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 Urban Pest Management Program on the UGA Griffin campus has established a 10-week lecture series resulting in the awarding of a Certificate in Urban and Structural Pest Management. The goal of the program is to provide Georgia’s pest management companies new service technicians exposed to various aspects of the industry, and to award current pest management professionals a University of Georgia-sponsored credential. Georgia Department of Agriculture-approved credit (Certificate Program) will be granted to currently registered and certified employees.
What is Urban and Structural Pest Management?
Urban and structural pest management is the protection of our property, food, and health from insect and rodent pests commonly found in homes, restaurants, and other businesses. The service technician is the front line of this defense, and thus the backbone of the pest management industry.
Who is this Certificate For?
This Certificate is appropriate for:
individuals with no experience in the pest management industry, but who are looking to enter a stable and exciting field;
individuals who, even though they might have extensive pest management experience, would like to energize their career by acquiring a professional credential, and;
owners and managers of pest management companies looking to improve the skills of current and future employees.
The Certificate’s Lecture Series
Classes are held once per week, in the evening, on the UGA Griffin Campus. The Certificate’s curriculum is designed to expose students to various aspects of the pest management industry, including sales, customer service, and legal affairs. More than half of the Certificate’s 10 lectures are about the identification, biology, and management of the most common urban insect pests found in Georgia.
A Unique Training Opportunity
Because a laboratory session is part of each technical lecture, the Certificate provides a unique training opportunity even for the most experienced technician. Over the course of the Certificate’s various laboratory sessions, students are shown specimens of the 100 or so most common insect pests most likely to be encountered in and around Georgia’s urban environment.
The Certificate fee is $195. Individual lectures can be taken for $20 each. Military veterans with a valid DD Form 214 attend free of charge.
To register for an upcoming Certificate Lecture Series, print the registration (PDF), fill it out, and return the bottom section with your payment to the address listed on the form. Faxed registrations are also accepted at 770-228-7287.
According to Science Daily, new research shows that imidacloprid, an insecticide often blamed for the decline of commercially managed honey bees, is not likely to harm honey bees at field realistic levels. The three year study, conducted by Galen Dively and associates at the University of Maryland, supports the contention by many U.S. bee researchers that proper applications of this insecticide is not likely to be the sole, or major, explanation for colony collapse disorder (CCD).
Despite those who claim CCD is clearly the result of dangerous insecticides, the issues surrounding CCD are complex and technical. Much of the debate in the research community recently has centered on what constitutes “field realistic levels” of imidacloprid and its cousin insecticides, the neonicotinoids. Industry representatives have contended that recent critical studies, cited by environmentalists as justifying a ban neonicotinoids, were flawed because they were based on unrealistically high levels of the insecticides. Dively and colleagues tried to allay these concerns by feeding their bees imidacloprid in protein supplement patties at doses of 5, 20, and 100 micrograms per kilogram (parts per billion). The lowest dose, 5 parts per billion, is generally recognized as field realistic based on several studies of pesticide concentrations in the nectar and pollen of treated crops. The insecticide-laced protein supplement was provided to the bees over a continuous 12 week period. Even so this was, the authors contend, a higher exposure scenario than would likely occur in agricultural settings, where the contaminated pollen and nectar is not likely to be present continuously.
As one of the first studies to look at honey bee colony health over multiple seasons, the results were more rigorous than previous research. They did showed a significant negative effect on colony survivorship as dosage increased; however the lowest, field-realistic dose showed no significant impact on key bee health indicators, foraging or winter survivorship. The major impact of higher imidacloprid exposure were increased broodless periods, caused by weak queens during late summer. Such effects could lead to lowered overwintering survival, a character of CCD.
Nevertheless, the authors conclude that while short term exposure to high imidacloprid levels (represented by 100 part per billion dosages in this study) in agricultural settings does occur, it is not likely to occur continuously throughout a crop cycle. Also, data from the study showed that bees were efficient in metabolizing imidacloprid, so that short term spikes in insecticide levels in nectar were likely to be quickly diluted and eliminated by the bees. They concluded that while imidacloprid might be a contributing factor to some overwintering losses in bees, seed treated crops in particular were likely to have negligible effects on honey bee colony health.
