Welcome to the Penn State Pesticide Education Program blog. This is our first attempt at something like this so bear with us. We hope to have a new blog post at least once a week with topics such as: upcoming meetings/events, category specific topics, core topics, highlight someone we work with, promote a great resource, and maybe even have a few guest bloggers.
2014 Statistics to Date
It’s that time of year again when we start hearing about positive test results for West Nile virus. In Pennsylvania, the West Nile Virus Control Program is the agency that tracts this information. The first mosquito sample that tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV) was reported on May 16 in Dauphin County. Now, over 500 mosquito samples have tested positive for WNV in 34 counties. In July, the first bird tested positive for WNV and in total, six birds in four counties have had positive detections. Finally, Pennsylvania has had 2 West Nile virus detections in humans in Philadelphia and Dauphin counties.
Reduce Standing Water
Usually August and September brings the most detections, and so we all need to be diligent in our efforts to protect ourselves from mosquitoes. We have had previous blog articles about simple things you can do around your home to reduce standing water, which is where mosquitoes breed. Click back on these articles to find more information.
- Got Mosquitoes? Get Rid of Standing Water!
- Water Found in Swimming Pool Covers Perfect for Mosquitoes (includes a graphic showing many areas around your home that could collect water)
Use Repellents Properly
We also need to protect ourselves , especially when you know mosquitoes are hanging around outside. Because it is not always practical to completely cover up, we have also had several blogs on repellents that can help make us unattractive to mosquitoes.
- Have Mosquitoes? Now, Which Repellent to Use? Part 1 and Part 2
- Use Insect Repellents Safely BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER Application
New EPA Repellent Graphic for Next Year
In mid-July 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled a new graphic that is available to appear on insect repellent labels. (EPA Press Release) This graphic will clearly show consumers how many hours a product will repel mosquitoes and ticks when used as directed on the label. This information is similar to the SPF numbers on sunscreen labeling.
However, the use of the Repellency Awareness graphic is voluntary and manufacturers who want to use it must submit an application that includes test results proving how long their product works. The graphic is limited to skin-applied products and could start appearing on insect repellents early next year.
For More Information
Insect Repellents: Reducing Insect Bites, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
West Nile Virus, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
West Nile Virus, National Pesticide Information Center
West Nile Virus, Penn State Pesticide Education Program
Until next time,
This blog was written by Kerry Richards, the Penn State Pesticide Education Program Director.
- What is a pollinator?
- Why are they important?
- What can you do to help protect pollinators?
- Did you know that one in every three bites of food you eat relies on a pollinator to get from the plant to the table?
The answers to these and other questions about Pollinators can be found be visiting the Penn State Pesticide Education Programs exhibit in the Family Room during Penn State’s Ag Progress Days (APD). This event will be held Tuesday, August 12 through Thursday, August 14, at Rock Springs, Pennsylvania. Instead of our mini-golf course, this year’s games have been designed to help answer important questions about pollinators.
The “Games People Play”
Toss Me Your Birds & Bees This game explains that a pollinator is any insect, animal, or bird that carries pollen from one flower to another helping to carry out the process of pollination. Photos illustrate the diversity of pollinators from bees to bats and in other counties, Blue-tailed Day Gecko and the Two-winged Midge, just to name a few.
Aim, Fire, Pollinate!! Pollination is the transfer of pollen grains from one flower to the stigma of another flower (of the same type). Pollinators physically collect the pollen grains on their body and transfer it to another flower. After pollination occurs, the flower can produce seeds or fruits. If it lands on another part of the flower or plant, pollination will not happen and the fruit will not be produced. This game tests the skill of the “pollinator” to see if their Velcro pollen (shuttlecocks) will land where it will pollinate the flower.
Are you a grower? Got stink bugs? StopBMSB needs your help!
The Outreach Team for StopBMSB are surveying growers to assess the impact of the brown marmorated stink bug on crops and collecting information that will help them defeat this pest.
Receive a free Field Guide to Stink Bugs when you complete the 10-minute BMSB survey at https://cornell.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_5ssnjXLNhvp6v1H. But hurry, the survey closes on June 30, 2014.
What is StopBMSB?
With funding from U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Research Initiative, a team of researchers from 10 institutions across the United States are working together to form a defense against the invasive pest brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB). StopBMSB is working to find management solutions for growers, seeking strategies that will protect our food, our environment, and our farms.
Be sure to visit the StopBMSB website as they have lots great information and resources!
Other BMSB Resources
Until next time,
The following information was provided to us from Andrew Frankenfield, a Penn State Extension Educator from Montgomery County. (Sharon Gripp added links and logos.)
Tank Mix Calculator for iPhone + Android
This agriculture application is provided free for any farmer to use on their mobile device to quickly and easily generate a tank mix. Just enter your acreage, tank size, and carrier volume. Next, select your chemicals from our list or add your own. Tank Mix Calculator will then provide you with the number of loads required to spray your acreage, along with full and partial load mixes of the chemicals you selected.
