Limit Access to Food to Practice Proactive Pest Management

Smokybrown cockroach nymphs

Practice Proactive Pest Management

Pest Management

Taken from the UGA publication Management of Pest Insects in and Around the Home by Daniel R. Suiter, Brian T. Forschler Lisa M. Ames and E. Richard Hoebeke

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:

  • Favorable temperatures,
  • 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.

Practice Proactive Pest ManagementImportant 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).

For more information on Proactive Pest Management see Management of Pest Insects in and Around the Home

About the Authors

Daniel Suiter ( and Brian Forschler ( 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 ( 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 (

Home IPM Workshop planned for August 13

UGA Urban Pest Management ProgramHome IPM Workshop planned for August 13

Home IPM Workshop

Thursday, August 13 ~ UGA-Griffin Campus 

Register Now!

Find all info here

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.

Find more info here or contact Dr. Daniel Suiter at 770-233-6114.

Georgia’s Arboviral Survey results available in the Georgia Mosquito Control Association newsletter

Georgia’s Arboviral Survey results available in the Georgia Mosquito Control Association newsletter
Susan Ellis,

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.


See the entire survey in the May edition of DIDEEBYCHA, the newsletter of the Georgia Mosquito Control Association.

Mole Crickets Controlled Best in Late June and Early July!

Control Mole Crickets best in Late June and Early July!

Control Mole Crickets best in Late June and Early July!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.

Control Mole Crickets best in Late June and Early 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.

Dr. Will Hudson’s publication on mole crickets has some great control information and photos.

For pesticide recommendations, see the Pesticide Management Handbook or contact your local Extension agent.

Early treatment is important.

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.

For more information:

Georgia Turf

Pest Management Handbook (Follow all label recommendations when using any pesticide)

Mole Crickets in Turf

Landscape Alerts Celebrate Their Fifth Year with New Editors!

Landscape Alerts Celebrate Their Fifth YearThe Landscape Alerts

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

Online Video Helps Prepare Pesticide Applicators to Pass the Mosquito Control Exam

Online Video Helps Prepare Pesticide Applicators to Pass the Mosquito Control Exam

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.

The new online video

Prepare applicators to take the Mosquito Control (Category 41) exam at


Note that the video is a supplemental help to those studying for the exam and is not a replacement for studying the manual! Applicators should order and study the manual before taking the exam.

If the applicator has not already passed the general standards exam through the GA Dept of Ag Pesticide Division, they will also need to order that manual, study and also pass that exam as well.

Find more information on the Georgia Department of Agriculture pesticide division and applicator licenses.

Are Temperatures Too High to Safely Apply Herbicides in Turf?

Are Temperatures Too High to Safely Apply Herbicides in Turf?
Are Temperatures Too High to Safely Apply Herbicides in Turf?
Herbicide injury to turf – Alfredo Martinez, UGA Plant Pathology

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:

  • Turfgrass species
  • Turfgrass stress
  • Herbicide chemistry
  • 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:

Call your local Extension Agent at (800) ASK-UGA1 or locate your local Extension Office has a section on identifying weeds under Pest Management and weed control recommendations under the Turfgrass Pest Control Recommendations. (Follow all label recommendations when using any pesticide)

You can also find weed control recommendations in the Pest Management Handbook (Follow all label recommendations when using any pesticide)

Dollar Spot: What is this problem leaving small spots in lawns?

Dollar Spot: What is this problem leaving small spots in lawns?
Dollar Spot: What is this problem leaving small spots in lawns?
Dollar spot – Infected leaves may display small lesions that turn from yellow-green to straw color with a reddish-brown border. The lesions can extend the full width of the leaf.

This disease is dollar spot. Find info below on identifying and managing lawn diseases.

The UGA publication Turfgrass Diseases in Georgia, Identification and Control contains a Simplified Turfgrass Identification Key to help turf managers identify turf diseases. You can see a copy of it below or see the entire publication.

Simplified Turfgrass Identification Key for Dollar Spot

Distinct patches of yellow to brown colored grass are present.

Dollar Spot: What is this problem leaving small spots in lawns?
Symptoms of dollar spot include sunken, circular patches that measure up to several inches on turfgrass.
  • Patch is small, circular, sunken, and rarely exceed 3 inches in diameter. Individual leaf blades develop white lesions. [Dollar Spot]
  • Patch is greater than 6 cm in diameter. Individual leaf blades may or may not develop lesions.
    • No lesions
      • Circular rings of dark green grass 10-20 cm wide. Concentric ring of dead grass may be present. Mushrooms may be present. [Fairy Ring]
      • Irregular chlorotic patches up to 0.5 m across. Lower leaves are chlorotic first and then chlorosis moves to upper leaves. Runners easily pulled from roots. Roots may be short, rotted, and black. Roots may have dark strands of mycelium parallel to the root axis. [Take-All Root Rot]
    • Lesions on leaf buds or leaf blade
      • Rings or circular patches of blighted grass. Gray to brown shaped lesions on leaves or leaf sheaths. [Brown Patch]
      • Rings or circular patches of blighted grassNo lesions on leaves. [Large Patch]

Distinct patches are absent.