In the ongoing debate over bee health, this is one piece of good news for pesticide manufacturers and users; but it will not be the final word. And it should not justify anything less than the utmost caution for pesticide applicators when they use neonicotinoid insecticides.
Paul Pugliese is the agriculture & natural resources agent for the University of Georgia Extension office in Bartow County.
An herbicide designed to kill weeds in turfgrass can also kill neighboring trees and shrubs.
Herbicides in the phenoxy chemical class provide broadleaf weed control in lawns, pastures and hay forages. Some of the more common chemicals in this class include 2,4-D; MCPP; dicamba; clopyralid; and triclopyr.
Safe for animals but not always for trees and shrubs
These chemicals are considered very safe and leave very few toxicity concerns for animals. In fact, many of these herbicides are labeled for pasture use and allow for livestock to continue grazing without any restrictions.
However, pesticide labels should always be read and followed to determine if any special precautions should be taken for specific site uses.
Phenoxy herbicides provide selective weed control, which means they control many broadleaf weeds without causing damage to grass. Of course, each product is a little different and some are labeled for very specific turfgrass types, depending on their tolerance.
The label should be checked for application to a specific lawn type (tall fescue, bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, etc.). If the turfgrass isn’t on the label, don’t assume the herbicide can be applied to all lawns.
Unfortunately, phenoxy herbicides don’t discriminate between dandelion weeds or any other broadleaf plants, including many trees and shrubs. So, it’s very important to take extra precautions when applying these herbicides near landscaped areas with ornamental plants.
Wind and rain can spread herbicides
Consider the potential for drift damage to nearby plants and avoid spraying herbicides on a windy day. There is also the potential for movement of these herbicides through runoff and leaching in the soil. This is why the product label usually warns against spraying within the root zone of trees and shrubs and never exceeding the maximum application rates listed on the label.
Many homeowners and landscapers often overlook these label precautions. The information that is contained on the label can seem somewhat vague to inexperienced applicators.
The biggest misconception concerns where the root zone of a tree or shrub exists. The roots of mature trees and shrubs actually extend well beyond the drip line of the canopy. Research shows that absorption roots may extend as much as two to three times the canopy width.
Consider spot-spraying to target individual weeds rather than broadcasting applications across the entire lawn. And never exceed the labeled rate.
In landscapes that contain mature trees and shrubs, phenoxy herbicides may not be the best choice for weed control. These herbicides may be best reserved for wide-open spaces such as athletic fields, parks and pastures where tree roots are at a safe distance.
The high potential for herbicide damage to trees is another great reason to protect tree roots by providing a mulch zone that extends well beyond the drip line of the canopy. If you’re not trying to grow a manicured lawn underneath a tree, then there is no reason to apply phenoxy herbicides there for weed control.
Use the right herbicide for the job
Another way to avoid potential damage is to rely less on phenoxy herbicides. Other classes of herbicides have less potential to affect the roots of nearby trees and shrubs. Take the time to identify your weeds and choose a more selective herbicide rather than combination products that usually contain multiple chemicals in the phenoxy class.
Many pre-emergent herbicides can prevent weed problems in lawns. The key is to apply them at the correct time in spring and fall. Applying too early or too late often provides inadequate weed control and requires additional herbicide applications. Rotating pre-emergent herbicide classes will avoid the potential for resistant weeds. Also, be sure to apply water to the area according to the pre-emergent herbicide’s label to activate it in the soil.
For more information about the effects of phenoxy herbicides on landscape trees and shrubs, view the UGA Center for Urban Agriculture webinar at ugaurbanag.com/webinars. For assistance with weed identification and specific herbicide recommendations, contact your local UGA Extension office at 1-800-ASK-UGA1 or visit www.Georgiaturf.com.
