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.
This blog was written by Chris Becker, who coordinated the Poison Prevention Program for the past 4 years. Chris just recently accepted a county Extension Educator position and is no longer with our program. However, the hard work she put into building this outreach program will keep it running smoothly. We wish Chris all the best in her new job with Penn State Extension!
For the past three years, the Penn State Pesticide Education Program and county Master Gardener Program have partnered to share a valuable lesson of poison prevention with 1st grade students across the state. The outreach program—with a lesson designed to meet elementary 1st grade curriculum standards in Health, Safety, and Physical Education, and Environmental and Ecology Education—has grown tremendously with the help of enthusiastic Master Gardeners.
Piloted in 5 major metropolitan areas around the state for the first time in 2010, the 35 minute interactive program was heard by 900 enthusiastic children and their welcoming teachers. The next year, the Poison Prevention Program was offered to county Master Gardener programs as an easy to use, low-cost, minimally demanding, Outreach Program that offered a high-value opportunity to schools as the lesson met many school educational standards.
The lesson provided Master Gardeners an opportunity to educate the community in their area of expertise. With a presentation designed to be fun and interactive, it quickly grew in popularity. In 2011, the first year Master Gardeners began to use the outreach program, 3,200 students in 9 counties heard the valuable message. The next year the outreach program more than doubled to 8,200 children in 22 counties. Applause is due to Master Gardeners for being dedicated to their craft of service through gardening education. Those who participate invest time in scheduling presentations, presenting the lessons, and following up with teachers, schools, and with the Pesticide Education Program.
The Poison Prevention Program was Stupendous in 2013!
Because of the growing popularity of the program, and initial cost projections, an enrollment limit of 10,000 students was set. Numbers grew fast and, with a little formatting change to black and white printing, materials were provided for every school enrolled in 2013. Nearly 12,000 children in 27 counties across the state heard the important message of poison prevention. In addition, those children were encouraged to go home and share the message with their parents, care-givers, siblings, relatives, and friends, hence spreading the message far and wide. That’s an amazing outreach and Master Gardeners made it happen!
Supplemental Poster Contest
As a supplement to the program, a state poison prevention poster contest was offered for children in grades K-8 by following the guidelines set by the National Poison Prevention Council. Posters were reviewed and finalists were chosen in June. For the second year, finalists were featured on the Pesticide Education Program’s website for online voting. You can view the posters online and cast your vote for your favorite poster. Voting will be open through November 15, 2013. Winners will be recognized at the College of Agricultural Sciences booth at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in January 2014.
2014 Poison Prevention Program Information
Now moving into the 4th year as a statewide outreach program, the 2014 Poison Prevention Program holds great promise to be the program’s best year ever! Materials have been revised to provide more concise information for educators, teachers, students and families. We hope even more counties will be offering the program in their local schools.
To inquire if the program is being offered in your county, or to invite the program to your school in February and March of 2014, contact your county Extension Master Gardener Coordinator before the end of November. Find your county’s Extension website, click on Master Gardener Program under County Programs (on the left hand side), and then click on Master Gardener Coordinator(s) under Contact Us (on the left hand side).
Until next time,
Kelly Over wrote this weeks blog post. Kelly is our Educational Program Assistant and has organized this event for our program for the past few years. Although she did help organize this year, Kelly will miss this years Great Insect Fair as she has a much bigger event to attend, her WEDDING! We wish Kelly all the best!
This year’s Great Insect Fair theme is “Backyard Zoo: The Bugs Around You!” Additionally, the Great Insect Fair is celebrating its 20th anniversary! Here are the details:
DATE: October 5, 2014
TIME: 10AM to 4PM
WHERE: Bryce Jordan Center on the University Park Campus of Penn State
COST: Free but donations are greatly appreciated
A Look Back
To recognize the 20th anniversary of The Great Insect Fair, we wanted to reminisce past memories of the Fair. The original Great Insect Fair was held in the Agricultural Sciences & Industries Building on campus for many years before moving to the Snider Agricultural Arena. The Snider Agricultural Arena provided inside and outdoor space for the growing number of exhibitors and participants, but again visitor capacity eventually exceeded the amenities. In 2012, the Great Insect Fair moved to the Bryce Jordan Center, where it will once again be held this year. Penn State Entomology, who hosts the event, has posted previous years’ highlights on their website.
At The Great Insect Fair, the Penn State Pesticide Education Program provides an integrated pest management and pesticide safety miniature golf game, where both children and parents hear an educational message before playing putt-putt. We’ve had several themes over past years, including protecting pollinators, what is a pest, and good bugs vs. bag bugs.
