New York State IPM Program

July 27, 2016
by Mary M. Woodsen
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Hiring Now: Four New NYS IPM Posts

The New York State IPM Program seeks four new staff to amplify our IPM outreach and research for farms and communities around New York. Here are the positions (three of them new) we seek to fill:

  • Biocontrol Specialist (Extension Associate)
  • Alternative Weed Management Specialist (Extension Associate)
  • Coordinator for the Network for Environment and Weather Applications (Extension Associate)
  • Coordinator for Livestock and Field Crops IPM (Senior Extension Associate)

Our mission: to develop sustainable ways to manage disease, insect, weed, and wildlife pests; and to help people use methods that minimize environmental, health, and economic risks. Our agricultural and community programs have overlapping issues and settings. Agricultural IPM programming includes fruits, vegetables, ornamentals, and livestock and field crops. Community IPM promotes insect, weed, plant disease and wildlife management in schools, homes, and workplaces as well as on lawns, playfields, golf courses, parks and landscapes; it also includes invasive species and public health pests. NYSIPM is a national leader in developing and promoting IPM practices.

Hands-on workshops held on neighborhood farms are a tried and true way to get IPM practices to stick.

Hands-on workshops held on neighborhood farms are a tried and true way to get IPM practices to stick.

We foster a collegial and cooperative environment where teamwork is emphasized and appreciated. We also collaborate with Cornell University faculty, staff, and Cornell Cooperative Extension educators, as well as with specialists from other states and universities. These positions will be housed either in Geneva (NYSAES) or Ithaca (Cornell campus).

Education and Experience

All applicants must have an MS (required) or PhD (preferred) degree in entomology, plant pathology, horticulture or other suitable field. A minimum of two years professional experience in extension education and research or demonstration in required for extension associates and eight years for the senior extension associate. We will consider experience as a graduate student.

Additional Information AND HOW TO APPLY

For more information and application instructions, click here. Applications will be accepted until 8/31/2016 or until a suitable candidate is found.

May 8, 2015
by Lynn A. Braband
Comments Off on Survey Provides Insights into IPM within NYS Schools

Survey Provides Insights into IPM within NYS Schools

A 2013 survey of the pest management policies and practices of New York State public schools was recently published on-line: Pest Management Practices: A Survey of Public School Districts in New York State.  A partnership of the NYS IPM Program, the NYS Department of Health, the NYS Education Department, and the NYS School Facilities Association, the goals of the survey were to evaluate the status of IPM in public elementary and secondary schools, provide guidance on assisting schools in improving pest management, gauge changes since a 2001 survey, and ascertain the impacts of the state’s Neighbor Notification Law and the Child Safe Playing Field Act.back-to-school-183533

Highlights include a large increase in the number of school districts with written pest management policies, a low rate of issues associated with pesticide applications, and reductions in pesticide use. Prominent needs that exist concerning pest management in schools include the pervasive issue of food in classrooms and other non-cafeteria locations and the challenges associated with maintaining quality athletic fields in light of the Child Safe Playing Fields Act. The implications of the drop in certified pesticide applicators employed by schools needs to be assessed. Also, geese are increasing as a troublesome pest on school grounds.

Approximately 73% of the districts responding to the 2013 survey indicated that they had a written pest management policy, up from 45% in 2001. Official written policies provide a consistent framework for implementing safe and effective pest management. However, most school districts did not have a policy concerning food outside of cafeterias. This is a frequent attractant for pests such as ants and mice.

The percentage of school districts that employed staff certified as pesticide applicators dropped from 50% in 2001 to 34% in 2013. Most districts did not have regularly scheduled pesticide applications. However, the rate of those that did, around 23%, changed little from 2001 to 2013.

The most frequent and troublesome pests in NYS schools in both surveys were ants, stinging insects, mice, and weeds. The only pest situation that significantly increased was geese, from 14% of the districts in 2001 to 25% in 2013.

In 2013, we asked schools about their use of minimum risk pesticides, as products with boric acid or plant essential oils. Fourteen percent of the districts indicated that they used these products routinely, while 62% stated that minimum risk pesticides are used infrequently. Future trends in the use of such products by schools would be informative.

Most NYS school districts received complaints about pests within three years prior to 2013. Not over two per cent had received complaints about pesticide applications during the same period.

Almost 90% of the survey respondents indicated that they had not experienced any problems implementing the Neighbor Notification Law, and almost 50% stated that the law resulted in a significant reduction in pesticide use by their school districts. Almost 60% indicated little impact of the Child Safe Playing Field Act since they had already implemented pesticide alternatives. About 22% stated a major impact and anticipated difficulty in maintaining quality of the grounds. Another 20% indicated moderate changes to their practices and that they were looking into pesticide alternatives. Over 60% of the survey respondents indicated that the Child Safe Playing Field Act had caused a reduction in pesticide use by their school districts.

April 14, 2015
by Joellen Lampman
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Lawn care and the spring itch

“April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.” ― William Shakespeare

It’s Spring (with a capital S) and the urge to get outside and work in the yard is mounting. When it comes to your lawn, what should you be thinking about and doing as April progresses?

Ahhh, spring. Waiting for the grass to grow.
Ahhh, spring. Waiting for the grass to grow.

Getting ready to mow

Depending on where you are, it might be awhile yet before it is time to gas up the mower. In the meantime, avoid the rush and get your mower tuned up and the blades sharpened. Set the mower blades to their highest setting. If you do nothing else this year, keep your blades sharp throughout the season, mow high, and leave the clippings in place.

