New York State IPM Program

August 3, 2020
by Joellen Lampman
Comments Off on Back to School – Keeping the Rodents Outside

Back to School – Keeping the Rodents Outside

We should have little trouble with vermin if builders would hear and understand the ‘language’ of vermin and do a better job in eliminating their entrances and hiding place.” – Hugo Hartnak, 1939

photo of Bobby Corrigan wearing a hard hat, holding a clipboard in one hand and a flashlight in the other pointing out a rusted wall grid plate with a hole large enough for a rat to fit through.

For Bobby Corrigan, pest management is a passion. Called upon for his expertise across the country, we are honored to include him in our conference.

Pests enter school buildings in one of two ways: they are transported in by students, staff, or delivery truck or they make their way in from the outside. The School IPM 2020: Where We’ve Been and What’s Next virtual conference will focus on the first mode, but we will also include information on the second with tips, and a tool, to help with exclusion – or keeping pests out of buildings. Dr. Bobby Corrigan, co-founder of the first Scientific Coalition on Pest Exclusion, will join us to discuss rodent vulnerable areas.

Continue Reading →

July 24, 2020
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on SIGN UP FOR OUR CONFERENCE: School IPM 2020: Where We’ve Been and What’s Next

SIGN UP FOR OUR CONFERENCE: School IPM 2020: Where We’ve Been and What’s Next

A Virtual Two Half-Day Conference

When: Mornings of August 11 & 18, 2020

Where: We will be connecting via Zoom.

How: Click Here to Register

Cost: $15 per person or $25 per school district

PESTICIDE APPLICATOR CREDITS AVAILABLE:

NYSIPM Conference 2020 pesticide recertification credits

NYS Pesticide Applicator recertification credits have been awarded for the following categories: Core, 3A, 3B, 7A, 7F, and 8. Individuals seeking credits will need to submit their applicator ID numbers when pre-registering. Further instructions will be sent upon pre-registering.

Despite decades of promoting school integrated pest management (IPM), bed bugs, cockroaches, lice, and mice continue to be a problem in schools. Part of the issue is lack of implementation of proven IPM techniques such as exclusion. Part of the issue is that some pests, like bed bugs, German cockroaches and lice arrive in backpacks, delivered supplies, and directly on students and staff. While schools often have plans in place to address these pests when they are discovered, it will take a wider community effort to prevent their introductions.

The Sixth Annual NYS IPM conference brings together a wide range of speakers to address and discuss the status of school IPM adoption and where we need to go in the future. If you or your family is impacted by pests or pest management on and off school property, this virtual conference is for you.

Alejandro A. Calixto, our new NYS IPM Program director, will be introducing the conference with remarks on “Perceptions of IPM and Today’s Social Climate.”

Our keynote speaker, Lorraine Maxwell, will discuss “Healthy Environments for Learning”. Her research has found that school building conditions, which include conducive conditions for pests as well as the presence of pests, impact the school’s social climate, which directly impacts student performance.

cartoon of a bed bug, tick, and cockroach who are disappointed to see they are not allowed to go to school. The tick has a mouse pull-toy, and the cockroach has a corona-virus balloon. The bed bug holds a lunch bag.

Conference Agendas

Day 1, August 11, 2020
8:00 Registration: Please Note: if you answered yes during pre-registration to needing pesticide credits, it is important to log into the conference at this time to show your applicator card with picture ID via webcam
8:30 Welcome and Introductory Remarks: Alejandro Calixto, Director, NYS IPM Program at Cornell University, “Perceptions of Integrated Pest Management and Today’s Social Climate”
8:45 Keynote Presentation: Lorraine Maxwell, Associate Professor Emerti, Department of Design and Environmental Analysis, Cornell University, “Healthy Environments for Learning”
9:30 The Status of IPM Implementation within NYS Schools

  • Lynn Braband, Retired, NYSIPM Program
  • Daryl Andreades, Senior Architect, NYS Department of Education
  • Claire Barnett, Founder and Executive Director, Healthy Schools Network
  • Fred Koelbel, NYS School Facilities Association and Port Jefferson School District
10:50 Break
11:15 Panel Discussion
12:15 Concluding Remarks and Adjourn
Day 2, August 18, 2020
8:00 Registration: Please Note: if you answered yes during pre-registration to needing pesticide credits, it is important to log into the conference at this time to show your applicator card with picture ID via webcam
8:30 Welcome & Recap of August 11 Session
9:00 Virtual “tabling” event: Five-minute presentations by partnering organizations describing the services they provide schools.
9:45 What We’re Doing – Community Interventions. Models of community-level pest management. What may we learn from these examples as applied to school pests with strong community connections?

