The origin and extent of a pest infestation is often associated with one or more conditions that promote the survival and reproduction of that particular pest. Those conditions include:
Abundant food and water, and
Available shelter or harborage
When pest problems occur there is usually one or more of these requirements readily accessible to the pest.
The preferred living environment for most humans also provides the necessities many pests need to satisfy their life support requirements. Therefore, it is important that homeowners limit pest access to potential sources of food, water, and shelter in and around the home in an effort to keep our personal living space inhospitable to unwanted house pests.
Proactive pest management is a process that begins with identifying the pest and using information on the biology of the offending creature to decide upon a plan of action. The action plan should involve interventions aimed at reducing pest population numbers or the chance for future encounters with that pest.
Proactive pest management interventions will vary from one household or business to the next but there are a few overarching themes worthy of comment. (Editors note: We discuss access to food in this article. For information on other proactive pest management refer to the publication Management of Pest Insects in and Around the Home)
General rules of cleanliness during food preparation, storage and disposal is the logical starting point for helping to resolve and prevent certain pest problems. Denying pests access to food is an important component of making our living environment less hospitable to pests.
Important practices (habits to establish) that may limit insect access to food include, but are not limited to:
Keep food in tightly sealed containers;
Keep bird food in feeders, as rodents may use spilled food as a food source (Figure 1);
Rotate (use) boxed or packaged foods every 1-2 months;
Clean up spills that occur during food preparation or handling;
Do not keep soiled dishes in the sink or dishwasher overnight;
Empty indoor garbage receptacles twice per week, at a minimum;
Clean garbage disposals at least once a week;
Keep outdoor garbage in a tightly sealed container and away from any dwelling entrance;
Rinse recyclable containers prior to recycling;
Store birdseed in a tightly sealed container, preferably outside and away from doors;
Ensure that discarded plant waste is removed twice per week, at a minimum, especially during the summer (Figure 2).
Daniel Suiter (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Brian Forschler (email@example.com) are Professors of Entomology, specializing in urban entomology, in the Department of Entomology at the University of Georgia; Suiter is located on the university’s campus in Griffin, while Forschler is on the main campus in Athens, Ga.
Lisa Ames (firstname.lastname@example.org) directs the Homeowner Insect and Weed Diagnostics Laboratory on the UGA Griffin Campus.
Richard Hoebeke, a systematic entomologist, is the associate curator of insects at the Georgia Museum of Natural History on the UGA’s main campus in Athens, Ga (email@example.com).
Georgia Credit (credit also available in FL, AL, SC, TN) 5 HPC Hours (Cert/Reg)
The registration fee ($75) includes the 1 day workshop, instructional materials, lunch, and refreshments during the course of the workshop.
IPM Workshops are limited to 25 participants, so register early to reserve your spot!
Urban and structural pest management is the protection of property, food, and health from insect and rodent pests commonly found in homes, restaurants, and other businesses. The goal of this workshop is to teach participants how to generate and interpret the information required for effective Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs.
The IPM Workshop Program addresses the development of critical thinking skills required for pest management professionals to develop an IPM mindset. Workshop programming addresses, through classroom lectures and discussion, on-site demonstrations, identification laboratories, and interactive field activities, such topics as:
Logical components of IPM programs
Inspections: The driving force and cornerstone of the IPM process
Inspection tools and techniques
Decision making – when to treat, not treat, or do nothing
Using trap data in the decision-making process
The role of pesticides in IPM
A Unique Training Opportunity. An insect identification laboratory is part of the workshop. During the laboratory session, participants will see dozens of pest species, and/or signs of their presence, commonly found in and around Georgia’s urban environment.
Completion of the 1-day workshop provides 5 HPC hours (Cert/Reg) and 4 hours credit in Category 35. A “Certificate of Completion” will be awarded at the completion of the workshop.
In 2014, Georgia reported 13 human cases of West Nile Virus (WNV), with 1 death. Eleven (84.6%) of the 13 cases experienced WNV neurologic illness (altered mental status, paralysis, encephalitis, and/or meningitis) and 2 (15.3%) were diagnosed with WNV fever.
