Thursday, October 18, 2012

Making Sense of the Notification Requirements for School IPM

We get a lot of questions from maintenance directors, school IPM coordinators, and other school personnel regarding proper notification procedures for school IPM. Following is a set of “Frequently Asked Questions,” which can also be found on our website (, which may help clear up any uncertainties.

When did the notification requirement become effective?

All public schools were required to begin the notification process effective October 1, 2006.

Who must be notified?

Schools are required to notify the parents/guardians of school children, as well as the teachers and other staff in their school system.

Who is responsible for notifying the parents, guardians, and staff at a particular school (or facility) about pesticide applications? 

The school principal (or site director) or the principal’s/director’s designee is responsible for the notification process. Some school districts may designate the maintenance director or IPM coordinator to handle the notifications.

How often must parents/guardians and school staff be notified? 

All parents, guardians, and staff must receive notification once a year (annually) for all scheduled pesticide applications. Most schools send this notification out at the beginning of each school year. Part of the annual notification should include a section informing parents, teachers, and staff of their right to receive 72-hour advance notice of any unscheduled pesticide applications using a non-exempt pesticide or non-exempt method of application.

Must every parent, guardian, and school staff be notified of pesticide applications at every site in the school system? 

At a minimum, parents and guardians must be notified about school buildings, grounds, and sites where their children attend. They may also request notification for any other site(s) of concern to them. Similarly, staff members must be notified for the facility (or facilities) where they work and for any other sites of concern to them. 

Are schools required to post notices in areas of a school/building when it is scheduled to be treated?

 No. At this time, the School Children’s Health Act does not require that schools post notices in areas of school property that may be treated during routine pest control services.

What pesticides, formulations, or application methods are exempted from notification? 

Self-contained baits (such as cockroach bait stations snf ant bait stations), disinfectants, biological cleansers, and pesticides applied to cracks and crevices (i.e., not to exposed surfaces). In addition, all formulations and application methods for products classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as Toxicity Category IV pesticides (i.e., pesticides that do not require “Caution” signal word on the product label) are exempted from notification.

Does the notification requirement apply when we use products purchased at local retail stores?

Yes. Notification is required for all non-exempt products (and non-exempt application methods), regardless of whether you use professional products or those available to the general public at retail stores.

Are we required to notify parents and staff about herbicide treatments to football fields or other areas of school? 

Yes, herbicide treatments (both granular and liquid formulations) on school grounds are subject to the notification requirements.

Where does the principal or principal’s designee obtain the information for pesticide use notification purposes? 

The superintendent is required to designate an IPM coordinator for the entire school district. Principals can get pesticide use information from the school district’s IPM coordinators. If your school district does not yet have a designated IPM coordinator, contact the facilities or maintenance director for pesticide use information.

Where can I find sample notification letters or forms? 

Sample notification forms are available at the NCSU School IPM website resource page.

Four sample forms are available: Sample Annual Notification form, Sample Request for Notification form, Sample Emergency Notification form, and Sample Non-exempted Pesticide Application form.

How does the principal determine who wants the 72-hour advance notification? 

The annual notice (Sample Annual Notification form) should be accompanied by instructions for requesting 72-hour advance notification (Request for Advance Pesticide Use Notification form) for non-exempt pesticide applications. The principal (or designee) can then prepare a registry of names and contact information of parents, guardians, and staff requesting the advance notification for future use. Some school districts may find it easier to notify every parent, guardian, and staff member about a non-exempt unscheduled pesticide application any time that one occurs at their school/facility. The advantage of this approach is that it eliminates the need to keep track of who has requested advance notification. This is a matter that your school board may wish to address in formulating its IPM policy.

Note: If no one requests notification of unscheduled pesticide applications, then the school is not obligated to send out notices other than the annual notice.

Is there a specific method of notifying parents, guardians, and staff about pesticide applications?

