New York State IPM Program

April 29, 2020
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on Our 2018-2019 Annual report: #3 Corn Earworm and Just What is a ‘Short Course’?

Our 2018-2019 Annual report: #3 Corn Earworm and Just What is a ‘Short Course’?

The Year of the Corn Earworm

Nobody likes opening an ear of corn and finding uninvited worms; not customers, and definitely not the grower! Wormy corn can lose customers at the farm stand and in wholesale markets, and can be a problem in both frozen and canned supermarket products. To help growers manage these pests, NYSIPM—in partnership with our Cornell Cooperative Extension colleagues—has supported a network of pheromone traps since 1993. These traps help track the flights of the moths that lay the eggs that hatch into these worms.

In 2018, the trap network alerted growers to an over-the-top population of corn earworm, one of four major sweet corn pests. And because IPM spray recommendations for this pest are based on trap catch numbers, that important data helped New York growers respond effectively to this serious threat to a 33 million dollar crop grown on 26,700 acres. Unfortunately, when a grower or processor finds worms in harvested corn, it’s too late to act—but accurate ID can inform plans for the following season. Essential to success is deciding if and when to spray using the appropriate scouting methods and thresholds for each pest. But accurate ID? Easier said than done! Caterpillars can be hard to identify, especially smaller ones. That’s why we developed a larval ID fact sheet highlighting critical distinguishing features. It’s just another piece of essential information in the quest for worm-free ears.

photo of corn earworm on ear of corn

(Above) Corn earworm invades the ear within hours or days of hatching from eggs laid on the silk, leaving no external damage. For this pest, scouting is ineffective. Pheromone traps that monitor adult flight are the grower’s best defense.

“I” is for Identification.

Good IPM starts with accurate pest identification—ID for short. Whether you see a pest or the evidence it leaves behind, correct ID is essential. Once you know what you’re dealing with, you can determine where it’s coming from, the risks it poses, and what conditions must change to eliminate it. Good ID makes IPM work. Even people who deal with pests all the time need to brush up on their ID skills, so we developed a Structural IPM Short Course to hone the diagnostic skills of pest management professionals, Master Gardeners, and others. Participants attend photo-filled lectures and get their hands on hundreds of real specimens. Critters are grouped by guild—their basic ecological niche—such as food pests, moisture-lovers, or blood-feeders. And specimens aren’t just bugs. Rodent droppings and gnawed wood get examined too. To aid learning and retention, we created a companion manual. We’ve offered the course 21 times, teaching the ABCs (you know: ants, bed bugs, and cockroaches) to over 700 people. And our learners learned: over three quarters gained knowledge of pest biology, while 100% improved their ID skills. We identify that as 100% good news for everyone but the pests.

photo shows a classroom setting where master gardeners are learning to ideinty pests

(Above) These Master Gardeners from Rockland County, like their counterparts in 20 other Short Course workshops, left feeling more informed and confident in the IPM knowledge they’ll share with the public. IPM and Cooperative Extension: a perfect pairing.

 

April 25, 2020
by Joellen Lampman
Comments Off on The Pesticide Management Education Program Warns of Unregistered or Off-label Claims for Disinfectant Use

The Pesticide Management Education Program Warns of Unregistered or Off-label Claims for Disinfectant Use

Photo of labled product

Our friends over at Cornell’s Pesticide Management Education Program (psep.cce.cornell.edu) have asked us to help spread information on disinfectants and sanitizers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in adverse health effects from the misuse of these products. There have also been several fraudulent products produced during this time that potential applicators should be made aware of. Please read and share the following:

Beware of fraudulent pesticide claims related to SARS-CoV-2 (the COVID-19 coronavirus):

It has come to our attention that unregistered disinfectants claiming to protect against the virus are being marketed in the US. The efficacy and safety of these products is unsubstantiated and their use is illegal.

Regulators are taking steps to prevent such products from reaching the market, but it is your responsibility to use only those products designated by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for use against SARS-CoV-2, listed at https://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/materials_minerals_pdf/covid19.pdf. Please check this list frequently, as content is subject to change.