Many of us have community areas of our gardens. Those spaces can give us an opportunity to show how people can incorporate food crops in a home landscape. This week our guest blogger, Joshua Fuder, gives us some ways to do this. Josh writes:
During a vacation in France last year I had an awakening of sorts in terms of my philosophy on garden design and plant selection. A number of the gardens and public parks that we visited incorporated vegetables like Swiss chard and kale in with annual flower plantings. As an avid gardener and even more avid eater I wondered why I wouldn’t incorporate more vegetables and herbs into more traditional ornamental plantings. I’ve always appreciated the beauty of the edible plants but never considered their value in an ornamental sense.
Gardeners in Georgia might consider incorporating edibles for a number of reasons:
Sun Exposure-Ornamental beds are often the best or only location in homeowners yards that
receive sufficient (at least 6 hours) sunlight for vegetables and herbs.
Convenience-Ornamental plantings are often close to the areas of the yard that we use most so if your edibles are incorporated you may find using fresh ingredients easier. It is also easier to stay on top of weeds and insect issues if you are visiting the area more frequently.
Reduced Grocery Costs – Many edibles, especially herbs can add to your monthly food bills if you buy from grocery stores.
Improved Health – Fresh vegetables are a great source of vitamins and minerals when properly prepared and gardening can be great exercise.
The key to creating a visually appealing edible landscape is the artful combination of annuals and perennials. Most edibles are going to substitute for the use of annuals but there are some options for shrubs, vines, and small trees.
Annual Color: Rainbow chard, purple mustard, kale, lettuce can all add dramatic affect with their foliage and mid-rib color variation. Calendula and nasturtium are both edible flowers that can add color to salads and nasturtium leaves can be used in pesto. Basil comes in many varieties and colors, consider the dwarf boxwood variety to create more formal lines. Taller plants like corn, okra, and Jerusalem artichokes can be planted at the back of a garden to create height and screening.
Groundcover: Thyme, oregano, and savory make great evergreen ground covers. Goldberg Golden Purslane and New Zealand spinach (or tetragonia) have succulent leaves and a sprawling growth habit. Strawberries will also sprawl out and cover an area as well.
Shrubs and Perennials: Blueberries have become a major cash crop in Georgia but are beautiful plants that have spring flowers, summer fruit and fall color. Pomegranate, figs and jujubes are all great plants that grow well in our area. American Hazelnut is deciduous shrub/small tree that grows well in our area. Rosemary is a great addition with its evergreen, needle-like foliage. Garden sage is also evergreen and has a wonderful softness to its leaves like a ‘dusty miller’ or lambs ear.
Edible Vines and Climbers: Structures like arbors and trellises are a great way to add interest in your
garden and there are some great substitutions for the climbing rose or clematis you may have in mind. Muscadines are extremely hardy and have few problems compared to many of the bunch grapes. If you want an annual plant that is easier to control you can consider Malabar spinach which has delicious greens and beautiful red stems. There are all types of beans that will grow rapidly and cover a structure. The Chinese Red Noodle bean will produce one to three foot long burgundy beans that will amaze.
Trees: Apples are well suited for northern Georgia and can maximize a small space with a few espaliered trees. The serviceberry (juneberry) is a great alternative to a crapemyrtle and the birds will love it. Mulberries are delicious and very easy to grow, just make sure they are planted in an area where you won’t mind a mess. ‘Montmorency’ and ‘Balaton’ are varieties of Pie or ‘sour’ cherries that are great small trees that perform well in our area as well.
Joshua Fuder is a UGA Extension agent in Cherokee County, Georgia. Joshua has grown many different types of fruits and vegetables. He grew vanilla, coffee, pineapple, and black pepper while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Vanuatu (an island nation in the South Pacific).
Late June through early July is a good time to treat for mole crickets in turf.
How do you know if a lawn has mole crickets?
Unfortunately, it is easier to scout for mole cricket injury earlier in the year. Mole crickets themselves are small and very hard to see in June and July.