Not sure how to remove the blade from your walk-behind or tractor? Want to sharpen your blades yourself but don’t know how? Here are some videos to help you out:

 

Videos from the iBook Lawn Care: The Easiest Steps to An Attractive Environmental Asset by Lori J. Brewer. Videos are directed and created by Insights International, Inc. and included here with permission of the author.

Hold off on the fertilizers

Do not fertilize if the lawn is looking good or you fertilized in the fall. The grass can get all the nutrients it needs from the soil and grass clippings.

Research has shown that fertilizing is best done in the fall when it supports root growth. Spring fertilization promotes top growth. There are two issues with this. First, promoting top growth at the expense of root growth leads to grass that is less resistant to drought and pests. Second, while you may currently find it hard to believe, you will get tired of mowing.

Seeding

Fall is also the best time for seeding, but if you have bare patches or thin areas, fill these areas with a mixture of perennial rye grass seed.

Want more? Download the free iBook, Lawn Care: The Easiest Steps to an Attractive Environmental Asset and visit IPM for Landscapes, Parks & Golf Courses.

February 13, 2015
by Mary M. Woodsen
Comments Off on Check It Out: Our School ABC IPM Blog

Check It Out: Our School ABC IPM Blog

Enjoying our ThinkIPM blog? Truck on over to our School ABCs blog — you’ll find plenty of good stuff there, too. Sure, it’s aimed mainly at school staff — but who doesn’t care about our schools? Seek no further:

The ABCs of School and Childcare Pest Management Brought to you by the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program

And samples of what you’ll find:

Got Geese II

Touchdown! But who wants goose poo on their cleats? Sign up to learn more.

Touchdown! But who wants goose poo on their cleats? Sign up to learn more.

Although beautiful in flight and valued as a symbol of the wild, Canada Geese frequenting school grounds, including athletic fields, are a growing concern. Come and learn about goose biology and behavior, the legal framework for dealing with goose problems, alleviation techniques available to schools, and the long-term management of geese and goose problems.

A second workshop helps school personnel learn to deal with goose problems on school grounds and athletic fields on February 20 (Rochester) or March 13 (Norwich).

Bed Bugs in Schools. You Found One.

Aren't bed bugs supposed to be button-shaped? This one is because it's well fed, but as it digests its meal it’ll become buttonlike again. Courtesy

Aren’t bed bugs supposed to be button-shaped? This one is because it’s well fed, but as it digests its meal it’ll become buttonlike again. Courtesy Gary Alpert.

Don’t panic, and don’t assume the insect’s source, but discreetly remove the student from the classroom. If you’re not the person responsible for pest management, contact them immediately. Someone must attempt to collect the insect for proper ID! Examine the student’s belongings, in keeping with your district’s personal property policy. If the insect is a bed bug, contact the student’s parents by phone, explaining the facts without targeting fault. Offer to send educational bed bug information home with the student at the end of the day. There should be no reason to send the student home early. If your district is completely unprepared for this type of event, it’s time to determine a policy.

Child Safe Playing Fields Act – Frequently Asked Questions

A New York law essentially banning pesticide use on the grounds of schools and day care centers has been full effect since 2011. … Besides the playgrounds, turf, athletic or playing fields clearly stated in the law, playground equipment and fence lines around athletic fields and tennis courts are included.

The following areas are left to local discretion, but with the understanding that the intent of the law is to reduce children’s exposure to pesticides:

  • Areas around buildings
  • Ornamental plants such as trees, shrubs, and flowers

Bed Bugs in Schools – Is it or isn’t it?

The person responsible for pest management decisions in your school or child care facility should be able to identify bed bugs, as well as understand their life cycle, habitat needs and how to prevent or remove them. But all of us should do ourselves a favor and learn about this pest.  With ever-increasing incidences of bed bug infestations, knowledge is your number one key to prevention.

Updated EPA Website: Healthier Schools for Healthier Kids

Children are not little adults – they are still growing and developing. We need to take special precautions to keep them safe

…a great reminder from the EPA’s newly updated Healthy Schools website.  They hope to provide a more user-friendly site and have added a “School Bulletin Board” where you’ll find all the news regarding healthy school environments.

Here’s the link:  http://www.epa.gov/schools/

April 15, 2014
by Mary M. Woodsen
Comments Off on Athletic-Field Disaster — It’s All About Prevention

Athletic-Field Disaster — It’s All About Prevention

We’ve all heard it: “Lack of planning on your part doesn’t constitute an emergency on my part.” But — but — sometimes it creates an incredible mess.

Two basic steps in Integrated Pest Management — planning and communication —avoid a number of problems. Recently an upstate NY school rented its space to an outside agency — a practice that’s becoming more common in these tough economic times. And what could be more important than preventing the mistakes that cause really expensive problems from happening?

This damage wasn’t caused by insects, diseases, or weeds. But it’s still relevant to a thorough IPM Plan. Any turfgrass manager will confirm — often the most damaging pests are people.

This damage wasn’t caused by insects, diseases, or weeds. But it’s still relevant to a thorough IPM Plan. Any turfgrass manager will confirm — often the most damaging pests are people.

Prevention — it’s core to good IPM. Because clear communication and good planning could have prevented this athletic-field disaster.

In a nutshell, the school was told 1,000 people would be coming to the school for exams. They assumed this meant that 500 would arrive in the morning and 500 in the afternoon — and knew the parking lot could accommodate that number of cars. When 1,000 people showed up for the morning exam someone started directing cars onto athletic fields just thawing from the frozen winter. The result?

“Four acres of mud and ruts,” the local paper said.

Author: Joellen Lampman, NYS IPM

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