  • Yellow to orange flecks on leaves or stems. Flecks are easily rubbed off. [Rust]
  • Yellow to orange flecks are absent.
    • Leaf lesions are present.
      • Lesions first appear small and water-soaked. Old lesions become dark often surrounded by a yellow zone. Lesions have a wide range of size and primarily occur on warm season grasses in Georgia. [Leaf Spot/Melting Out]
      • Small, brown leaf and stem lesions enlarge rapidly to oblong spots. Often spots extend across entire leaf. Spots are tan to gray with purple to brown borders. A general chlorosis may appear. Primarily occurs on St. Augustinegrass in summer.[Gray Leaf Spot]
      • Leaf lesions are reddish brown with a yellow halo. Leaves turn yellow and finally tan to brown as they die. Primarily occurs on Centipedegrass, Bentgrass, and Zoysiagrass in Georgia. [Anthracnose]
    • Leaf lesions are absent.
      • Large number of pinhead-sized “balls” that are slimy or crusty. Grass does not die or turn yellow. Slime is easily removed. [Slime Mold]
      • Turf is chlorotic and slow growing. Small to large areas affected. Grass may be mottled and associated with general decline. As temperature increases the affected areas will die. Roots stunted but usually not discolored. [Pythium Root Rot/Pythium Blight]

The publication also has information on:

For disease management information see Turfgrass Diseases in Georgia: Identification and Control

For pesticide recommendations see 2015 Turfgrass Pest Control Recommendations for Professionals

Free composting classes for the metro area!

Free composting classes for the metro area!

UGA Extension is a collaborator on a healthy soil initiative in this summer and fall. This initiative includes free composting classes all over the Atlanta area. Here is a list of the free composting classes and a link to the list online.

2015 Healthy Soil Composting Classes in the Atlanta Area

Wednesday, August 19th UGA Extension Fulton County Fulton County

6:30 – 8:00 p.m. City of Alpharetta

To register phone Fulton County Extension at 404-613-7670 or email Rolando Orellana at

Saturday, August 22nd Truly Living Well Fulton County

10:00 a.m. Wheat Street Garden  For more information visit

To register contact or 678.973.0997

Saturday, August 29th Terra Nova Compost DeKalb County

10:00am – 12 noon Gilliam Park Community Garden, Kirkwood, Atlanta

To register please visit or phone 678-786-6568

Thursday, September 3rd (Vermiculture) UGA Extension Cobb County Cobb County

6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Cobb County Extension Office Classroom

To register phone Cobb Extension at 770-528-4070

Saturday, September 5th AFB-Fred Conrad Clayton County

9:00 – 11:00 a.m. Morrow Community Garden

To register visit

Saturday, September 12th Terra Nova Compost Fulton County

10:00 a.m. – 12 noon Good Shepherd Agro Ecology Center, Atlanta

To register please visit or phone 678-786-6568

Monday, September 14th UGA Extension DeKalb County DeKalb County

6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Embry Hills Library, Chamblee

To register please contact DeKalb County Extension at 404-298-4080

Thursday, September 17th UGA Extension DeKalb County DeKalb County

6:45 – 8:00 p.m. DeKalb Extension Auditorium, Memorial Drive

To register please contact DeKalb County Extension at 404-298-4080

Saturday, September 19th Truly Living Well Fulton County

10:00 – 12:00 noon Wheat Street Garden

For more information visit

To register contact or 678.973.0997

Saturday, September 19th Terra Nova Compost Fulton County

10:00 a.m. – 12 noon Peachtree Hills Park Community Center, Atlanta

To register please visit or phone 678-786-6568

Tuesday, September 29th UGA Extension Clayton County Clayton County

6:30 -8:00 p.m. Clayton County Extension Office

To register contact Winston Eason at

Tuesday, September 29th UGA Extension Cobb County Cobb County

6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Cobb County Extension Training Room

To register phone Cobb Extension at 770-528-4070

Saturday, October 17th Terra Nova Compost Fulton County

10:00 a.m. – 12 noon Patchwork City Farms

To register please visit or phone 678-786-6568

Saturday, October 29th AFB-Fred Conrad Gwinnett County

6:30 -8:00 p.m. Norcross CG

To register visit

Reddish Spots Caused by Spot Anthracnose on Dogwood Leaves

Dogwood spot anthracnose

Disease Symptoms(Reddish Spots):

Small, reddish spots first appear on flower bracts. Reddish spots appear on leaves; leaves become distorted from infection in bud stage. Disease may cause leaves to drop.

Disease Management:

  • Rake and remove fallen leaves.
  • Disease will not cause significant damage to the tree.
  • Fungicides applied at swollen bud stage for flowers and leaves can reduce infection, but are only recommended for young, newly-transplanted trees.
  • Kousa variety is moderately resistant to disease.

Compiled by: Dr. Jean L. Williams-Woodward, UGA Extension Plant Pathology, Athens