Fire ants remain the most prevalent outdoor ant pest in most areas of the southern U.S. Throughout the U.S. we estimate the annual cost of fire ant control at over $6 billion. But the cost of this pest goes far beyond measurable dollars. Fire ants reduce the recreational value of our parks and backyards, disrupt wildlife populations, and send thousands to emergency rooms each year from their painful stings.
So as we get ready to enter fire ant season, it may be a good time to bring yourself and your staff up to speed on fire ant control. Many people are surprised to learn that fire ants are not an especially difficult pest to manage, once the biology and control tools are understood.
One of the best places to learn about fire ant management is the eXtension fire ant website, a place where the best information about fire ant is assembled by Extension agencies throughout the South. This information was recently summarized and presented in an informative webinar by Dr. Fudd Graham, fire ant specialist with Auburn University. Dr. Graham focuses on fire ant biology and use of baits for fire ant control.
It’s worth knowing something about how fire ant baits work because they are the most economical, ecologically friendly, and effective control methods for fire ants. The webinar will provide you or your technician with an hour of training that should pay for itself many times over.
Mike Merchant is an entomology specialist for Texas AgriLife Extension. He works with pest management professionals, school facilities managers, extension volunteers, researchers and other extension professionals. His areas of specialty center on research on insects affecting man including spiders, scorpions, fire ants, termites and others. His program also focuses on training school maintenance professionals in principles of integrated pest management (IPM). His goal is to make schools healthier, cleaner places to study and live.
Clint Waltz and Patrick McCullough, Turfgrass Specialist and Weed Specialist, University of Georgia
Annual bluegrass (Poa annua L.) is a troublesome winter annual weed in residential turf. Compared to most turfgrasses, annual bluegrass has a lighter green color, coarser leaf texture, and produces unsightly seedheads.
Annual bluegrass seed germinates throughout the late-summer and early-fall once soil temperatures drop below 70° F. Seedlings grow and mature in fall, overwinter in a vegetative state, and produce seed in spring. A second germination can occur in late-winter as soil temperatures rise and the days become longer.
Annual bluegrass is a prolific seed producer and individual plants may produce hundreds of viable seed, even when closely mowed. Annual bluegrass flowers over several months in spring and produces seed that may remain dormant in soil for years before germinating. Annual bluegrass often dies from summer stresses but may survive in protected sites that receive irrigation. Controlling annual bluegrass in mid- to late-spring in residential lawns can be difficult.
Control in bermudagrass and zoysiagrass
Up until mid-February (when the bermudagrass was fully dormant) applying a glyphosate containing product (e.g. Roundup) was an option for postemergence annual bluegrass control. Even then, care must be taken not to “overdose” the weed and harm the bermudagrass. Applicators commonly over-spray the weed with glyphosate and some herbicide moves deep into the bermudagrass canopy where it contacts green bermudagrass stolons near the ground. Any green part of the plant in the bermudagrass can absorb the glyphosate which can damage the plant.
It is now too late and risky to consider spraying glyphosate to control annual bluegrass in dormant bermudagrass. While bermudagrass may still look “completely” dormant it is starting to greenup and the application of glyphosate during greenup can damage the turf. Do not apply glyphosate to dormant grass of any type other than bermudagrass since other grasses never really go completely dormant and may be damaged by the herbicide.
There are a few selective herbicidal options to control annual bluegrass at this point in the season. In bermudagrass and zoysiagrass, if the annual bluegrass population is bad enough the best option is treating with either Revolver (foramsulfuron) or Monument (trifloxysulfuron).
Control in centipedegrass and St. Augustinegrass
Neither of these herbicides is labeled for use on centipedegrass or St. Augustinegrass. In centipedegrass and St. Augustinegrass, atrazine containing products are an option but large annual bluegrass grass plants are difficult to control with a single application.
