevents any bed bugs that are already on the bed from getting out and feeding on you at night. It also prevents new bed bugs from getting into the seams of the mattress and in and under the box springs.

To prevent bed bugs from other locations from crawling up the bed posts, you can install "intercepters," which are little plastic devices that can be placed under bed posts at night. Bed bugs can crawl up these, but then fall into a "pit" that they are unable to get back out of. This is good for monitoring the bed bug population and an additional benefit is capturing bed bugs that otherwise would be feeding on people!

In addition to a human inspection, you may choose to hire a bed-bug sniffing dog! These dogs are trained to hone in on the scent of live bed bugs and can find bugs that a human may not. In our video we featured "Spots," a rat terrier from Nebraska's K9 Bed Bug Detection. According to his handler, Spots is 95% accurate in finding bed bugs, where humans average 30-40%. After putting some "scent" from bed bugs in the couch and the bed, we watched as Spots did his job, and he hit on these areas very accurately!

If there is a heavy infestation, pesticide application may be necessary. Some low toxic products, such as diatomacheous earth, can be placed in hard to reach areas, such as behind electrical outlets. Pesticides such as DDT that were used in WWII and before to control bed bugs have been banned due to the health risks to humans. Research is being done to find new treatments, as bed bugs have shown resistance to a lot of chemistry that used to successfully control them. In our video we spoke with a PMP, who explained inspection and treatment options for a homeowner dealing with bed bugs. With the resurgence of bed bugs, more PMPs are responding to calls about this pest and serving as educational resources. They are using a combination of techniques, including not only what has been mentioned here, but also vaccuming, steam, and heat treatments.

To read more about bed bugs, check out this article from the Lancaster County Extension Office. You can also view more photos of our mock inspection from our PSEP Facebook page.

NOTE: No live bed bugs were harmed during the filming of this video :-) We only used ones that were already dead!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

IPM Contest Winner!

Congratulations goes to Frannie Miller for winning the IPM Inspection Kit in our first PSEP Facebook Contest! Our winner wrote: "If I were to win the grand prize, I would use it when I promote IPM principles to schools, daycares, and housing complexes. It would also be nice to have a kit like this to illustrate the types of tools that would be beneficial to have as you are conducting an evaluation of a site!"

We thank all our contest participants, and all of those who became our fans (we increased from 114 to 131 fans during the two week contest period)! We had many great comments and it's obvious that IPM is very important to everyone.

Look for another PSEP Facebook contest in the Fall!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Second Visit to Nebraska Tribal Schools

On Tuesday Clyde, Mike Daniels, Mark Shour and I made our second visit to the Winnebago and Omaha tribal schools. They have had a lot of flooding up in that area, but thankfully the schools aren't having any issues. It did rain consistently all day, but was just a light misty rain, and since we had done our outdoor assessment on the first trip, we didn't have to do a lot outside.

During this visit, our focus was to check the traps we had placed during our initial visit. We were very happy to see that none of the schools had much of a pest problem. The biggest potential problem were moth flies in one of the kitchens, which deep cleaning of the drains should remedy. Although we also found individual moth flies and one German cockroach in other schools, none of these seemed to indicate a major infestation.

For our third visit, we are planning an educational inservice for the tribal schools, and hope to get food service staff, custodians, teachers and administration involved.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Last Week to Enter IPM Contest!

Don't forget to enter the Integrated Pest Management Contest on UNL's PSEP Facebook page!

The contest ends this Friday and we'll be selecting a winner on June 20th! Tell us about how you use IPM in your school, workplace, or other structure and you could win a cool IPM Inspection kit that includes a magnifier, tool pouch, leatherman, flashlight, mirror, forceps, and other tools that will make your IPM efforts easier and more effective!

Monday, June 6, 2011

IPM Contest!

It's IPM Contest Time! Here's the announcement:

Our UNL Pesticide Safety Education Program would like to announce a contest for all of our Facebook friends and fans! The focus of the contest is integrated pest management, or IPM. IPM uses a variety of methods to deal with pests, including sanitation, exclusion (screening windows or sealing holes), habitat modification (fixing water leaks), mechanical controls (such as trapping), and using pesticides with low toxicity. We are limiting this contest to IPM in structures such as homes, schools, child care facilities, office buildings, etc.