Be safe disinfecting your home:

Disinfectants are pesticides and you can only use them as directed by the label. Therefore:

  • Never mix different disinfectant products together because doing so is dangerous. For example, mixing bleach with acids (such as vinegar) or ammonia releases life-threatening toxic fumes.
  • Never use disinfectants or disinfectant wipes on your skin. Instead, wash with soap and water; you can also use hand sanitizer on your hands.
  • Never wash fruits and vegetables with soap, sanitizers, or disinfectants as this could also result in poisoning. Wash produce only in clean water.

For more information on disinfecting your home and how to handle food during this crisis, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/disinfecting-your-home.pdf and  https://instituteforfoodsafety.cornell.edu/coronavirus-covid-19/food-safety-recommendation-consumer/.

April 24, 2020
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on EARTH DAY 2020 – A Special Note from Director Jennifer Grant

EARTH DAY 2020 – A Special Note from Director Jennifer Grant

photo of NYSIPM Director Jennifer Grant

NYSIPM Director Jennifer Grant

Happy Earth Day, Earth Week and Earth Year to you all! The 50th anniversary… incredible!  IPM and Earth Day came from the same roots, the environmental movement that was burgeoning over a half century ago. The concept of IPM has come of age, and has permeated people’s approach to growing our food, managing schools, and protecting themselves from pests. Fifty years. Do you look back and get energized by what’s been accomplished, or are you daunted by all the work that lies ahead?

To me, one of the bright lights is that millennials are environmentally conscious, and demand environmental consideration from those providing them with food, employment, cars and other products. Today most people know and care about Climate Change, and want to curb it and its dreadful effects. People around the world are aware of threats to the environment, and are banding together to protect it.

photo of Seneca Lake sunset

 “…sitting in Geneva it’s hard to complain about being home when you look out over Seneca Lake”

Now that most of us are home, it’s a perfect time to look at our normal lives and see what we miss, and what are we’re doing better. We’re driving our cars and flying in planes a lot less. We’re getting out to walk and ride our bikes because there’s nothing else to do. We’re cooking and baking a lot of foods from scratch. Some have “gone back to the land” and are planting vegetable gardens for the first time in years, or ever. Can we incorporate some of these good habits into our new normal as the corona crisis subsides? Why not strive for those goals? The current situation is teaching many about the power of working together. What if your whole neighborhood designates a community garden and produce share? What if your office designates a day a week for working from home, and carpools on the other days? What if your kids grow up to set policies that don’t allow pollution?

Looking within our own NYS IPM program, I am always impressed with the creative ways our staff is working with others to reduce the need for pesticides in agriculture and in our communities. This is not just their profession, for most it’s their passion. As we’ve explored what Earth Day means to each of us, I’ve loved learning that our own Lynn Braband was out marching for the first Earth Day, and that Amanda is teaching her very young sons about Earth Day and has them planting trees.

Please go hug a tree—physically or virtually—and make a plan to save the world, because every day is Earth Day!

photo of Jennifer Grant on a four wheeled bike with a cooler chest ont the back

“NYSIPM Director Jennifer Grant says she is considering ditching her car and selling cold beers off the back of her bike in retirement”

(Thank you Jennifer, for the great post. A special and bittersweet post as we near the end of Jen’s time as our Director!)

 

April 23, 2020
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on Earth Day 2020 – IPMers Consider 50 Years of Caring and Action (part #2)

Earth Day 2020 – IPMers Consider 50 Years of Caring and Action (part #2)

From Integrated Weed Management Specialist BRYAN BROWN:

Spring is my favorite. Rushing streams. Birds singing. Bright green leaves. Earth Day reminds me to appreciate these simple pleasures and think about ways to protect them.
Responsible pest management through IPM offers a way for farmers to keep those leaves bright green, while keeping our streams running clean, and our birds chirping keen.
photo of Bryan Brown standing near a small waterfall in upstate new york

Photo from Bryan’s collection

From Biocontrol Specialist AMARA DUNN:

Earth Day reminds me that the choices I make every day – what I eat, buy, plant…and how I manage pests – matter.

photo of Amara Dunn at the beneficial habitat plots on the Agrictech farm

photo NYSIPM

From Web and Graphic Designer, KAREN ENGLISH

Earth Day to me means being able to enjoy the wilderness, and a reminder that we need to care for it, too.

photo of Karen English in the front of a canoe on a lake in the Adirondack Mountains.

