Thursday, August 14, 2014

School Pest News, Volume 13, Issue 8, August 2014

School Pest News, Volume 13, Issue 8,
August  2014
To provide the best professional integrated pest management training and advice for school districts and other environmentally sensitive institutions in Texas and the Southwest.”
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service School IPM Program  

In this Issue

  • Applicator Licensing Requirements in TX  
·         AgriLife Extension entomologists: Avoidance, exclusion, repellent's best practical defense against mosquitoes
·         Just in time for school: New pest control calculator now available for maintenance professionals
Applicator Licensing Requirements in TX (By: Janis Reed)   
Licensing questions are extremely common with applicators in Texas. Often applicators are unsure which type of license they need from of the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA), an agriculture license or a structural license. Additionally, as outsourcing of services becomes more and more common, transitioning between utilizing using staff to manage pests, to hiring outside pest management companies can be confusing for both the pesticide applicators as well as administration. To make matters worse, changes in the licensing requirements that occur during outsourcing can confuse interested parties as well. 

A common conundrum faced by both applicators and administration is which type of license an applicator should obtain to apply pesticides around schools. In general, the answer is simple. If an applicator is going to make applications outdoors ONLY, to control turf pests and weeds, licensing through the TDA on the agriculture side is appropriate. In this case, the applicator should hold a license in the 3A category (Lawn and Ornamental). However, if pesticide applications are going to be made indoors or around buildings, with the intention to control structural pests, it becomes appropriate to be licensed through the Structural Pest Control Service and hold a license in the pest category.

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AgriLife Extension Entomologists: Avoidance, exclusion, repellent's best practical defenses against mosquitoes  (By Paul Schattenberg) 
Chikungunya, a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes, has been identified in five Texas counties — four of them in South Central Texas — and may become endemic to the state, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologists.

As far as the Texas cases are concerned, at this time it appears in each instance the disease was contracted in one of the countries where it is more common, said Sonja Swiger, AgriLife Extension entomologist at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Stephenville.

“The first confirmed case of the disease in Texas was in Williamson County, and the most recent confirmed case was in Bexar County,” said Molly Keck, AgriLife Extension entomologist and integrated pest management specialist, Bexar County.

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, cases have also been confirmed in Gonzales, Travis, and Harris counties.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website notes chikungunya is not considered fatal, but can have serious symptoms, including severe joint pain and swelling, fever, muscle pain, headache and rash. Those most at risk are the very young; people over 65 and individuals with chronic medical conditions. The virus is not spread from person to person, and there is no treatment other than managing the symptoms.

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Just in time for school: New pest control calculator now available for maintenance professionals. (By Steve Byrns)
Maintenance professionals gearing up for the start of school now have a new tool to help defend students from the inevitable summer influx of undesirables roaming the halls.

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s new integrated pest management website,, offers school staff members in charge of pest control a wealth of practical information on managing rodents, birds, cockroaches, ants and a plethora of other unwelcome denizens, said Janet Hurley, AgriLife Extension integrated pest management program specialist at Dallas.

“The cost calculator, available free on the website, allows the user to assess various pest risks on their school and district levels,” Hurley said. “The resulting information will be a big help for those responsible for developing a budget for a school integrated pest management program.”

Hurley said using the calculator is as simple as entering the school’s location, presence of pests and the facility’s condition. The calculator then gives an overall pest risk estimate for the school.

“The calculator also has features that allow you to create your own budget to see how improving certain features will affect the overall pest risk,” she said.
The cost calculator doubles as an excellent teaching tool because many aspects of general building maintenance also relate to pest issues, Hurley said.
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Educational programs of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, or veteran status.

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