The weed is an annual cool-season grassy weed that will die-out in a couple months as temperatures warm. For now, having patience and tolerance maybe the best option. Plan for next winter and spring. Begin with good turfgrass cultivation this summer. For example:
Deep and infrequent irrigation encourages turfgrass root development which improves the ability of the lawngrass to compete with weeds.
• Identify and alleviate soil compaction since annual bluegrass prefers compacted soils. For rapid recovery and improved vigor, core aerifications should be performed during the active growth period of warm-season turfgrasses.
• Mow the lawn at the appropriate height for the grass species. Lower mowing heights may stress turf and reduce its ability to compete with annual bluegrass. For proper mowing height recommendations, visit www.GeorgiaTurf.com
• Lastly, begin a preemergence herbicide program in late-summer to help control the seed that were deposited this season.
Landscapers can help homeowners with controlling annual bluegrass now and planning a healthier lawn to prevent annual bluegrass next year.
Information taken from the UGA publication Insecticide Basics for the Pest Management Professionalby Dan Suiter, UGA Department of Entomology, and Michael Scharf, Purdue University Department of EntomologyThe signal word found on every product’s label is based on test results from various oral, dermal, and inhalation toxicity tests, as well skin and eye corrosion assays in some cases. Signal words are placed on labels to convey a level of care that should be taken (especially personal protection) when handling and using a product—i.e., from purchase to disposal of the empty container (Table 1).
Table 1. Toxicological parameters related to signal words found on EPA-registered pesticide product labels.
Signal Word on Label
Acute-Oral LD50 for Rats
Amount Needed to Kill an Average Sized Adult
50 or less
Taste to a teaspoon
Skull and Crossbones; Keep out of Reach of Children
Rosmarie Kelly, Public Health Entomologist, Georgia Department of Public Health
A pesticide is a chemical or biological agent (such as a virus, bacterium, antimicrobial, or disinfectant) that deters, incapacitates, kills, or otherwise discourages pests. Pesticides have been grouped into classes according to how they work (mode of action or MOA). Repeated use of pesticides with the same MOA to control a pest can cause a form of artificial selection that can develop into pesticide resistance. This means that there may be some pests in the population that will not be killed by the pesticide. When those pests that survive breed, some of their young will inherit the pesticide resistance.
What is pesticide resistance?
It is the ability of a pest to develop a tolerance to a pesticide.
It results in the repeated failure of an insecticide product to provide the intended level of control when used as recommended.
Why are insects likely to develop resistance?
Many pest species, including insects, have short life cycles and lots of offspring
Increasing the probability of random mutations
Ensuring the rapid build-up in numbers of resistant mutants once such mutations have occurred
Pest species have been exposed to natural toxins for a long time before the onset of human civilization
Humans often rely almost exclusively on insecticides for pest control. This increases selection pressure towards resistance. Pesticides causing the most problem are those that are:
Long term exposure to pesticides with the same MOA
Low migration of the insects
However, other factors can prevent insecticides from providing satisfactory control in the field. They can also ultimately lead to an increase in resistance. These include:
Improper equipment calibration
Off-specification product use –
Using the wrong product for the pest species
Using the product incorrectly based on label directions
In addition, it is important to properly identify the pest you are treating since pest behavior can cause failure of control as well.
Why should you be concerned? Pesticide resistance is a big problem. It has been determined that, with every new insecticide introduction, resistance will occur within 2 – 20 years.
Currently resistance is found in:
More than 500 species of insects and mites
Over 270 weed species
More than 150 plant pathogens
About a half dozen species of rats
There are > 1,000 insect/insecticide multiple resistance combinations
At least 17 species of insects are resistant to all major classes of insecticides
How do I how to prevent resistance or deal with existing resistance?
Ensure all spray applicators are well trained
Follow product labels
Do not use any product not labeled for the equipment being used
Calibrate equipment at least yearly
Rotate pesticides between MOA classes. See the info on Resistance Action Codes (IRAC, FRAC, etc.) at the end of this article for more information on rotating pesticide MOA.