Photo from Karen English collection

From Vegetable IPM Coordinator ABBY SEAMAN:

The only thing I think about Earth Day is that for me, every day is Earth Day, and I hope Earth Day inspires others to make at least one change in their life that will benefit the environment.

photo of cellophane bee exiting a ground nest

Cellophane bee exiting a ground nest

 

April 22, 2020
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on Earth Day 2020 – IPMers Consider 50 Years of Concern and Action (part #1)

Earth Day 2020 – IPMers Consider 50 Years of Concern and Action (part #1)

From Livestock & Field Crops IPM Extension Area Educator KEN WISE:

What I remember the most of Earth Day is when I taught high school forestry and fishery. On Earth Day, we would plant several acres of Douglas fir seedlings or release salmon in rivers with my students in the Cascade Mountains. We would grow our own seedlings and had a built our salmon hatchery.

Earth day for me is an everyday state of mind. My work in a small way I hope helps sustain the land.

photo of a lake in the Cascade mountains

Mountain Lake in the Cascades (public domain)

From Community IPM Extension Area Educator MATT FRYE:

In grad school I coordinated an annual trash removal project in our woodlot, and prior to that I helped with tree plantings. But it’s been a few years, so this is more of a reflective thought on Earth Day…

Earth Day for me is a reminder. It’s a day to slow down. To take a deep breath. To experience and admire the wonders that this world has to offer. Equally, it’s a call to action. For if we fail to nurture and actively protect them, someday those wonders may be but a memory.

photo of Matt on a hike in the woods.

Photo of Matt from Matt’s collection

From Ornamentals IPM Coordinator BETSY LAMB:

To me, it is the power of people coming together for a cause.  And sometimes even people on apparently opposite sides of an issue who see that environmental improvements actually have benefits for both sides.

It is easy now to say that it is just a meaningless ‘holiday’ but we need to be reminded of how far we have actually come and what some of the changes have been and are.  Like some other issues, the changes have become the expected norm – which is perhaps a victory in itself.  And that is not to say that there are no longer challenges.  There certainly are – and some new voices pointing them out and encouraging new responses.  Hope, frustration, action, and change!

photo of Betsy in a greenhouse

Betsy teaching biocontrol in a greenhouse meeting. (Photo NYSIPM)

From Program Administrator AMANDA GRACE:

Photo of kids planting

Photos from Amanda’s collection

Each year, we plant a tree with the boys to celebrate Earth day. We try our best to educate and raise awareness, especially to our future generation(s), on the importance of unity and coming together to protect and nourish our global home.

“if you want a child’s mind to grow, You must plant the seed.”

Happy Earth day!

collage photos of children planting

From Community IPM Educator LYNN BRABAND:

Here is a photo of my participation in the first Earth Day as a sophomore in community college. I am at the red arrow. I was one of the organizers of the day’s activities in that municipality. Personally, the event was part of a journey that I was already on.

scanned newspaper article about a march on a college campus

Newspaper article from Lynn’s college years, see the close up below.

close up of the college march

Lynn Braband (at red arrow)

Tomorrow, we’ll be sharing a few more thoughts on the significance of Earth Day. Thank you to Jennifer Grant and Joellen Lampman for helping to pull this post together!

 

April 21, 2020
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on Our 2018-2019 Annual Report: #2 Hummingbirds as Partners, and Rodent Exclusion

Our 2018-2019 Annual Report: #2 Hummingbirds as Partners, and Rodent Exclusion

Birds and Berries and Bugs, Oh My!

photo shows active hummingbird feeder in a berry plot

(Above) Hummingbirds can capture insects out of thin air, a practice known as hummingbird hawking. We found that this carnivorous habit may actually be reducing SWD numbers in berry plantings. While growers consider the option of ‘employing’ these partners in IPM, gardeners and homeowners can also encourage hummingbird visits by choosing nectar-rich flowers and shrubs for their property. As the emphasis for pollinator protection grows, we all benefit from partnering with our many, often-ignored, beneficial allies, like hummingbirds.

