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 The goal is to get rid of hazardous chemicals, such as pesticides and science class chemicals that are either outdated, dangerous, or not used/needed by schools.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!