Avoid unnecessary pesticide applications
Use non-chemical control techniques
Leave untreated refuges where susceptible pests can survive
Adopt an integrated pest management (IPM) approach
Wild Garlic Identification and Control In Home Lawns
Drs. Jialin Yu and Patrick McCullough, UGA
Wild garlic (Allium vineale L.) is a common weed in most turf areas throughout Georgia. It emerges from underground bulbs in late fall and grows through the winter and spring months. Wild garlic is a winter perennial plant that declines in early summer. This weed species is highly objectionable because it grows faster than cool-season turfgrasses after mowing and causes unsightly clumps in dormant warm-season turfgrasses during winter. Wild garlic has a similar appearance to wild onion (Allium canadense L.) but they are easily distinguishable by their leaves. Wild garlic has round hollow leaves and while wild onion has solid flat leaves.
Mowing is not effective for controlling wild garlic because bulbs or bulblets in the soil will continue to sprout and grow. In addition, the bulbs can remain viable in the soil for years before emergence. Mowing, however, can weaken the plants and help prevent the production of seeds.
Chemical control is similar for wild garlic and wild onion. Preemergence herbicides do not provide effective control. Multiple applications of postemergence herbicides over more than one season are typically required to control wild garlic. Wild garlic has slender and waxy leaves, which may reduce herbicide uptake. In Georgia, herbicides should be timed during winter or early spring before the formation of bulbs.
Synthetic auxin herbicides are typically the best herbicides to use in tall fescue lawns for wild garlic control. 2,4-D alone or in three-way mixtures with dicamba and mecoprop (Trimec, Triplet, Weed B Gone, etc.) effectively control wild garlic. These herbicides are safe in warm-season grasses during active growth but should not be applied during the spring green-up. Reduced rates are recommended when spraying to sensitive turfgrasses including centipedegrass and St. Augustinegrass. Using PowerZone or SpeedZone, which include carfentrazone and three-way synthetic auxin herbicides, may improve wild garlic control in cold winter. However, turfgrass tolerance to these products may vary and temporary turfgrass yellowing may occur on certain turfgrass varieties.
Postemergence control may also be achieved with ALS-inhibitor herbicides. Imazaquin (Image) controls wild garlic on warm-season turfgrasses but should not be used during spring greenup or on newly planted or sprigged lawns. Imazaquin will severely injure fescue and ryegrass.
Metsulfuron (Manor, Blade, others) effectively controls a wide number of broadleaf weeds and wild garlic. Metsulfuron can be applied to tolerant warm-season turfgrasses including bermudagrass, centipedegrass, St. Augustine, and zoysiagrass. However, applications may temporarily inhibit greenup of centipedegrass and other species during spring transition. Metsulfuron should not be used in lawns with desirable bahiagrass populations. Woody ornamentals should not be planted in treated areas within one year following the metsulfuron application.
Glyphosate may effectively control wild garlic in dormant bermudagrass. To avoid injuring desired turfgrasses that are not completely dormant, spot treatments should be used on sensitive turfgrasses.
Table 1. Postemergence herbicides for wild garlic control.
Chinese privet (also called privet) is an invasive weed that escaped from cultivation. It is often found in landscapes and around old homesites, edges of fields and in low areas. According to Dr David Dickens, UGA Extension Forester, this time of the year, a foliar treatment is a good option to control privet.
Basal treatments of privet (spraying the stems) can be difficult because of the large number of branches. Dr Dicken’s says that dormant-season foliar sprays with 3-5% glyphosate provide effective control. Concentrations greater than 5% are not economical.
Take care to keep the spray off the foliage and young green bark of desirable plants. Since many plants are dormant at this time of year, there should be less effect on non-target plants.
Privet seeds are only viable for one year so in areas where they continues to germinate, the seeds are being introduced by birds or other means.
UGA Extension Forester, Dave Moorhead, points out that this 3 – 5 % glyphosate spray will also work in controlling another invasive weed – climbing fern.