Like all fruit flies, the spotted wing drosophila (SWD) loves berries. But, unlike other fruit flies that wait for fruit to rot and split, SWD females lay their eggs inside perfect, ripening fruit. The eggs hatch into tiny white worms—a nasty surprise, decimating a crop’s market value. What’s a berry farmer to do? Spraying pesticides—especially on U-Pick farms where families mingle with plants—isn’t their preferred plan.

Enter the ruby-throated hummingbird, New York’s resident species. Not just a fan of nectar, they also eat gnats, fruit flies, and aphids—gobbling up to 2,000 a day. When we learned a blackberry farmer in Mississippi had success against SWD by attracting hummingbirds into fields, we wondered … could it work in New York?

To find out, we set up 25 hummingbird feeders per acre in two raspberry fields. We observed hummingbird presence and flight patterns, examined SWD traps, and checked berries for infestation over a four-year period. We found that 80 percent of the birds visiting feeders also spent time in the raspberries; traps caught up to 59 percent fewer SWDs; and every week during peak hummingbird season, up to 56 percent fewer worms were found in fruit.

Our results suggest that hummingbirds reduced SWD fruit damage. We always found more hummers in our raspberry plots over time, because they return each spring to familiar feeding grounds. Studies of feeding habits have shown they try eating new things and remember what they like. So let’s cultivate a voracious appetite for SWD in the ruby-throated hummingbird by attracting them into our berry plantings!

Location, Location, Location

Each year, rodents cause billions of dollars in losses to the food supply. Theirs is a one-two punch: they both eat and contaminate food. And because rodents can carry dozens of pathogens harmful to people and animals, the stakes are high. In the U.S., new laws require that food facilities take proactive steps to prevent rodent problems.

A soft mass in a corner of a wall, between 2x4s, is a mouse nest. Peering out from the entrance is the mother; 2 of her young are visible.

(above) Who can blame her? Momma mouse loves the food, water, and warmth often found in food processing and distribution facilities. IPM tactics greatly reduce rodent numbers and protect our food supply in commercial facilities as well as in our homes.

With the food industry in mind, we designed a research project to understand and improve rodent management in food distribution centers. The goal? Figure out whether the location of trap and bait boxes affects our ability to intercept rodents. The current industry standard is to place rodent devices at regular intervals inside and outside the building, but this doesn’t take into account what rodents like, what they need, and how they move. Is there a better way?

For several years our NYSIPM rodent expert inspected the areas around rodent traps and bait boxes, and recorded features that are attractive to rodents like available food, water, shelter, and warmth. He found that instead of old-school placement, traps worked better when positioned near preferred features. Our results can improve IPM protocols—that means less food contamination, less rodenticide, and less time required by pest professionals for device inspection. With this new IPM info, we don’t need to build better mousetraps, we just need to know where to put them.

photo shows a loading dock with gaps in the door

*note the rodent monitoring device in the lower left hand corner

(Above) This door may not look welcoming to you, but for rats and mice the gap under the door signals a source of food and shelter. Nearby, there is soil, dense vegetation, railroad tracks … all things that help rodents hide, burrow, and thrive. Our study confirmed that these elements increased feeding at bait stations (shown inside white circle), which could change the way professionals lay out bait stations in the future.

 

April 17, 2020
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on Our 2018-2019 Annual Report: #1 Director’s Report, and a Look at 30 Years of Grape IPM

Our 2018-2019 Annual Report: #1 Director’s Report, and a Look at 30 Years of Grape IPM

photo is of a research field in Geneva NY

(Above) Two splendid September days saw many visitors to our Open House and Twilight Field Day. Master Gardeners, growers, and researchers chatted with NYSIPM staff about our Christmas tree research and wildflower plots. Can establishing pollinator and natural enemy habitat also reduce pest problems? We’re finding out. Project Leaders: Amara Dunn, Elizabeth Lamb, Brian Eshenaur.