  • 9:45    Dina Fonseca, Rutgers Center for Vector Biology: Community-Level Mosquito Control
  • 10:15   Paul D. Curtis, Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University: Community-based Deer Management in New York State
  • 10:45    Robert Corrigan, Corrigan Consulting, Briarcliff Manor, NY: Identifying and Understanding the Rodent Vulnerable Areas (RVAs) of Schools: Essential for Sustainable IPM
11:15 Break
11:30 Break Out Groups: Identifying Strategies for Interventions for School Pests with Strong Community Connections. Moderated by NYS IPM Program staff, participants will identify common pathways by which targeted pests are introduced to schools and will develop interventions that will prevent or reduce those problems. Participants will also interact about the roles of collaboration, communication, and education in implementing the interventions. Essentially the goal of the break out group will to begin the development of an IPM program for the targeted pest at the community level. One group each will address bed bugs (moderated by Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann) and cockroaches (moderated by Matthew Frye and Amara Dunn). A third break out group (moderated by Joellen Lampman) will begin the process of establishing school IPM priorities, both in school buildings and on school grounds, for NYS, using the School IPM Priorities of the Northeastern U. S. as a starting point.
12:15 Report and Wrap-Up: The break out groups will each give a brief oral report on the results of their interactions; followed by a general discussion and concluding remarks.
1:00 Adjourn

Sponsors:

July 16, 2020
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on A Visit with Amara Dunn, NYSIPM BioControl Specialist

A Visit with Amara Dunn, NYSIPM BioControl Specialist

Amara Dunn was hired for the new BioControl Specialist position just about three years ago.

Since then, she’s gone from focusing on ‘learning the ropes’ and creating goals for the position… to being in high demand by staff (and New Yorkers) on both the agricultural and community sides of our program!

Amara, how does your work here at the IPM Program fit the career you imagined when you entered college?

When I started college I really had no idea what I wanted to do, except that I liked biology but didn’t want to be a medical doctor. You could say that my work at NYSIPM (across a broad range of commodities and settings) is kind of the culmination of exploring and honing my interests through a variety of professional and volunteer experiences during and after college. My eclectic job responsibilities have also reminded me that we learn something from pretty much all of our experiences, even the ones that don’t ultimately lead to a career.

Who do you see as the main audience for your current work?

I am trying very hard to provide materials for a broad range of audiences. For example, I’m doing a lot of work currently on conservation biocontrol (protecting and feeding the “good bugs” you’ve already got) and pollinators like bees and butterflies. All of these beneficial insects need the same things, but taking care of beneficial insects looks different in a back yard than it does on a farm. I’m trying to provide cost and “how-to” information for both groups. I think on some level most people I’ve interacted with – farmers, home gardeners, people who enjoy spending time outdoors – have similar questions and goals. They want to know how to solve pest problems, and they care about protecting people and the environment while they do it.

The newly created Beneficial Habitat Plots provides an ongoing rich resource for understanding how we can encourage beneficial insects that might reduce pests.

What is most rewarding about your work in pest management?

Helping people. Hands down. Being able to answer questions or provide needed information that ultimately has a positive impact on peoples’ lives brings me so much joy.

photo of Amara with cooperative extension staff at the beneficial habitat plot field day

What do you most enjoy doing in your non-work time?

Broadly speaking, I would say that I like creating. I have always loved growing plants, and I’m really enjoying planning and implementing new gardens around the house I just bought. And, yes, these gardens do include plants that support beneficial insects. I’m also using them as “virtual demonstration plots” to show how one might support beneficial insects around their homes (and some of the pitfalls when trying to do this). Over the past few years, I’ve been cultivating (pun intended) an interest in cut flowers. I love having fresh flowers in my home or office, and like being able to share them with others. But I also enjoy cooking and knitting/crocheting. And I like to mix my interests. There are a wealth of patterns out there for people wanting to knit or crochet arthropods. I’ve even tried making my own pattern when I couldn’t find what I was looking for.

graphic shows four photos of animals knitted by Amara

photo of a flower arrangement

Given a month to travel or work on something you enjoy, where or what would it be?