TankMix App for iPhone only
The DuPont TankMix Calculator Application lets you quickly and easily calculate how much product and water you need for effective applications based on your acreage or spray tank size. Choose from a wide selection of units of measure and work in either numerals or fractions.
This blog was written by Dave Scott, Chief of the Division of Health and Safety in the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. This article also appeared in the January 2014 Pesticide Highlights newsletter.
Every year the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture receives pesticide related complaints – ranging from herbicide drift or misapplication to medical reactions to exposure – from people who live near areas where growers are applying pesticides. As an applicator, it is your responsibility to make sure you are using pesticides safely, and that means being aware of your neighbors.
The Department maintains a list of people who have provided medical verification of a sensitivity to pesticides. This list can be viewed online by PaPlants registered users under the “Programs” heading in the Hypersensitivity/Apiary Search” at https://www.PaPlants.state.pa.us. You can type in an address and see a listing of these individuals located within 5 miles of that location, or select your county and township for a larger area. Consider notifying individuals in the Hypersensitivity Registry before you apply any pesticides.
The Penn State Pesticide Education Program is excited to again offer boom sprayer and air blast sprayer calibrations for Pennsylvania growers who request them. Calibration of air blast sprayer (ABS) and boom sprayer equipment is the best way to ensure spray applications are effective, efficient, and economical. Poor spray coverage is the primary cause of reduced spray product performance. Regular care and maintenance will ensure the sprayer is residue-free and in good operating condition. The challenge with ABS calibration is accurately and efficiently collecting and comparing nozzle output.
Kelly Over, our Educational Program Associate, wrote this follow-up blog about Poison Prevention Week. Kelly provides pesticide safety presentations and educational materials to Pennsylvania agricultural teachers and participates in our many consumer outreach events.
While our Pesticide Education Program teaches poison safety all year, this past month has been an especially important time for our poison prevention outreach as National Poison Prevention Week was in March. In 2014, we reached 12,000 students in 30 counties around the Commonwealth with our poison prevention program! Our poison prevention efforts were recently highlighted in a Penn State News Story.
Our Pesticide Education Program staff delivered poison prevention programs to nearly 500 students in the Philadelphia School District. Our staff also presented programs in cooperation with intermediate units in Chester County and Philadelphia County, in which both parents and students heard the poison safety message. Since English might not have been the primary language used in the home, appropriate adaptations and translations were used to teach participants about the importance of identifying signal words, using Mr. Yuk, and knowing what do in case of an accidental poisoning.
In our January blogs, we talked about two waste disposal programs that are available in Pennsylvania: Household Hazardous Waste Program: Plan to Use It in 2014 and Some Changes for the CHEMSWEEP Program. Besides being great programs on their own, sometimes these two programs partner together. At these events, the CHEMSWEEP Program accepts all the pesticide products and assures their proper disposal. By doing this, the HHW program can accept more products and does not have to cover the pesticide disposal costs.
To participant in either program, you need to be a resident of the county where the event is being held. If you do not see your county on the list, other stand-alone HHW events will be held throughout the state–just check the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s HHW Collection Programs website. Check back because more events will most likely be added in the coming months.
Kelly Over, our Educational Program Associate, wrote this blog about Poison Prevention Week. Kelly provides pesticide safety presentations and educational materials to Pennsylvania agricultural teachers and participates in our many consumer outreach events.
It’s National Poison Prevention Week 2014! From March 16th-22nd, Poison Prevention Week is the time to evaluate the poison prevention practices in your home and be sure you know what to do in case of a poison emergency.
While we emphasize the importance of poison safety all year, we are excited to take the opportunity of Poison Prevention Week for a two-part blog series. In a future blog, we will highlight our Poison Prevention Program, which is being delivered to nearly 12,000 first grade students across Pennsylvania with the help of many educators, including Master Gardner volunteers. This week, we want to share several key poison safety messages.
This May 3, 2013 article by Dr. Michael J. Lynch is reprinted with permission. Kerry Richards and Julie Watson from our office took a road trip last week to meet with several people from the Pittsburgh Poison Center. This was an article that was shared with them and we thought it fit perfectly as a blog to kick off Poison Prevention Week. (Please note that we added the headings to break up the text.)
By Dr. Michael J. Lynch, medical director of the Pittsburgh Poison Center (www.upmc.com/services/poison-center).
As the parent of three children ages 6 and under, I am constantly vigilant of the dangers that surround them daily. Among the risks our kids face is exposure to toxic chemicals and to prescription and over-the-counter medications. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, accidental drug overdoses have surpassed motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of accidental death in the United States.
While parents seek most of all to prevent poisoning and exposure to toxins, we also must prepare to respond when problems occur. We keep phone numbers for police, fire and ambulance services easily accessible. Another resource for residents of Western Pennsylvania is the Pittsburgh Poison Center. The familiar face of Mr. Yuk may even stare back at you from your refrigerator, containers of poisonous household supplies or the bulletin board at your pediatrician’s office.