There is no required method for notifying parents, guardians, and staff about pesticide applications. Annual notifications can be distributed along with other routine information that is distributed at the beginning of the school year. The 72-hour advance notice may pose more of a challenge. In many cases, school districts already have an effective means of notifying parents, teachers and staff about time-sensitive issues. Here are some examples of methods through which schools can notify parents, guardians and staff:
  • Voice-mail: Many schools now use voicemail notification systems to leave messages for parents and staff 
  • Email/text messages to parents and guardians 
  • Bulletin boards: Written notices posted on school bulletin boards (for annual notification rather than as the primary means for unscheduled/emergency applications) 
  • Individual notices (primarily for staff) through inter-office mail, e-mails, and in-house PA/TV announcements 
  • Websites: Pesticide use information can be posted on school websites, although there is no guarantee that users will check the site in a timely manner for specific pesticide applications. The sample notification forms, list of pesticides, MSDS & labels, and other relevant information can also be posted on the website for easy access. 
  • Student-Parent Handbook: Pesticide notification information can be included in school documents (this could be used for annual notification) 
  • Employee Handbooks: Pesticide notification information can be included in school documents 
If we follow all the notification guidelines and the 72-hour advance notification, can the parents, guardians or staff who receive advance notification prevent the school from applying the pesticides? 

If a pesticide treatment is deemed necessary, then schools should work with the parents, guardians, and staff to provide alternate arrangements such as allowing the student or employee to remain home or work elsewhere around the timeframe when the treatment is made. Or the school may try to postpone the treatment to a date when the building will be closed for an extended period of time (for example, a weekend or holiday). Note: Except for true emergencies, rarely is there a need for a non-exempt treatment to take place during school hours. In many cases, an exempt product/application method can be done as a temporary measure. Regardless of the situation, most pesticide labels require (or at least recommend) that the room/area be unoccupied during and immediately after the treatment.

Is notification required for a members of a visiting school attending a sporting or other event or for private athletics organizations (such as youth football or little league baseball groups) using the school’s facilities? 

No. Because these groups are not sponsored by the local school, the school is not obligated to notify them of the pesticide applications but can do so as a courtesy or general policy.

Do the notification requirements also apply to staff at non-school administrative sites? 

Yes. The School Children’s Health Act covers all school district property. As such staff at all school district sites, whether they work in a school or an administrative building must be notified accordingly when pesticides will be applied in their workplace. 

Should parents, guardians and staff be notified in summer when students are not at the school site? 

Parents and guardians do not need to be notified in summer, unless the students are using the buildings, fields or facilities for normal academic instruction (summer school or year-round instruction), or for school-sponsored or organized extracurricular activities. However, staff working year-round in the schools or locations must be notified.

We hope this set of “Frequently Asked Questions” helps clarify the procedures for notification in schools. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Patty Alder at

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Kudzu Bugs

We've had two reports (Scotland County and Union County) that kudzu bugs are moving out of soybean fields and congregating on structures, including schools and school buses. This move out of host plants was anticipated but perhaps not this soon. As to why it's happening now is pure speculation, but favorable weather, particularly early this year, likely contributed to this early exodus as the adult bugs head into reproductive diapause.

The kudzu bug's fall movement indoors is very similar to what we've experienced since the 1990’s with the Asian lady beetle. The major difference between the two insects is that the Asian lady beetle is actually beneficial as a biological control agent, chomping down on aphids and other plant-feeding insects. By contrast, the kudzu bug's primary food source (aside from kudzu) happens to be field crops, such as soybeans, where they can significantly impact yield. So, this pest packs a double-whammy for North Carolinians.

The kudzu bugs’ fondness of soybeans is one reason why we could see significant numbers of them invading schools and other buildings, even in rural areas. In more urban areas, there are plenty of other hosts such as wisteria and privet. The insects are quite mobile; they are capable of catching rides on wind currents, automobiles, trucks, trains and planes. This helps explain why this pest has managed to spread in from north-central Georgia and through most of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia (plus west into Mississippi) in just about 3 years time.

At this point, we still do not have anything new to report in terms of recommendations as to how you might address this problem. Kudzu bugs are attracted to light-colored surfaces but that certainly doesn't mean that brick buildings or those with dark-colored siding will escape the bug invasion. While people are going to want shortcuts and easy solutions, there simply aren't any. The emphasis still has to be on exclusion because chemical control is still only partially effective and relies primarily on directly targeting the insects that are aggregating on surfaces. Preventive sprays are not recommended - because they simply won't be durable enough to last the weeks during which these insects will be actively seeking overwintering sites.