The 2013 Great Insect Fair
While the event venue has changed over the years, the emphasis of teaching entomology and science through hands-on activities remains the primary goal. This FREE event allows families to see a multitude of insects, learn about insect life cycles, interact with monarchs in the butterfly tent, play miniature golf, and more. Check out the full listing of activities on The Great Insect Fair website. Read the Penn State News Story for more details on new happenings for the 2013 Great Insect Fair, including how the former Insect Zoo has morphed into the Insect Bistro!
This year, we’re featuring our “Protecting Yourself from Outdoor Insect Pests” message, where we discuss the risks of certain pests and how to protect your family and yourself with an integrated pest management approach. And, of course, we’ll have Mr. Yuk stickers available to help teach your little ones to STAY AWAY from hazardous products.
Bring your family to the Great Insect Fair on Saturday, October 5th, from 10 AM-4 PM, at the Bryce Jordan Center on the Penn State University Park campus. FREE ADMISSION for an educational extravaganza that is sure to keep you exploring the world of insects in the “Backyard Zoo: The Bugs Around You!”
Until next time,
This week’s blog was written by Kerry Richards, the Pesticide Education Program Director.
Pennsylvania played host to the Galaxy IV Conference with the theme of Bridging the Centuries: A New Era for Extension from September 16-20, 2013. The David Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh was the venue for 2,400 participants. The conference offered 24 different options for tours and hundreds of top-notch presentations and posters documenting cutting edge research and hands-on programs that cut across all areas of extension programming. The Pesticide Education Program was well represented a poster presentation highlighting our successful the Poison Prevention Program. The poster was submitted by Chris Becker, with graphic support from Garo Goodrow and editing by Sharon Gripp. The poster earned a second place National honors in Tuesday’s opening poster session.
This blog is written by Nick Richards, our senior (or most tenured) intern. Nick is also a senior at The Pennsylvania State University majoring in Spanish with two minors: Global Security and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.
We Take Risks Every Day.
Every morning when we hop into our cars and drive to work, we are taking a risk. Every 9 seconds a person is injured in an automobile collision, every 12½ minutes someone dies, which equates to 42,000 deaths due to motor vehicle accidents every year in the United States. We as drivers know the risks associated with driving (pollution and injury being the biggest) yet we still continue to drive every day. Why? Because the benefits of driving outweigh the risks. However, we as drivers also make several choices that can help reduce the risk. We wear our seatbelts, we decide at what speed to drive, and we can choose what kind of car to purchase based on gas economy, fuel emissions, and overall safety. When we can control certain factors we are more inclined to accept the risk.
Assess Risk and Benefits of Using Pesticides
We can use the same benefit vs. risk assessment when determining if a pesticide should be applied. You should assess the benefits and the risks before applying a pesticide. Pesticides should be used after other integrated pest management strategies have failed or if the problem is so big that chemicals are the only logical solution.
When talking about risk in association with pesticides, we in the business like to use the equation:
Risk= Toxicity X Exposure
The Risk is the potential for harm or the hazard. Toxicity is the capacity of a pesticide to cause harm. And Exposure is the opportunity for a pesticide to contact or enter the body.
We can determine the risk of a pesticide application by taking a look at the toxicity of that pesticide and the opportunity for the pesticide to come in contact with our body, also known as exposure. In order to reduce our Risk, we need to reduce Toxicity and/or Exposure.
Kelly Over, our Education Program Assistant, helps coordinate our consumer and youth outreach education programming.
As September nears and students return to the classroom, many families adjust to the back to school routine. Even as this is an exciting time of year with many activities and busy schedules, be sure to be conscious and take time when doing the following tasks to promote poison safety around home.
Unloading Shopping Purchases
Do you often shop at “one stop” stores that sell both food items as well as cleaning products? Be conscious when unloading your purchases that items are put in SAFE locations. Store cleaning products and other household chemical products in high locations and locked cabinets out of a child’s reach. Be aware that many food items and chemical products do look alike, so a little extra time to ensure everything is stored properly could make a big difference.
Also, unloading purchases is an ideal time to put Mr. Yuk on products. Not only can Mr. Yuk alert children to stay away from a product, but Mr. Yuk also displays the Poison Control Center phone number (1-800-222-1222) to call in case of an accidental poisoning, if you suspect someone has been poisoned, or even if you have questions. The Poison Control Center is available to help you! Need Mr. Yuk stickers? Contact us!
Bill Riden, our Pesticide Education Specialist, wrote this blog article.
Reducing Standing Water is Critical!
A summer of frequent rains can mean a summer of high mosquito populations. The frequent rains give plenty of opportunities for standing water, the ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. Walk around your home or farm, do you have areas of standing water. Perhaps it is old containers or pots that now collect water. Even wheelbarrows can collect water. It is a good idea to turn wheelbarrows over when not in use. The little plastic wading pools should also be turned over when not in use. How about those clogged rain gutters, again an excellent area for water to collect and the opportunity for millions of mosquitoes to breed. Also think about bird baths. Be sure to stir the water every few days.