This new blog series will highlight the stories we were proud to share in our latest annual report! Download the entire report brochure here.

photo of NYSIPM Director Jennifer Grant

NYSIPM Director Jennifer Grant

Director’s Message

With new arrivals like the Asian longhorned tick, New York’s pest problems are everchanging; so is pest management. Crop production, tillage, pruning and harvesting practices all look different than a generation ago. Old, broad-spectrum chemical pesticides are giving way to biologically-based and species-specific products. But IPM principles are just as relevant today as they were when the concept of IPM was developed over a half century ago.  For example …

Prevention: Together with our state agency partners, we’re holding off the introduction of spotted lanternfly into New York, while preparing growers for its eventual arrival.

Monitoring: Our network for environment and weather applications (NEWA) is more in demand than ever, incorporating weather data into pest prediction models.

Risk Reduction: Two decades of researching and teaching low chemical use practices on state park golf courses, and measuring environmental impact, have made us national leaders in risk reduction in golf.

Decision-making and record keeping: Our apps for sweet corn, hops, and conifers will soon join those we created for greenhouse biocontrol, western bean cutworm, and field crops scouting.

Non-chemical control: We’re testing and teaching cultivation and cover cropping for weed management, and raising awareness of biological control approaches.

Protecting non-target organisms: IPM goals of protecting humans, wildlife, pets, and beneficial organisms—including pollinators—are alive and well.

IPM is perpetually new and fresh, and ready to address today’s challenges on farms and in communities. Please read on and learn what the New York State IPM Program (NYSIPM) has been up to lately.

Three Decades of Successful Grape IPM

Thirty years ago, New York State grape growers faced an out-of-control pest, the grape berry moth (GBM)—despite four or five insecticide sprays a year. After developing a new IPM protocol for assessing GBM risk and managing the pest, researchers needed someone to show growers how to use it in their vineyards. That’s when, funded by the state, NYSIPM hired its first grape IPM specialist. Once on board, Tim Weigle demonstrated research-based techniques for GBM management to growers in the Lake Erie Region. The program was a wild success. Weigle got growers’ sprays down to one or none by applying Cornell IPM know-how. And the crop? Virtually moth-free.

Photo shows Tim Weigle standing in a vineyard

Tim Weigle

Over the decades, Weigle went on to develop, test, and teach solutions for a myriad of insect, disease, and weed problems in vineyards—not just in NYS, but across the Great Lakes region. He reached over 1,500 growers, processors, and fruit workers annually. How? Via educational meetings, workshops, webinars, podcasts, videos, and newsletters. Likewise, Weigle helped colleagues develop IPM guidelines, field guides, record-keeping software, and most recently collaborated on digital vineyard management tools.

In 1992, Weigle helped develop NEWA, the Network for Environment and Weather Applications. Today, weather stations live-stream data to inform IPM forecasts that address the five main threats to vineyard health. NEWA’s online network gives up-to-the-minute decision support so growers know when their crops are at risk—or not—thereby reducing extra sprays. Weigle ushered in e-NEWA, directly delivering NEWA results to growers by email, and in 2019 he doubled Lake Erie weather stations to 44, bringing IPM forecasts to even more grape growers.

Most recently, as the threat of the spotted lanternfly (SLF) looms across New York, Weigle brought his entomology and education skills to the forefront again, leading NYSIPM’s SLF awareness and outreach campaign. And his perceptive people-skills remind us that it’s not just vineyard managers who need to be vigilant, but every traveler passing through the SLF-infested areas to our south. Weigle has just retired, leaving large shoes to fill in grape IPM.

Grape and Hops IPM Extension Educator Tim Weigle, like some of the pests he helped growers successfully manage, is now a rare sight out in the field. His 2019 retirement from NYSIPM means more than an empty desk at the Lake Erie Research and Extension Lab, his base since its opening ten years ago. For 30 years, Tim partnered with researchers, growers, and industry to protect New York’s land and water. We hope Tim is now enjoying the fruits of his labor, literally!

 

For more on any aspect of the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program, please visit our website!