The contest will run June 6th through 17th, and we will select a grand prize winner on June 20th! The grand prize will be an IPM kit containing a tool pouch, mirror, flashlight, Leatherman, putty knife, insect forceps/tweezers, collection vial, and insect ID magnifier and is valued at over $100!

If you are unfamiliar with IPM concepts, please visit http://pested.unl.edu/schoolipm for more information.

To enter the contest, please visit our PSEP Facebook page. Click the "Like" button to become a fan, then respond using the comment section within the "Notes" tab to reply to both of the following:

Please describe how you use IPM at home, work, school (or other building structure)? And, if you win the grand prize, how will you use its contents to better your IPM efforts?

Limit 1 comment/contest entry per person. UNL employees are encouraged to share their IPM use descriptions, but are ineligible to win the grand prize due to official policy.

Thanks for your participation and good luck!!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Final OPS and LPS visits

On June 1 and 2, Clyde, Barb, Stephen and I conducted the final (fifth) visits at our OPS and LPS schools for the IPM demonstration project. First we met to discuss any questions the school representatives had. We also learned about some novel approaches the schools had taken to address pests. The IPM Coordinator at OPS has, for example, turned his dust buster into a "bug buster," and uses it to suck up wasps. In addition, sand that is applied to OPS' driveways in the winter to prevent slippage is swept up in the spring and used to create weed free zones. LPS has posted our recommendations on kitchen bulletin boards to help staff know what to look for and what IPM strategies to use in their areas.

Both schools have made significant strides in reducing pests and pesticide use and increasing monitoring, sanitation, recordkeeping, and other IPM principles. It is our hope that both school districts establish written IPM policies and maintain IPM efforts through good communication between pest management professionals and the school staff.

The UNL Extension team will be providing LPS and OPS with a final "checklist" of information about progress made throughout the demonstration process, and also emphasized that we will be available to help both school districts with questions or concerns as they move toward IPM STAR Certification. Many of the school staff and PMPs we worked with in LPS and OPS will also continue to be involved in the IPM coalition.

Props goes to LPS and OPS for all their hard work and efforts in making IPM a reality in these Nebraska school districts!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

IPM in Schools Process Video Coming Soon!

Back in March I blogged about the IPM in Schools video that we filmed here in Lincoln. The editing process is almost complete and "How to Conduct IPM in Schools" will soon be ready to post on YouTube and to send to Nebraska schools.

This video takes the viewer through the steps involved in conducting an IPM in Schools demonstration. It is intended as an introduction to other school districts who may be interested in doing IPM in their buildings.

We have created a teaser trailer for the movie...Jimmy the PSEP robot is back! Keep an eye on this blog for an announcement about the official release date :-)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Upcoming IPM Contest!

Calling all IPMers out there! Visit our Facebook page beginning June 6 and write about your experiences with IPM in schools, at home, in the workplace (or other buildings) and enter to win a cool IPM Inspection kit.

Keep checking here and on our PSEP Facebook page for more information as the date grows closer. In the meantime, enjoy this fun promo where Jimmy the PSEP robot discusses the IPM contest.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Child Care IPM

Yesterday Clyde, Barb and I attended the Nebraska Child Care Directors meeting and presented about IPM, cockroaches, mice, bed bugs, and head lice to about 20 child care directors.

There has been a recent trend toward establishing IPM in Child Care Centers, which share some commonalities with schools (many have kitchens, storage areas, etc.) as well as differences (most dealing with younger children that crawl on the floor and are in closer contact with the environment around them). We emphasized many of the same IPM concepts to control pests, such as good sanitation, reducing clutter, sealing cracks and crevices, using non-toxic or lower toxic methods such as trapping, and habitat modification. There were many questions, especially concerns about head lice and bed bugs.

In October we will be doing a similar presentation to child care providers through the Lancaster Country Health Department and it is our hope that we may be able to conduct IPM pilots in interested day cares as we have done in schools. Stay tuned for more on this in the near future!

Friday, May 6, 2011

NRD Nature Nights 2011

Last year I blogged about the Nebraska Resource District Nature Nights, which are held annually at various local Lincoln schools. This environmental education program features booths from UNL Extension, NRD, Lincoln Children's Zoo, Pioneers Park, Morrill Hall, and many other nature-related organizations or programs.