If the problem is severe and you decide that pesticides are warranted, focus your applications around window frames and doorframes. If you use a pyrethroid for your treatment, don’t forget about the new label restrictions. The new label restrictions specify that other than applications to building foundations (which may be treated up to a maximum height of 3 feet), all outdoor applications to impervious surfaces (i.e., windows, doors, siding, sidewalks, patios, etc.) are limited to spot and crack-and-crevice applications only. Remember, a crack-and-crevice treatment is defined as the application of small amounts of insecticide to cracks and crevices in which insects hide or through which they may enter a building. Because crack-and-crevice applications are considered exempt, notification would not be required. A spot treatment is defined as pesticide application to limited areas (an area not exceeding 2 square feet) on which insects are likely to occur. Spot treatments are not considered exempt – so be sure to follow proper notification guidelines if you decide that spot treatments are needed. Under the new pyrethroid labeling, you are allowed to treat the underside of eaves, or the soffit, but again, because this would not be considered a crack-and-crevice treatment, notification would be required.

If large numbers of kudzu bugs make it indoors, simply vacuum them up. The use of pesticides indoors is not warranted and will be largely ineffective in this case.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

West Nile Virus in NC, by Mike Waldvogel

Many of you probably saw or read reports about increased incidences of West Nile Virus across the U.S. with the notable exception of a few states, including North Carolina. However, Wayne County has reported a death attributed to West Nile Virus. At this point, there are only a few details being provided about the person which is to be expected due to health records privacy laws. However, the announcement from the Wayne County Health Director’s office (as reported by the Goldsboro News-Argus) described the victim as “elderly."

Only about 1% of people who become infected develop severe illness, and many people may not become sick at all. In cases of people who do develop symptoms (which takes 3-14 days), many of them may not attribute it to the virus until it becomes severe. Among people that develop severe illness (i.e., excluding those individuals who exhibit minimal or no symptoms), the mortality rate ranges from about 3% to 15%, with the rate being highest among the elderly (as likely the case mentioned above).

West Nile Virus occurs far less frequently in people in North Carolina as compared to other nearby states and it is far less frequent here than other mosquito-borne diseases such as Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and LaCrosse Encephalitis (LAC). EEE is more common in eastern NC while LAC is found primarily in western NC. Birds are the “amplifying hosts” for the virus, which basically means that infected mosquitoes transmit the virus to birds which are in turn bitten by other mosquitoes which acquire the virus and spread it to even more
birds. Some mosquitoes species feed primarily on birds but the species that will readily feed on both birds and mammals are the ones that pose the risk of spreading the disease to people. The mosquito species that transmit West Nile Virus tend to breed in wastewater
collection areas and stagnating catch-basins. You can also find them breeding where water collects after storms and begins to stagnate with the abundant organic matter present. So, one obvious approach for residents is to make sure that they clear stagnating water sources on their property. It doesn’t matter if this water is on a 1000 acre farm or on a 0.1 acre home lot; water that collects and stagnates has the potential to become a mosquito breeding site. Across most of North Carolina, the Asian tiger mosquito remains our most common pest species and it will exploit similar pools of stagnating water on the ground and in man-made objects.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, substantial rainfall (as we have seen recently in many areas) is inevitably going to lead to a rise in mosquito activity and the first response by individuals should focus on disrupting those breeding pools rather than worrying about what to spray in their yard. These were some of the particular points I mentioned previously, but they're worth noting again:

  • Bird baths - simply flush them out with a garden hose and you flush out the mosquito larvae in the process. Plus, the birds will appreciate the fresh water. For horse owners with water troughs near stalls or out in pastures, one option is to use a product such as "Mosquito Dunks" which contain the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, which kills the mosquito larvae (not the adults). Although you can use them in outdoor water bowls for pets, it is far simpler (and better for your animals) if you “tip and toss” the water from the bowl and replenish it with fresh water *daily*.
  • Old cans, tires, etc. - empty them and get rid of them (legally, don't simply toss them along the highway to become someone else’s problem).
  • Outdoor flower pots - empty the water from the dishes/trays underneath them. Your plants have plenty of water without the overflow. This also helps reduce fungus gnat problems in the plant soil.
  • Remove all of that built-up debris from your gutters. The water and decaying material attract mosquitoes.
  • Rain barrels – if you collect water from your gutters or some other system, make sure the barrel is screened to keep out debris and mosquitoes.
  • Tarps that cover your boat, grill, firewood, etc. also collect pockets of water that can remain for 1-2 weeks.
  • The bed of that '57 Ford pickup that you've been “restoring” for the last 25 years can collect water particularly if the tailgate faces uphill in your yard.
  • Kids' pools - if they're not being used by kids, they're probably being used by the mosquitoes (and maybe some toads) – empty them. The same thing applies to pools (in ground or above ground) that aren't maintained (e.g., pools on abandoned or foreclosed properties).
  • Drainage ditches - they're meant to collect storm water temporarily. Keep them free of debris so that water flows and has time to filter into the soil.
  • Decorative fish ponds can be a source of mosquitoes if they contain a lot of vegetation that provides hiding places for the mosquito larvae. “Mosquito Dunks” are an option here.
  • Tree holes - when limbs fall off trees, the remaining hole in the trunk can collect water. Flush that out or put a small piece of a mosquito dunk into it.
Another critical matter – personal protection. The majority of mosquito-borne disease incidences, whether they’re human or equine, are due to a lack of personal protection. Horse owners need to spend the time and money to get their horses vaccinated against EEE. For
us two-legged creatures, we simply need to take precautions when we’re outdoors for work or recreation. If it’s too uncomfortable to wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, then cover all *exposed* areas of the skin with an insect repellent (see 

A few other important points about using repellents:
  • Do not put repellent on skin that will be covered by clothing.
  • Children spend a lot of time outdoors, particularly when school is not in session. The greater the amount of time spent outdoors can increase the likelihood of getting bitten by a mosquito (and potentially a higher likelihood of being bitten by an infected mosquito). Before applying a repellent to a child, read the label carefully to make sure that it contains concentration appropriate for use on children.
  • When using repellents on children - you should apply the product to your hands and then rub it on their arms, legs, neck, etc. If you allow your child to rub repellent on their arms and legs, they need to wash their hands immediately afterwards because they will inevitably forget and either rub their eyes or stick their fingers in their mouths.
One other point that I mentioned a few weeks ago - mosquitoes have no concept of property lines. They are simply out there looking for a blood meal whether it's you or your neighbor. Mosquito "control" may be a matter of spraying chemicals to reduce the population below
nuisance levels. On the other hand, mosquito *management* is what is often needed. It is a long-term proactive project that requires a community effort in order to succeed.

We have information on mosquito control on the web at

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Those Darn Ants!

Foraging Argentine ants (Photo: Alex Wild).
How many times have you been called to the teachers’ lounge, a classroom, or bathroom because someone has seen ants in and around a sink or other water source? Let's run through what might be a typical scenario:

Your look around and rule out the presence of a leak or other plumbing issue. You determine that the ants are just after whatever water is in the sink. You spend some timing looking around, but because the ants haven’t established a foraging trail, you can’t figure out how they are getting in.

So you do what you can in this situation – perhaps you make a crack-and-crevice application into any obvious cracks or gaps in an effort to keep the ants out. Maybe you even seal up a couple of gaps with some caulk or other sealant. You go through your regular spiel about making sure that food is stored properly, garbage is taken out regularly, excess water is wiped up, etc. And you’re done.

Until you get another call about ants in the same area – just a couple of days later! So, you go back, look around again – this time taking even a little more time to check for potential entry points.You know that for optimal results, you really need to find and treat the source (i.e., the nest). So you go outside and look for a nearby ant nest but find nothing. You watch the ants closely, but never see where they are coming from or going to. So you make another, more thorough crack-and-crevice application into the gaps in the area. You treat a few extra openings that you somehow missed before. And you’re done.

You wish! You get yet another call about ants in the same area. So, what can you do now? What is going on?