 

April 10, 2020
by Joellen Lampman
Comments Off on It’s Bat Appreciation Week

It’s Bat Appreciation Week

The sun was set; the night came on apace, And falling dews bewet around the place; The bat takes airy rounds on leathern wings, And the hoarse owl his woeful dirges sings. – John Gay

Little brown bats capture beetles, true bugs, moths, flies, wasps, and other insects. Photo: J. N. Stuart flickr

Big brown bats feed on beetles and other hard-bodies insects. Photo: US Fish and Wildlife Service flickr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bats are one of those creatures that instill fear in people. (Thanks, Hollywood.) But as all our New York bats eat insects, at a rate of around 700 insects per hour, they can play an important biocontrol role in our IPM programs.

The federally endangered Indiana bat eats beetles, flies, moths, and other insects. Photo: US Fish and Wildlife Service flickr

There are two types of bats in the Northeast. Some species are communal and typically overwinter in caves, mines, and sometimes, to our consternation, our buildings. They include the little brown bat, big brown bat, eastern long-eared bat, eastern pipistrelle, small-footed myotis, and the federally endangered Indiana bat.

(If you find bats lodging in your attic, it is best to call in the professionals. They’ll work with you at the right times of the year to close up crevices and holes that let bats in. Closing up entry holes in the summer could trap baby bats inside. For more information, visit What’s Bugging You – How to deal with bats.)

The hoary bat is our largest bat, migrates to Mexico for the winter, and feeds on beetles, true bugs, moths, flies, wasps, and other insects. Photo: Tom Benson flickr

Bats in the second group live largely solitary lives, roost primarily in tree canopies and cavities, and migrate south for the winter. These include the red bat, hoary bat, and silver-haired bat.

According to the Cornell publication, Bats in the Forest and Beyond, “in a study of a colony of 150 brown bats in an agricultural area, researchers estimated that the colony consumed over 1.25 million insects in a year. This is not surprising, considering that a single bat may eat 3,000 insects on a given summer night. Bats roosting and foraging in New York forests consume forest and eastern tent moths, and a variety of other potential forest pests”.

Whitenose syndrome on little brown bat. Photo: New York US Fish and Wildlife Service

The legal status of bats varies from state to state. In New York, two species, the Indiana bat and the northern long-eared bat, are protected. However, the conservation of all bats is encouraged. This is particularly important since the populations of some bat species, especially the little brown bat, have been decimated by an introduced fungal disease, white-nose syndrome.

So what can we do to help? According to the Cornell Wildlife Health Center, “to minimize spread of the fungus [that causes white-nose syndrome], people should not handle bats, avoid entering caves and mines with bat colonies, and should decontaminate all equipment and clothing between caves and bat roosts”.

Leave or plant trees with deep furrowed bark such as shagbark hickory that provide roosing spots for bats. Allowing dead trees with peeling bark can also provide habitat. If you must take down these trees, avoid cutting from May to early August when bats are raising thier young. We can also install bat boxes, which mimic areas bats would naturally roost.

 

Looking for something to do with the kids? Alyson Brokaw, a student involved with The Cornell University Naturalist Outreach Program, talks to students about her love of bats and developed a companion education guide.

photo of the title to a video about bats from the Cornell University Naturalist Outreach program

Alyson talks about why the world’s only true flying mammals are so amazing and why you should learn all about them! Plus, Alyson answers the burning question: “Why do bats hang upside down?”

 

 

 

April 7, 2020
by Joellen Lampman
Comments Off on Help! I found a tick on me! – Spring Edition

Help! I found a tick on me! – Spring Edition

It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want — oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! ~Mark Twain

Part of what we want is to be outside! And, with COVID-19, more people than ever are heading to the great outdoors. Which, unfortunately, is where the ticks are. And ticks want a blood meal. In the early spring we still have some adult blacklegged tick adults hanging around. But the time has also come again for blacklegged tick nymphs to look for a meal. As well as American dog ticks. And lone star ticks. And the recently discovered Asian longhorned tick.

When taking pictures of ticks for identification purposes, try to have the tick fill as much as the frame as possible and take multiple pictures to increase the chances of one being in focus.

And people want answers to questions such as this one, “I just removed a tick from my child. What should I do now?”