About 150 youth and parents attended last night's event (one of several offered in 2011). I had a booth that provided youth with information about various Nebraska insect species (including large number of pests!) using insect displays and live insects. They also received a set of insect trading cards and Pest Private Eye comic books. I was asked a lot of questions about pests, and was really excited to see the interest kids had in insects. I also had attending parents and teachers point out pest problems they had and was able to tell them more about using IPM for catching and controlling pests (cockroaches being a big one).

Thursday, April 28, 2011

IPM Coalition Meeting

Yesterday we had our second IPM coalition meeting of 2011. We had around 15 participants either in person or through teleconference representing LPS and OPS, Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA), EPA, UNL Extension, Nebraska Health and Human Services, and tribes.

We had two speakers--Allen Grell from Keep Nebraska Beautiful, and Craig Romary, from NDA, who gave presentations about chemical cleanout programs/responsible chemical management in schools and household hazardous waste disposal programs in Nebraska. The goal is to get rid of hazardous chemicals, such as pesticides and science class chemicals that are either outdated, dangerous, or not used/needed by schools. Many of these chemicals have been kept in storage because the school didn't know how to dispose of them. These programs, through grant dollars or through established locations like "Under the Sink" in Omaha hope to reduce the amount of these chemicals and thus improve human health and safety and protect the environment.

We also discussed our demonstration school projects at LPS and OPS. The fifth visit for both schools is coming up--June 1 for OPS and June 2 for LPS. At that time we will do our final walkthrough and discuss more details about IPM STAR. Even though the demonstration project is ending, Clyde and I will be available to help the schools prepare for and receive IPM STAR certification.

Mike Daniels updated the group on our efforts in the tribal schools. He is still working on setting up the second visit.

Finally, we promoted our half day educational coalition meeting on July 27 that will include presentations on pests,pesticides and health, the tribal IPM project, bed bugs (including an appearance from Spots), and PMP work with facility managers.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day!

This seems a great time for us to reflect on what we can do to improve our environment and make it a healthier and safer place for humans and animals (the non pest kind!) to live! Recycling, using less water, maintaining rain gardens, keeping our thermostats down...all are great strategies. And of course, IPM fits very well into this because by using fewer pesticides and instead using more "environmentally friendly" ways to control pests such as exclusion, trapping, habitat modification, and sanitation, we are helping to improve human health as well as protect our environmental resources.

Keep up the good work, IPMers!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Tribal School IPM

Mike Daniels, Nebraska tribal Pesticide Circuit Rider, contacted us about doing an IPM in Schools demonstration project for two Omaha tribal schools, two Winnebago tribal schools, and one Iowa tribal school. On April 5-7, Clyde, Mike, and I visited the Nebraska tribes and conducted our initial assessment of their schools. We looked for conducive conditions, especially in kitchens, teacher lounges, science and home ec rooms, bathrooms, and around the perimeter; visited with administration, teachers, and custodial staff to find out what types of pest problems they had experienced; and took notes and photos that we'll use to write up recommendations for the school.

School staff reported having seen mice, flies, and an occasional roach in their facilities. They also said that boxelder bugs and multicolored Asian lady beetles were a problem. We observed this ourselves as many of the school perimeters had aggregated boxelder bugs around open holes or pipe penetrations. In one case, a panel was falling from the outside of the building and boxelder bugs were congregated on the windows on the inside as well as the outside. Sealing these areas will be a pretty simple fix to keep out these accidental invaders. Surprisingly enough, we also spotted queen paper wasps in some of the same areas, "getting along" with their boxelder bug neighbors as they searched for a nesting spot.

As with most schools, sanitation, sealing gaps, cracks, and areas around pipe penetrations, and installing good doorsweeps is a general recommendation that will help these schools reduce any pest problems. Throwing away cardboard in food storage areas, keeping food in pest proof containers, and reducing clutter is another good strategy.

We placed sticky traps out in locations such as custodial closets, kitchens, storage rooms, teachers lounges, and under the sinks in home ec rooms. We will check these on our next visit to monitor pest populations and determine any "hot spots."

As with LPS and OPS, our tribal school demonstration project will be year long and consist of 5 visits. On Tuesday we'll be visiting a tribe in Iowa, and Mike, Clyde and I will be joined by Mark Shour of Iowa State.

Stay tuned to this blog for updates about this project as it moved forward!