Do you have old tires laying around? These tires make excellent collection areas for water and therefore become breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Did you know that the stagnant water in tires are where most mosquitoes breed? I know old tires are often used to hold down plastic silo coverings, but take a look at the amount of water these tires are holding. Some farmers cut the tires in half so they are flat. Also, look for alternatives that do not hold water. Here is a Penn State Extension publication that may help, “Reducing Mosquito Breeding Sites when Using Waste Tires as Anchors for Bunk Silo Covers.”
This week’s blog is written by Christina Becker, an Extension Specialist in the Penn State Pesticide Education Program. Chris coordinates the Ag Progress Days and Farm Show exhibit for our program.
APD = Ag Progress Days
Whether or not you can believe August is already here . . . here it is! And, in Pennsylvania, this week in August means Ag Progress Days – Penn State College of Agricultural Science’s showcase of Agriculture and all it encompasses including the latest in educational research and industry offerings.
Our program – the Pesticide Education Program – has prepared another exciting exhibit this year as part of the offerings in the Family Room building. Each year a new educational message is introduced for the mini golf game exhibit. This year, the game highlights outdoor pests that directly affect people and pets. The mini golf exhibit “Protecting Yourself from Outdoor Insect Pests,” focuses on the three insect groups that impact human and pet health with painful bites or stings and the possibility of transmitting serious diseases.
This blog is written by Nick Richards, our senior (or most tenured) intern. Nick is also a senior at The Pennsylvania State University.
They come in all shapes and sizes. From the creepy crawlers to rodents and those pesky weeds that just won’t stay out of our landscape. The first step in eliminating these nuisances is to identify the specific weed, plant, insect, or rodent that is causing a menace in your home or landscape. If you need help with identification or have questions, find a Penn State Cooperative Extension office, which is located in every county, and they will gladly assist you. After you have identified the pest, the next step is to determine how big the problem is. If you, the homeowner, feel like the problem is too big for you to handle then you might want to seek professional help. So, how do you go about that process and what to look for? This blog will help you answer those questions!
Step One: Do Your Research!
The easiest way to do this is to ask your friends and family! These people are a great resource and will tell you the honest truth about different companies. Any horror stories or success stories will be shared, which can help you in narrowing down your list of options. Once you have a few companies in your area, don’t be afraid to do a little detective work on the internet. The good, bad, and ugly information will be on the web for you to read and guide you in selecting a company to help you eliminate your pest problem.
Kelly Over, our Education Program Assistant, shares some information about our latest addition to our look-alike display.
New household products are continuously popping up on the consumer market. While these products might provide innovative solutions in your home, it’s important to be conscious of how these new products could be mistaken for something consumable, resulting in an accidental poisoning.
Dishwasher, detergent, and other similar products are now offered in conveniently packaged options, commonly referred to as pods or packs. These products offer less waste in respect to the packaging, greater efficiency in product usage, and less opportunity for spillage. However, compared to traditional packaging of detergent and cleaners, these pods and packs contain more concentrated dosages which could result in more severe poisonings symptoms. Several news outlets, including NBCNews.com, New York Daily News, and Yahoo! Health, have reported stories on the dangers of children accidentally consuming the pods.
This blog is written by Bill Riden, our Pesticide Education Specialist.
Successful pesticide application requires proper calibration of your application equipment. Applying the correct rate of pesticide is of the utmost importance. If you apply too little pesticide, you may have poor pest control. You can also incur additional costs if re-treatment is needed or if you suffer crop loss because of lack of control. If you apply too much pesticide, you could damage the crop, be fined for illegal applications, and end up with too much pesticide residue in the crop and soil. You have also wasted money by using too much of the pesticide. Calibrating your application equipment to know the pesticide is being applied at the right rate and in a uniform pattern is well worth your time.
Boom Sprayer Calibration
The most convenient boom sprayer calibration procedure is the “1/128th acre” method. The basic principle is to determine the calibration distance to cover 1/128th of an acre based on the spacing of the spray nozzles. When you determine how much water is coming out of the nozzle to cover 1/128th of an acre, you multiply that number by 128 to determine how many ounces would be coming out to cover 1 acre. The beauty of this method is illustrated in this example. If we have 1 ounce coming out over the course of 1/128th of an acre, multiplying this by 128 would give you 128 ounces. This is equivalent to 1 gallon. Because there are 128 ounces of liquid in 1 gallon, this convenient relationship results in ounces of liquid caught from one nozzle being directly equal to the application rate in gallons per acre, or GPA. So the conversion is made automatically for you, this is true regardless of the number of nozzles on the boom.