Honestly, I’m pretty ambivalent about travel. I could take it or leave it. But when I do travel, I like to visit local gardens, parks, or museums and try delicious local food!

What biocontrol topic or pest problem do you anticipate on your horizon in the next year or so?

Sadly, I suspect it’s inevitable that spotted lanternfly will become established in NY. We’ve done a great job of delaying that inevitability (kudos to everyone – professionals and lay people – for all your hard work!), but it probably is an inevitability. One of the hoped-for benefits of delaying this pest’s establishment is that we’d have more tools (including biological tools) for managing it by the time it got here.

map of Spotted lanternfly distribution along the east coast

What biocontrol concern has captured your interest for future research?

I’m really interested in learning and documenting the efficacy of biocontrol strategies in the field so that we can give growers specific answers about how to use strategies to reduce risks to people and the environment. For example, how large an area of flowers, which flowers, and how close to the crop do you need to plant them to reduce pest damage? Or, which conventional pesticide sprays can be replaced with biopesticides to maintain good pest control while maintaining profitability. These are really big questions, and I certainly can’t answer them all by myself. There’s a lot of great research already being done on these questions here in NY and elsewhere.

Absolutely. Being part of the NYIPM Program lets us see so much of what’s going on regionally to reduce pest risks and help the environment! Thank you, Amara, for allowing us to share more about you and your role at the NYSIPM Program!

Amara’s office is on the Cornell AgriTech campus but you may have seen her or met her at a variety of conferences and workshops over the last three years. Follow her blog BIOCONTROL BYTES or her Twitter and professional Instagram accounts!

graphic with Amara's contact information. her email is arc55@cornell.eduis

July 10, 2020
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on A Farewell to Director Jennifer Grant

A Farewell to Director Jennifer Grant

We suspect it would take one very long blog post to cover Jennifer Grant’s career at Cornell, so we’ll hit some of the highlights and then focus on some fun. Thanks to some digging by Dr. Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann, we’ve managed to gather, then try to squeeze, a few of Jen’s accomplishments into today’s post!

Jen with a sweep net over flower garden

After receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Vermont, Jen took a position as the Ornamentals IPM Specialist at the new NYS IPM Program, 1989-1996. Next came her Ph.D in Entomology at Cornell in 2000.

Jen’s devotion to teaching, promoting, adoption of, and improvement of IPM remained constant through her years with the program, culminating in her role as Director from which she retired in May of 2020. While immersed in active research improving IPM, Jen took sole helm of a nationally respected program regrouping after some tough financial years.

all the IPM directors in one photo on porch of IPM house

Some of her accomplishments include helping to make NEWA (the Network for Environmental and Weather Applications) a reality in and beyond NY state; the creation of the EIQ evaluation method for pesticide use on golf courses (Environmental Impact Quotient), and co-authoring Reducing Chemical Use on Golf Course Turf: Redefining IPM. Later, she coordinated and cowrote the Best Management Practices for New York State Golf Courses, and organized development of the Cornell Commercial Turfgrass Guidelines. Working with an organic farming specialist, Jen developed comprehensive profiles for the class of products called ‘minimum-risk’ or FIFRA 25b.

photo of Jen on golf green

Jen worked regionally as part of NEERA (Northeast Region Technical Committee on IPM), and her work garnered an Award for Excellence in IPM from the ESA Eastern (Entomology Society of America) in 2011. Jennifer’s obvious passion for encouraging others to find ways to incorporate IPM into their professions and lives has led to the development of strong relationships with individuals and organizations, to the benefit of the NYSIPM program.  She worked with the NYS Departments of Agriculture and Markets; Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; and Environmental Conservation; state legislators; Cooperative Extension; Cornell and other faculty; and industry members to increase the adoption of IPM throughout NYS.

Throughout her years as a supervisor, coordinator, co-director, and as sole IPM director, Jennifer led IPM staff with a consistent strength and grace that inspired both a strong team cohesiveness and the best individual efforts. By expecting the best from her staff and caring for them as friends, Dr. Grant’s example must be considered as key to the program’s success.

staff photo at holiday gathering

More recently, Jen’s work found her included in a team award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Extension/Outreach Team Award for Protecting Pollinator Health by the Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Numbers, like reductions in pesticide applications, show improvement, but so much of Jen’s passion for IPM changed minds. Her direct, yet congenial, way of providing information and encouragement has to be commended for the increase on IPM awareness statewide and nationally.

And gosh darn, we just really like her!

And now, some fond farewells!

altered photo of Jen at a lectern with a sign that says GRANT 2020

“What a great leader! You have my vote!”

“Thank you, Jennifer for your legacy in IPM! You’re an amazing role model for so many of us. We will miss you so much.”

“Thank you for all you’ve contributed to NYS IPM. I wish you all the best in retirement. That first day you don’t have to check email: priceless!”

photo of Jen in kayak

“Your impacts will continue to be felt at NYSIPM and around the state (and probably beyond) well into your retirement.”

“You’ve accomplished so much over your career and I can’t thank you enough for all your dedication to the NYS IPM program, for your guidance, support, and positive attitude.”

“I could not have imagined a more supportive, encouraging and thoughtful ‘boss’ until I came on board at NYSIPM.”

“During my time with the IPM Program, you constantly challenged me to think bigger, outside the box, and in ways that will lead to impacts. You coached me on how to navigate the diverse situations experienced as an IPM educator, and provided useful feedback that I carry with me. Your perspective and thoughtful approach continue to serve as a guide while I develop my own program.”

photo of staff

“Jen, the impact you have had on how and why we all approach IPM and pest management is immeasurable. You will be greatly missed.”

“The changes in technology, practices and perspectives have changed greatly in the 30+ years and in no small part because of the work you’ve done, leaving the world better than you found it (and you may be just getting started)!”

” ‘Thank you’s’ are not enough for all that you have done for each of us and for the NYS IPM Program.”

“It’s been fun working on projects with you—I always felt challenged to do my very best!”

Jen and Jody at conference

“Congrats, Jennifer, on your retirement! I will miss you at future meetings.”

“I’ve learned so much from you both personally and professionally, and I’m lucky to consider you a mentor. I’m sad to see you go, but I’m reminded of your IPM work every day as it continues to ripple through the turf industry.”

photo of Jen in front of IPM House

“Congratulations on your retirement!”

“I’m grateful to have you as a friend and colleague. I’m sad to see you go but super excited for what lies ahead for you and the whole family.”

“I hope you have a fantastic retirement! Congratulations!”

“Your passion, knowledge, and leadership with IPM and turfgrass is an inspiration that will carry me through the rest of my career.”

photo of Jen on a bike with mask and bear gloves

“You sure accomplished a ton with your own bear hands! And you did even more as excellent leader and collaborator. It was a pleasure to work on your team!”

“All the best and will miss you as the director!”

“May you, Keith, and the girls continue to have a fulfilling next phase of life.”

For a wonderful recap, please watch Jen’s goodbye video!

June 23, 2020
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on Best Wishes for a Pest-Free Retirement to Lynn Braband, NYSIPM Community IPM Educator!

Best Wishes for a Pest-Free Retirement to Lynn Braband, NYSIPM Community IPM Educator!

Lynn Braband has a favorite story about how he came to be employed by the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program. It occurred back in 1999 when Lynn’s experience with wildlife management brought him in contact with Director Jim Tette.

Our story is that it was a good day for IPM.  Statewide, regionally, nationally, and even internationally, Lynn Braband made things happen through his determination, eagerness to learn and then share, his passion for the environment ,and his reputation as an all-around naturalist and reliable, genial collaborator.  We have  kudos to share–only a portion of the comments provided before and during Lynn’s VIRTUAL retirement party–but you can’t help but notice our photo header above with some typical Lynn shots. Much like other members of the Community IPM team, on-site scouting for pests was a big part of Lynn’s visits to school districts around the state.

Hang on while we run through SOME of Lynn’s organizational ties, collaborations, presentations and publications:

Starting with Lynn’s Masters in Wildlife Biology, Lynn worked in the wildlife control industry–including his own business–before joining the IPM Program. He is a member of The Wildlife Society, Sigma Xi, American Scientific Affiliation, National Pest Management Association, National Wildlife Control Operators Association, NYS Wildlife Management Association, and the NYS Wetlands Forum.  Add to that, his dedicated service on the National School IPM Steering Committee, the International IPM Symposium Program Committee, the IPM Program Work Team, Rochester Healthy Home Coalition, the Statewide School Environmental Health Steering Committee, and foremost, his co-leadership of the Northeast School IPM Working Group.

As you might know, Lynn created and led NY’s Statewide School IPM Committee (above), but his impact on School IPM became much more than statewide. His retirement announcement prompted praise from collaborators across the nation.

Working with school staff around the state led him to applied research on reducing the risk of yellow jacket stings at schools, and keeping geese off playing fields.

Lynn has spoken on bird management, critters on golf courses, reducing bedbugs in childcare centers, and White Nose Syndrome on bats. I counted more than 150 publications, and over 50 public presentations just since 2012!

Two in-depth school surveys across NY were personally guided by Lynn–it was just a part of his deep commitment and relationship-building with building and property managers at individual schools, and with BOCES health and safety officers.

Trust us, or ask one of his colleagues. The incredible impact Lynn had on expanding IPM knowledge and practices was impressive, and we’ll be doing our best to fill in! As for missing Lynn himself, that’s going to take some getting used to. He might even have a story about that!

photo and quote

Brian Eshenaur, NYSIPM: “It was great to see Lynn’s dedication to get IPM principals utilized in school buildings. Though his leadership, he and colleagues throughout the Northeast have created resources to further school IPM goals in the region.”

“In the many years that I have worked with Lynn I’ve always been impressed with his “steadiness” (unlike me) and his work ethic. Lynn you have accomplished much and are an example of a wonderful public servant. I will miss learning from you.” Marc Lame, Indiana University.

Amara Dunn, NYSIPM: “Not only does Lynn do great IPM, but he is a genuinely kind colleague, and his sense of humor has enlivened many meetings.”

“I wish to take this opportunity to recognize Lynn Braband once more for his splendid support of school IPM efforts within his state and nationally. Lynn, you will be missed greatly; you have influenced, encouraged, educated and supported us all over the years.” Dawn Gouge, University of Arizona.

Jennifer Grant, NYSIPM: “Lynn’s steady commitment and patient persistence have been the underpinnings of his success in getting IPM implemented. That approach, along with his vast knowledge of wildlife biology and regulations, as well as his friendly demeanor, all combine to make it easy and enjoyable to cooperate with Lynn. Throughout his career, Lynn has also shown a strong interest in the ethics of science and pest management. He shares his musings with others, causing us all to think. Thanks for everything Lynn!”

“I want others in the IPM network to understand how instrumental Lynn’s work has been, what a legacy he leaves, and how much he will be missed upon retirement.” Lynn Rose, Pollution Prevention and EHS Consultant, Deerfield, Massachusetts.

Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann, NYSIPM: “What a pleasure and an honor to have worked with you for the past two decades, Lynn. I’ve learned a lot from you, most importantly to be more thoughtful and more careful with words. I’ll definitely miss your humor and I will never forget that Albany dinner when Rod Ferrentino sketched out his crimes on the paper tablecloth and had us crying with laughter. I wish you all the best in your retirement from IPM and future adventures.”

Kathy Murray, Maine Dept. of Agriculture: “Lynn has made a lot of good things happen over the past many years.”

Debra Marvin, NYSIPM: “Lynn’s knowledge of wildlife, including his expertise on birds, make him a great IPM facilitator. But his methodical way of approaching problems, and his gentle respect of others, his philosophy and humor make Lynn so admired by his peers, and (lucky for me) a great supervisor and co-worker.”

Joellen Lampman, NYSIPM: “I will miss my dinner time conversations with Lynn, many of which caused fellow diners to wish they had eaten somewhere else that night. But mostly I will miss his stories, his dry sense of humor, and his ability to organize different people with different interests around a common goal statewide, regionally, and even nationally.”

NYSIPM’s Matt Frye chose to honor Lynn in another way:

 

June 6, 2020
by Joellen Lampman
Comments Off on NYSIPM partners with The Tick App

NYSIPM partners with The Tick App

The Tick App: Studying human behavior, tick exposure and the risk of Lyme disease using a citizen science approach via a smartphone application.

picture titled The Tick App has a picture of the app open on a cell phone

Concerned about ticks? Download The Tick App for free to join our research efforts and report your tick encounters.