Well, I can tell you that I’ve had this exact same problem occur at my house – in my kitchen around the sink. And I tried everything that I wrote about above. I checked outside for a nearby nest but found nothing. Since I could find no nest, I realized that my best bet would be to attempt to keep the ants out of my house. So I treated all the obvious gaps with a crack-and-crevice insecticidal spray. I sealed up whatever openings I could see. Yet, I kept getting ants around my kitchen sink. I watched the ants carefully to try and determine exactly where they were getting in. But I could find nothing, because while there were several ants around the sink, there was never a real distinct foraging trail.

Ants recruited and feeding on jelly 
(Photo: Patty Alder).
Then it hit me: I realized that in order to find the entry point(s), I needed a distinct foraging trail. So I placed a very small dab of apple jelly on a piece of cardboard, placed it on the counter near the ants…. and waited. It didn’t take long – maybe 20 minutes or so – for more ants to show up (see photo at right).

Pretty soon, I had myself a pretty distinct trail of ants going from my kitchen sink to…. a small opening where the caulk had come out in an area on the counter right behind my sink. (see photos below). A small opening that I had overlooked! So I treated that opening with a crack-and-crevice spray and guess what? No more ants!

Foraging trail can be followed from the jelly down 
the window frame (Photo: Patty Alder).
Ants were coming in through a gap in the counter 
behind the sink (Photo: Patty Alder).
If you have this issue with ants, set out a bit of jelly on an index card in a couple of areas where you are seeing the ant activity. If the ants are in a classroom, make sure you explain to the teacher that he/she needs to keep the children away from the area so as not to interfere with the ants’ activity. Check back in about 30 minutes for a trail of foraging ants and carefully follow the ants to see if you can determine how they are gaining entry into the area. If jelly does not seem to attract the ants, you could try a small piece of cheese or a potato chip (I wouldn’t use peanut butter in schools because of all the issues with allergies). Once you figure out where the ants are coming in, you can treat that opening with a crack-and-crevice application. You may even want to seal up the opening after it has been treated.

Good luck and happy ant hunting!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bed Bugs and Book Bags

The University of Florida teamed up with the Jacksonville Bed Bug Task Force to create the “Bed Bugs and Book Bags” curriculum for grades 3-5 (the kids that seem to bring the most bed bugs to school).

The "Bed Bugs and Book Bags" curriculum follows learning standards for science and health educators, but many housing authorities have on-site after school programs that could use the activities. Any organization that works with kids should know about these lessons.

Check out the curriculum at

After watching a presentation (meant to give teachers the facts they need to teach their students) and passing a quick quiz, the lessons can be downloaded. If you’re already a bed bug pro, you can fast forward through the presentation and should still pass the test with flying colors.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Warmer Weather Bringing Out Some Pests, by Mike Waldvogel

Ground-nesting bees. Warm temperatures and the recent rains are promoting a burst of insect activity. We received a call a couple of weeks ago from a school system about "swarms" of bees showing up on the school grounds. These are most likely the solitary “digger” bees, particularly andrenid bees. Colletid bees will follow suit within a few weeks. People often mistake andrenid bees for honey bees because they are similar in appearance, although typically have blackish abdomens and light-yellow hairs.

Andrenid bee (Photo by Tony DiTerlizzi)
The bees begin foraging for food and seeking out new nesting sites. This activity will continue for the next 2 months or so depending on the area of the state and the species of bee. The bees dig a vertical tunnel in the soil, particularly in areas where the soil drains well and vegetation may be sparse. They make small side chambers off the main tunnel and provision them with pollen for their offspring. These bees are "solitary" which means there is no true colony which is supported by worker bees. Mating takes place at this time, so a lot of the "swarming" is just males and females trying to pair up. The bees frequently make small mounds in the soil, and small clusters of these nests may be seen together, but each mound is all made by an individual female bee. At one school in Raleigh, we’ve had reports of 5 or more nests in just 1 square foot of lawn. The damage can be unsightly with large numbers of mounds in the turf, but it is mostly a cosmetic issue. The bigger problem is usually that people walking by panic because they assume that these are swarms of honey bees (or a similar bee) that will likely attack them if they venture too close to "the nest." Turf-nesting bees can sting but rarely do, so unless you accidentally step or sit on one (which kids might do while playing), they are not likely to sting. Since they are not "social," there is not a large number of worker bees trying to protect a nest. So, there is no "mass attack" as might occasionally occur during a close encounter of the yellowjacket kind (and it's still early in the year for us to see any yellowjacket colonies out there).