Mole crickets tunnel underground, killing roots by feeding and tunneling and also come up to eat the leaves. Attacked grass begins to thin and then disappear. The ground will be softened as the soil is pulverized by the tunneling of the crickets. On bare ground you should see the tunnels, especially a day or so after a rain. Golf course managers can watch for the presence of mole crickets by looking for tunnels in sand traps.
Landscapers and home owners may mistake earthworm castings for mole cricket injury. Earthworms leave piles of granulated soil while mole crickets leave tunnels. Even dying grass is not proof you have mole crickets. Look for the small tunnels and thinning grass.
Use a soap drench to drive mole crickets to the surface where you can see them.
Prior to drenching, the soil should be moist. Irrigate 24 hours before drenching if the soil is dry. Mix one-half to one ounce of dishwashing detergent in a gallon of water. Soak the soil well in affected areas. Mole crickets should come to the surface within a few minutes.
Mole crickets have one generation a year. The adults fly, mate and lay eggs March through early June. Eggs generally hatch in May and June.
Mole crickets are generally younger and smaller in late June and July and much easier to kill.
Areas with signs of adult mole cricket activity in April and May are most likely to have nymphs in July.
Not all turf needs to be treated for mole crickets.
Consider treating turf that has a history of mole cricket problems. Athletic fields that keep their lights on during May and June can be at greater risk because the lights attract the adults.
Mole cricket nymphs are small and easy to control in late June and early July. As these insects get larger they will require more chemical and more applications for control. Later chemical treatments may be less effective giving a lower kill rate. As the mole crickets get larger, they also do more damage to turf.
When using insecticides, you can increase control of mole crickets by allowing the soil to dry out for 3 or 4 days and then irrigate thoroughly in the evening. Apply the insecticide the next afternoon. Mole crickets are sensitive to soil moisture and will move down in the ground to find comfortable conditions if the surface is dry. Irrigation will bring them back up to resume feeding the following night, making them easier targets for control.
Timely treatment is the key to good mole cricket control. Read and follow all label recommendations when using any pesticide.
We are celebrating their fifth year in an online format. Before that, UGA Extension offered this news in other formats since 2005. This marks our tenth year helping the Georgia landscape & turf industry grow!
We are excited to tell you that the Alerts will be getting new editors soon, so look forward to some upgrades. As we move through this transition, you can contact Ellen Bauske or Becky Griffin from the Center for Urban Agriculture if you have questions about the Alerts.
I really enjoyed working with the Landscape Alerts along with my co-workers at the Center for Urban Agriculture and the authors for the Alerts throughout the College of Agricultural Sciences.
Thank you for your continued readership of the Landscape Alerts!
Willie Chance, UGA Center for Urban Agriculture and Elmer Gray, UGA Entomology Department
Mosquito Control is a growing part of the landscape industry. Commercial applicators of mosquito control products need to have pesticide applicator certification in Category 41, Mosquito Control. UGA Entomologist Elmer Gray has recorded an online video to better prepare applicators to take and to pass the Category 41 pesticide exam.
Patrick McCullough, Extension Turf Weed Scientist, University of Georgia
This is is a common question many turf managers will be asking before herbicide applications this summer. Responsible pesticide applicators will always read and follow label directions before applying any product. However, there is often confusion regarding the language on labels about this issue. Many herbicide labels will contain a statement such as “Do not apply when temperatures are above 90° F”. These disclaimers are usually included on labels to limit the liability of chemical companies when turf managers apply their products during summer heat. This disclaimer is often unaccompanied by anything else to explain or clarify the effects of temperature on potential herbicide injury on turfgrasses.
Turf managers who carefully follow label instructions will see these disclaimers and may hesitate before applying herbicides. Others will question the exact interpretation of these warnings. Examples of questions often asked include the following.
Is it safe to apply herbicides if:
temperatures are below 90° in the morning but above 90° in the afternoon?
temperatures are below 90° this week, but rise above 90° next week?
temperatures are above 90° now but are forecast to drop to the 80s?
the temperature is 89.9° and the label says do not apply at 90°or above?
