Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Colorado April School IPM Newsletter

School IPM Newsletter ̶  April  2013

Healthy Colorado Schools


Swarming is a natural phenomenon that happens when the queen leaves the colony with a large group of worker bees  to form a new honey bee colony .  A swarm can contain thousands to tens of thousands of bees. Swarming usually occurs in the spring, within a two- or three-week period depending on the locale, but occasional swarms can happen throughout the producing season. Swarming is the natural way to start a new hive.

Encountering a bee swarm for the first time can be alarming. Bees tend to swarm near their hives or honeycombs, so if a swarm is visible then a nest is nearby. Swarms are usually not aggressive unless provoked, so it is important to keep a good distance from the swarm.

Bee swarms can be easily re-located and do not need to be destroyed.

If you have a swarm that needs to be re-located, contact the
Colorado State Beekeepers Association. Beth Conrey is President and can answer your questions about swarms and/or hives in trees or buildings. Beth can also be reached at: or 970-213-3099.



Boulder County Swarm Hotline: 
Denver Metro Swarm Hotline: 

Northern Colorado Swarm Hotline:
(Berthoud, Fort Collins, Greeley, Loveland)

Western Slope Resources:
Additional Resources:

There is no fee to the property owner for capturing swarms, however there may be a fee for removing a hive from within a structure. 


Maintaining a healthy turf does not have to be difficult, but as participants at the recent IPM On School Grounds workshop learned, it does require know-how.

Primary roles of turfgrass are soil stabilization, water conservation, and filtration of air and water borne pollutants. Actively growing turf can suppress dust, glare, and noise, and dissipate heat, especially in the arid and semi-arid regions of the United States. Healthy growing turfgrasses act as biological filters and remove atmospheric pollutants.

Getting your soil tested is one of the first ways to discover the true condition of your soil. 

For more information about getting your soil analyzed contact :  CSU Soil Analysis Lab.
Or call:  970-491-5061.


When dealing with bats it’s easy to forget that they can be helpful, one bat can eat 600 mosquitoes an hour , and that they are protected by federal law.

White-nose syndrome  (WNS) s a   white fungus, Geomyces destructans, often found on the muzzles, ears and wings of infected bats. WNS spreads mainly through bat-to-bat contact. There is no evidence it infects humans or other animals. But spores may be carried cave-to-cave by people on clothing or gear.

Detected in New York in 2006, the disease has spread steadily to 22 states and five Canadian provinces. WNS has killed an estimated 5.7 million to 6.7 million bats and threatens  endangered species such as Indiana and gray bats. In some caves and mines, 90 to 100 percent of the bats have died.
Bats play a critical role in ecosystems, serving as a natural pest control that saves the U.S. agricultural industry at least $3 billion a year and also helping limit insects that can spread disease to people. Many bat populations are already in decline because of habitat loss. Their ability to rebound is limited by reproduction rates as low as one offspring a year. 
According to the National Park Service Office of Public Health, WNS does not appear to pose a threat to human health since the fungus that causes the disease only  grows at temperatures well below human body temperature.

Yet, while people are not at risk of contracting WNS, the public is cautioned against handling bats, which can carry other diseases such as rabies.

For more information about bats check out our Bat Fact Sheet


Known as the Bug Man, at Colorado State University, Dr. Whitney Cranshaw is looking for bugs and he’s asking for your help.
He is looking for  specific sightings and/or specimens of four bugs.  He is attempting to track the bugs as they enter the state and region and for other research purposes.   If anyone sees the bugs or captures specimens, please contact Dr. Cranshaw directly at:

The bugs are: Brown marmorated stink bug, Emerald Ash Borer, Cluster Fly, and Fireflies


What is a neonicotinoid? Why does this matter to schools and people involved in school maintenance?

Neonicotinoids are a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically related to nicotine.  Originally believed to be safer for mammals then previous insecticides, recent studies indicate that there may be a greater environmental impact than originally thought. 

In January 2013, the European Food Safety Authority stated that neonicotinoids pose an unacceptably high risk to bees, and may be linked to colony collapse disorder.  The serious risk to bees should not be under estimated, as one-third of the U.S. diet depends on these insect pollinators. 

In March 2013, the American Bird Conservancy (ABC)  published a review of 200 studies on neonicotinoids including industry research calling for a ban on neonicotinoid use as seed treatments because of their toxicity to birds, aquatic invertebrates, and other wildlife.

Cynthia Palmer, co-author of the report and Pesticides Program Manager for ABC, said
“It is clear that these chemicals have the potential to affect entire food chains.  The environmental persistence of the neonicotinoids, their propensity for runoff and for groundwater infiltration, and their cumulative and largely irreversible mode of action in invertebrates raise significant environmental concerns.”

Also in March 2013, the US EPA  was sued by a coalition of beekeepers, conservation and sustainable agriculture  advocates who accused the agency of performing inadequate toxicity evaluations and allowing the pesticides' registration to stand on insufficient industry studies.

IPM focuses on the biology and inter-relatedness of pests with their environment.  Given  the wide-spread use of neonicotinoid insecticides continuing to educate yourself and staff can prevent unnecessary accidents.

WEED OF THE MONTH:  Puncturevine

· A summer annual also known as goatheads.
· Forms a dense mat 2 to 5 feet in diameter.
· One plant will produce 200 to 5,000 seeds in one growing season.
· The seeds remain viable in the soil for up to
five years.

IPM Recommendations:
· Removing plants by hand or  hoe before seed is effective  because the plant has a single taproot. 
· Mowing is not effective because the plant grows low to the ground. 
· Organic mulches at least 3 inches thick can be used; puncturevine does not readily emerge from soil depths greater than 2 inches.
·  Microlarinus lareynii, is a seed weevil.
·  Microlarinus lypriformis,  is a stem weevil.  Contact  the Colorado Department of Agriculture for more information .
· Several herbicides are registered for control in turf, including dicamba, Surflan and Trelan.  Always follow the label when applying any pesticide. Contact your school district regarding policies on herbicide use on school grounds.


Healthy Schools Day is a collaborative nationwide event
coordinated by Healthy Schools Network in cooperation with US EPA. 
It focuses awareness on the benefits of a quality indoor environment
and promotes the use EPA's
IAQ Tools for Schools guidance

In our pest audits we  recommend some simple changes to improve the classroom environment including  eliminating  room deodorizers, keeping food in the  classroom contained, ensuring that windows are screened,  and cleaning up classroom clutter. 

For All The Latest News Don’t Forget To Check Out Our Website/Blog at:

The Colorado Coalition for School IPM is an effort by Colorado State University, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,  Colorado Department of Agriculture, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado Department of  Education, school districts, National Environmental Health
Association and private pest control professionals.

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