These ground-nesting bees are beneficial and should be left alone if possible. Any pesticide that you typically use outdoors for such sites could be applied, but success is likely to be marginal because of the duration of activity. The bees often try to dig into the sand in play areas at schools and childcare facilities, which is a concern particularly for parents and teachers with children that are severely allergic to bee stings. Any chemical treatment in sandy play areas is strongly discouraged because of the contact kids have with the soil (and which they might get in their mouths as well). If the bees try to nest in a sandbox, a simple solution is to cover it during the day but it will take a few weeks for you to deter most of the bees that show up over time. While this isn't always successful, you could saturate the area with soapy water which will bring the bees out and probably kill some in the process since soap does work as an insecticide. Since the bees prefer well-drained areas, water-staturated soils will deter the bees but again we're looking at activity that can take place over a few weeks.

Information, including pictures, of these bees and the "damage" that they cause can be found at:

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Termite Swarms in School Buildings

It’s that time of year again – time for termite swarmers to start showing up. You may have already experienced some swarms in some of your buildings. Eastern subterranean termites generally swarm from late-February to May. Swarming usually occurs during the day, particularly on warm days following rain. Swarmers found outdoors near tree stumps, landscape timbers, etc., are not an indication that a structure is infested, but they serve as a reminder that termites live around us. When swarming occurs indoors, it usually means that there is an infestation somewhere in the building.

If you have indoor swarmers, just suck them up in a vacuum cleaner. Place the vacuum bag inside a plastic bag and seal it before disposing of it. There is no real need to spray them, and spraying would require notification. There is also no need to rush treating the building. This situation would not be considered an emergency. Plan the treatment for a teacher workday where that part of the building is or can be vacated. The treatment will vary depending on where the termites were found swarming. A spot treatment may be all that is needed and will not be as expensive as a full treatment of the structure.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

EPA Centralizes Healthy Child Care Training and Curriculum Resources

Child care providers have a lot to do; pest management can be just another thing on an already full plate. To help ease the burden, US EPA launched a resource directory for child care providers. It includes fact sheets, trainings, and assessment tools on asthma, chemical hazards, green cleaning and IPM. Resource directory materials can be used as handouts at meetings, placed in staff lounges, transmitted electronically in newsletters or sent home with students for parents to use.

The directory links to numerous sources including Guidelines for IPM for Pest Management Contracts in Childcare Centers from Penn State University which includes Set Up Your IPM Program in Eight Steps and How Do I Know I'm Receiving IPM Services? Another fact sheet, Pesticides and Their Impact on Children: Key Facts and Talking Points, explains the dangers of pesticide poisoning in young children and gives a brief step-by-step IPM tutorial.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Insect of the Week - Mystery Insect Revealed!

Remember this mystery insect from last week:

Photo by Alex Wild (www.
The only hint given last week was that this little critter was, in fact, an insect (because it has three pairs of legs). No one had any good guesses - and I have to admit - this was a tough one!

So, now to reveal the mystery - drum roll please..... this little critter is a firefly (or lightning bug) larva! Who knew a firefly larva was so strange looking!

We all know that adult fireflies "light up" - they emit light that we enjoy watching on hot summer nights. For many of us, spotting and catching fireflies is one of our favorite summertime memories.

Fireflies use their lights to talk to each other. Adults emit light mostly to attract mates, but they may also use their light to defend their territory and keep predators away. In some firefly species, only one sex lights up. In most, however, both sexes emit light. Male fireflies flash their abdomens in species-specific patterns, hoping to attract the attention of a female hiding in the grass. An interested female will return the pattern, helping guide the male to her in the darkness. Firefly light patterns will vary in frequency and length, and are species-specific. In addition, the height at which they emit their light while in flight will vary depending on the species. Pretty cool, huh? One other interesting fact about fireflies - they are actually beetles!