Unfortunately, there are no correct (or incorrect) answers for these questions. Herbicide applicators must evaluate their turf and factors that may increase turf injury. Several factors turf managers should consider when applying herbicides in summer include:
Weed species and population
Past performance of herbicides
Turfgrass species is a major factor in determining tolerance to herbicide applications. The overall sensitivity level of a species should be evaluated before herbicide applications and closely monitored when temperatures are high. For example, bermudagrass and tall fescue are both labeled for treatments with sulfentrazone (Dismiss). Tall fescue is naturally more sensitive than bermudagrass to sulfentrazone and rates must be reduced to account for lower tolerance levels. Turfgrasses that are sensitive to herbicides under good growing conditions may be more susceptible to injury during periods of heat stress and other herbicide chemistries should be considered.
As temperatures exceed 90° F, cool-season grasses become stressed and consumption of carbohydrates exceeds production through photosynthesis. Thus, grasses such as tall fescue with good tolerance to herbicides during active growth may be naturally more susceptible to herbicide injury during periods of physiological stress. Warm-season grasses grow more efficiently than cool-season grasses under these temperatures and generally have minimal stress when water is not lacking. Uninhibited growth of warm-season grasses at higher temperatures may be attributed to better tolerance to herbicide applications in summer relative to cool-season grasses. However, herbicide tolerances for specific species are all dependent on the chemistry of the product applied.
Effects of temperature on herbicide activity
Turf managers must also understand potential effects of temperature on herbicide activity. Many herbicide chemistries, such as synthetic auxins, have greater activity at warm temperatures compared to use during cooler weather. For example, Trimec Classic (2,4-D + dicamba + MCPP) applications often have erratic activity in early spring but perform much more effectively in summer. Sensitive species to these herbicides, such as St. Augustinegrass, have a higher risk of injury due to greater activity under excessive heat. Switching to another chemistry, such as a sulfonylurea herbicide, may be a safer option especially at reduced label rates. Enhanced activity of herbicides during these periods may also allow end-users to reduce rates and applications required to achieve desirable weed control.
Targeted weed species and the benefits of control should also be considered before risking turf injury from herbicide use in hot weather. Warm-season weeds that spread laterally, such as spotted spurge or knotweed, will continue to grow during hot temperatures and out-compete turfgrasses for light, water, and nutrients. If continued growth of weeds may result in loss of the overall turf stand, practitioners should consider applying herbicides. Preventing annual weeds from taking over a turf area during summer may help reduce voids in early fall that may allow winter annual weeds to establish. Thus, turf managers must evaluate the risk of turf injury at the expense of weed control and potential implications in long-term management.
Previous turf injury from herbicide applications during moderate temperatures may indicate risk of greater injury during excessive heat. Similarly, past reports of turf safety under high temperatures may suggest a specific product has potential for use under local conditions. It is recommended for turf managers to record air temperatures, soil temperatures, relative humidity, turf health, and other environmental factors that may influence turf tolerance to herbicides. These records can be referenced to plan future spray programs for mid to late summer in subsequent years.
Other environmental factors influence turf injury from herbicides in summer. While temperature is an important factor, high humidity increases absorption of many herbicides compared to low humidity levels. Herbicide applications in early evening when humidity and temperatures decline may help reduce injury potential compared to midday when these levels are higher. However, subsequent heat and humidity may influence turfgrass translocation and metabolism of herbicides that could also limit tolerance levels after applications.
Unfortunately there are no perfect application programs or predictive models to determine safety of herbicides on labeled turfgrass species. It is recommended to spray a test area and evaluate turf injury before making broadcast treatments during periods of excessive heat. Furthermore, if there is uncertainty over making herbicide applications turf managers should wait and assess the benefits of potential weed control. Applicators may wish to consult local extension agents for further information regarding herbicide applications during summer months.
Please share this information with others in the landscape & turf industry. For more information: