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 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:
  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:
  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!