Firefly larva (Photo by Jasja Dekker)
So, we all know adult fireflies emit lights, but did you know that firefly larvae also light up? But why do the larvae glow? What purpose does it serve? Light emitting serves a different function in larvae than it does in adults. It appears to be a warning signal to predators since many firefly larvae contain chemicals that are distasteful or toxic. 

Firefly larvae live on the ground, under bark, and in other moist places. They eat earthworms, snails and slugs. Larvae may also scavenge on certain small dead animals and other organic material. They have sickle-shaped mandibles with which they can inject a kind of chemical that paralyzes their prey and helps digest it.

Check out this amazing video below to see a firefly larva glowing:

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Insect of the Week - What Am I?

Another mystery creature this week! Take a look at the photo below and take a guess at what type of critter this is. Here's a tidbit that might help narrow things down:  insects have just three pair of legs. So, this mystery insect is, in fact, an insect and not a creature closely related to an insect. The answer will be revealed next week!

Photo by Alex Wild,

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Pyrethroid Label Requirements (for Non-Agricultural Outdoor Pyrethroid Products)

In an effort to reduce the potential for runoff and drift that can result from applications of pyrethroids, the EPA has revised the “Environmental Hazard Statements” and general “Directions for Use” sections for pyrethroid non-agricultural outdoor products. Pyrethroids include pesticide products such as “Talstar” (bifrenthin), “Tempo” (cyfluthrin), “Suspend” (deltamethrin), and others. The EPA revisions also apply to “combination products” such as: “Temprid SC,”  and “Transport WDG and “Transport ME.” The new requirements also apply to consumer end pyrethroid-containing pesticides, such as “Ortho Home Defense Max” (bifenthrin), Bayer Advance Home Pest Control (cyfluthrin), and others.

The new environmental hazard statements are specific for different formulations (i.e., liquid, dust, granular, and ready-to-use products). The general “Directions for Use” included in this labeling initiative are considered to be best management and good stewardship practices.

Let's take a look at some of the new changes:
  • Requirements for Granular Formulations labeled or intended for outdoor residential uses: 
o   “Apply this product directly to the lawn or garden area. Water treated area as directed on this label. Do not water to the point of run-off.”
o   “Do not make applications during rain.”
  • Requirements for Liquid, Dust, and Ready-to-Use Formulations products labeled or intended for outdoor residential uses:

o   “Do not water the treated area to the point of run-off.”
o   “Do not make applications during rain.”
  • Additional Application Restrictions For General Outdoor Surface and Space Sprays, except for outdoor fogging devices:
o   “All outdoor applications must be limited to spot or crack-and-crevice treatments only, except for the following permitted uses: 

(1) Treatment to soil or vegetation around structures;
(2) Applications to lawns, turf, and other vegetation;
(3) Applications to building foundations, up to a maximum height of 3 ft.

Other than applications to building foundations, all outdoor applications to impervious surfaces such as sidewalks, driveways, patios, porches and structural surfaces (such as windows, doors, and eaves) are limited to spot and crack-and-crevice applications only.”

Although the label changes do not apply to turf (such as athletic fields), these new label changes will affect the way you conduct pest management using pyrethroids. The one restriction that will probably impact your usual pest management techniques the most is the limitation of structural sprays to impervious surfaces. If you need to do a perimeter treatment, you are still allowed to apply the product up the foundation wall (to a maximum height of 3 feet) and on the soil and vegetation around the building. The major change applies to outdoor applications to impervious surfaces like sidewalks, driveways, windows, doors, and eaves. For example, in an area where a driveway meets a garage door (such as at an athletic or maintenance facility), you are limited to either a spot treatment (an area no larger than 2 square feet) or a crack-and-crevice treatment in that area because both areas (the garage door and the driveway) are considered impervious surfaces. 

Most likely, if you're applying an exterior perimeter spray, you're dealing with a pest like ants, millipedes, ladybird beetles, or another equally persistent pest. In those cases, a crack-and-crevice application to those impervious structural surfaces like garage doors, windows, eaves, etc., will provide the most benefit anyway, as those areas are often points of entry for these pests. So, here's the good news: if you follow the new label requirements, you'll be using the product in a more efficient manner and the potential for runoff will be reduced. A win-win situation! 
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