If you have heard any NYS IPM Program staff talk about ticks, you have probably heard us mention that there is a lot we don’t know about ticks. Or exactly how our actions impact our risk of getting a tick-borne disease. So it is with great pleasure that we announce that we have partnered with the Diuk-Wasser lab at Columbia University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison who created The Tick App.

By downloading the app through GooglePlay or the AppStore, you will have access to information about:

  • ticks biology and identification
  • tick activity in your area
  • tick prevention
  • how to remove a tick

It will also help you identify ticks that you find through the Report a Tick button.screen shots from The Tick App

That’s a lot of information at your fingertips. The most important part of the app, however, is the daily log where you share with the team how you spent your time, what steps you took to prevent tick encounters (if any), and if you found a tick on you, a family member, or a pet. Your information is confidential and will only be shared as aggregated data based on zip code.

I have been using the app for two years and have made entering my data a daily routine, along with my daily tick check. It takes only minutes to complete.

The more people entering data, the better the team will be able to connect the dots between what we do and how that brings us in contact with ticks. We will then be able to better create recommendations to keep New Yorkers safe.

And there’s no better time as The Tick App is launching the #BattleOfTheDailyLog this June, pitching NY against other northeast and midwest states. C’mon New York! We can do this!

Don’t worry. We’ll still continue to provide tick information through the Don’t Get Ticked NY Campaign via our website, blog posts, and presentations.

 

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 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 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

 

April 6, 2020
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on Timely School IPM Tip #3: Sanitation

Timely School IPM Tip #3: Sanitation

This is the third and final post dedicated to tactics of school IPM most appropriate to the current situation of shuttered schools. (If your building is open to provide meals for at-home students, we applaud your efforts!)

Post #1 Scouting, Post #2 Exclusion. Sanitation is a third step in structural pest management, as it reduces pest habitat (food, water, shelter).

Sure to gain your attention, this photo (below) proves there’s been a lack of sanitation (and scouting, and exclusion!) But this scenario might well be the case in buildings left unattended during the Covid-19 closures. This may seem extreme, but sanitation isn’t just removing dead rodents, it’s keeping storage areas, kitchens and classrooms free of crumbs, condensed water, and recyclables.

photo shows a sticky trap with three mise on it. one is still alive, the other two dead. one is just what's left after other pests have fed on it.

Below is a (partial) look at our recommended Best Management Practices chart. We left off the Daily practices in favor of what can be done best during shutdown. Sanitation is more than just cleaning greasy stove tops.  It’s getting to all those places we’d rather ignore, and reducing clutter and keeping food products in pest-proof containers.

a partial chart of things to do monthly, quarterly or annually to reduce pest problems in buildings.

For example, the non-chemical practices to reduce cockroaches:

The key factor is sanitation and reduction in habitat. Take care not to bring them in on packaging material (inspect incoming food). Clean up all spilled foods; don’t leave dirty dishes overnight; store all food in pest-resistant packaging; modify areas where pipes and utilities enter walls (caulk and screen all entrances); reduce moisture by improving plumbing and insulating pipes that routinely sweat. Empty garbage every day. Keep floor drains capped or full of water. Increase ventilation in moist areas. Baits are the most efficient and widely used form of control, but prevention is the least toxic method of control.

photo shows a corner in a storage or boiler room where rodent droppings have accumulated.

(Above) Mouse droppings are not just unsightly, they can cause allergic reactions and health issues, and can carry disease. Cockroaches exacerbate conditions like asthma. SANITATION also assists monitoring. If this area was cleaned last week, you can be sure the droppings are new.

photo shows a plugged floor drain in a commercial kitchen

(Above) Drain Fly Harborage: Clogged floor drains with decaying organic material provides breeding habitat for drain flies.

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

(above) This commercial storage area shows good spacing and pest-resistant storage. Keeping cardboard to a minimum, and providing space between items, and space below and behind the shelving makes for easier cleaning. (photo Dr. Matt Frye)

Here are some resources:

UC IPM: How to Get Rid of Pantry Pests

(A longer video on Cockroach control in the home) Minnesota Dept. of AG and EPA: Cockroach Prevention and Control  and (En Espanol)

Green Cleaning Products – EPA – Protecting Students and Staff with Green Cleaning Products

And in this time of specific cleaning needs, EPA Recommended Cleaning products against Virus

 

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