We’ll start by stressing there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of a tick bite. This has been covered in multiple places including our Don’t Get Ticked NY website and various blogs including keeping dogs tick free, using repellents effectively, and the proper use of permethrin treated clothing. If you do find one attached, we covered tick removal in the blog post It’s tick season. Put away the matches and YouTube video How to remove a tick.

Identifying ticks

With four major tick species in New York, it’s important to identify which one bit you. Each species, life stage, and, for adults, whether it is a male versus female have different color patterns. The length of the mouthparts vary between ticks. They have festively named festoons which can also help with ID. As ticks are freakishly small, and we are looking at even smaller parts of their body, it is handy to have a magnifying lens, a good smartphone camera and a steady hand, or, better yet, a microscope. Don’t have one? There are options for having someone identify the tick for you. They include:

If you want to give identification a go, the TickEncounter Resource Center has an excellent guide highlighting the scutum, festoons, and life history. Life history? Yes! Life history should only be used as a clue, however. Ticks don’t read the books and every life stage of the blacklegged tick has been found throughout the year.

Tick-borne pathogens

Identification matters because different tick species can transmit different tick-borne pathogens. Which is information you want to give your health care provider to help them make an informed decision..

First, let’s be clear that we provide mostly information about ticks. Any information about tick-borne pathogens that cause disease is restricted to what pathogens are carried by what tick species and how they are transmitted. It is beyond the scope of our roles as IPM Educators to discuss diagnosis, symptoms, and treatment. (For this information, we refer you to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Tickborne Diseases of the United States page.)

The chart show that blacklegged ticks can transmit the pathogens that cause Lyme, Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Powassan Virus, Borrelia miyamotoi, and Erlichiosis. Lone star ticks can transmit the pathogens that cause Erlichiosis, STARI, possibly alpha-gal allergy, Canine Erlichiosis, Tularemia, and possible Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and American dog ticks can transmit the pathogens that cause Tularemia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and cause tick paralysis.

Different tick species host different pathogens. Importantly, ticks can transmit more than one pathogen at a time.

The poster to the right shows what disease pathogens can be transmitted by the three ticks of greatest human concern in NY, the blacklegged tick, dog tick, and lone star tick. To date, no Asian longhorned ticks in the U.S. have tested positive for any tick-borne pathogens.

What’s the risk?

A question you will likely be asked when reporting a tick is, “How long was the tick attached?”. In my honest opinion, this is a rather silly question. Ticks are very, very good at not being noticed. They want to stick around for up to a week feeding. To help deter detection, they release antihistamines and painkillers in their saliva. And, perhaps more importantly, none of us want to admit to ourselves that a tick was feeding on our blood for days. It’s a hard psychological pill to swallow. There is also some question in the medical literature about the time required for transmission of the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. Especially if the tick was removed improperly. And we know Powassan virus can be transmitted in a matter of minutes. But the question will still likely be asked.

The answer? Take another look at that tick and refer to TickEncounter who has helpfully created charts showing the growth of ticks as they feed.

Chart showing increasing size of ticks as they feed linking to TickEncounter Resource Center website.

Courtesy of The TickEncounter Resource Center

I have found this chart particularly useful when people swear the tick was on them for only a few hours. Having an estimate of the attached time is helpful information for your physician.

A microscope is definitely handy to help see the distinguishing features on removed ticks.

And now back to the original request: “I just removed a tick from my child. What should I do now?” In this case, we were able to put the tick under a microscope to help with identification. Before reading on, what would you say it is?

 

This looks like a blacklegged tick nymph which was attached for 1 to 2 days, so any pathogens carried by the tick might have been transmitted. I recommended printing the Tick-Borne Diseases and Non-Pathogenic Impacts sheet, circling the identified species and life stage, writing down the estimated time of attachment, and calling their health care professional.

One last question often asked – “Should I get the tick tested?”

We follow the CDC recommendation of not having the tick tested for diagnostic purposes. The reasons include:

  • Positive results showing that the tick contains a disease-causing organism do not necessarily mean that you have been infected.
  • Negative results can lead to false assurance. You may have been unknowingly bitten by a different tick that was infected.
  • If you have been infected, you will probably develop symptoms before results of the tick test are available. If you do become ill, you should not wait for tick testing results before beginning appropriate treatment.

    Don't Get Ticked NY campaign logo

    Promoting IPM, including monitoring and personal protection, as best management practices for avoiding ticks and tick-borne disease.

And finally…

This really isn’t the best time to need to head to the doctors. If you don’t get bitten by a tick, you don’t need to go through this process. Our Don’t Get Ticked NY campaign provides you with the information you need to protect yourself from the risk of tick-borne diseases. Check it out before your next trip outdoors.

Let’s stay safe out there as we enjoy the beautiful spring.

a graphic showing a photo of Joellen Lampman and her role at New York State Integrated Pest Management. She is the school and turfgrass specialist and is located in the Albany Cooperative Extension Office in Voorheesville.

 

April 7, 2020
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on National Healthy Schools Day 2020

National Healthy Schools Day 2020

national healthy schools header

THE NATIONAL HEALTHY SCHOOL DAY Organization shares this: Most schools and childcares are closed. They can work NOW towards healthier facilities for all children when they re-open. National #HealthySchoolsDay is April 7 and the theme is COVID19 and the impact on children.  .

National #HealthySchoolsDay is Tuesday, April 7. “This annual day of focus on the environmental health of children and schools has never been more important and school outreach has never been more important to children and their families.” Join us this year on putting school health in the spotlight: www.NationalHealthySchoolsDay.org

During the pandemic, we thank all our schools for their new work to educate and feed children. They can also use their buildings and grounds workers to fix up the physical environment for when schools reopen. See Resources and tips at http://healthyschools.org/National-Healthy-Schools-Day/Plan-Your-Activity.

During National #HealthySchoolsDay in Public Health Week, and every week, we can all work hard to make children’s lives better. www.NationalHealthySchoolsDay.org

Worried about the COVID at school? For #HealthySchoolsDay, share our unique Resources on cleaning and disinfecting schools and childcares.  https://tinyurl.com/u4cbxfm

green cartoon banner saying we support healthy schools day

The New York State Integrated Pest Management Program of Cornell University is a Partner of the 18th annual National Healthy Schools Day 2020! Together we can make an impact and spread awareness for the importance of healthy school and childcare environment. See http://nationalhealthyschoolsday.org and register an activity today!

It is easier to work on empty buildings. While schools and childcare facilities are closed let’s get messy but important jobs done.

See Resources and tips at http://healthyschools.org/National-Healthy-Schools-Day/Plan-Your-Activity.

RECENTLY, the NYSIPM Program created three blog posts to help school administrators, building maintenance directors and staff, and custodians find resources reminding them of the importance of MONITORING, EXCLUSION and SANITATION to reduce SCHOOL PESTS.

Here are our links:

Post #1 MONITORING

photo shows someone checking an insect trap for signs of activity inside a school kitchen.

Without monitoring, schools are unable to access pest activity.

Post #2 EXCLUSION

photo of gap around pipe filled in to exclude pests

Closing gaps near utilities withe proper fill is key to keeping pests out.

Post #3 SANITATION

Photo shows metal storage shelves with proper spacing and pest-resistant storage of food items. Spacing the metal shelves in a way that allows cleaning and reduces pest habitat

Keeping stored food on well-spaced shelves, out of cardboard when possible, and in pest proof containers is key to reducing pest habitat.

NYSIPM IS PROUD TO BE PART of the NORTHEASTERN IPM CENTER‘S School Working Group, and the BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES FOR SCHOOL IPM WEBSITE.

photo shows a screen shot of the front page of the school best management practices website

Visit and bookmark this School IPM Best Practices website, with resources for school nurses, administrators, teachers, staff, parents, custodial and building maintenance staff, school grounds managers, athletic directors and pest management contractors.

To learn more about the great work done nationwide, follow these links:

www.HealthySchools.org   – who we are, what you can do, help for parents and others

www.CleaningforHealthySchools.org –  green and healthy products

www.NationalHealthySchoolsDay.org – since 2002, join us for the 18th annual on April 7, 2020

 

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