Pest Control Alerts

The Pest Control Alert is an email newsletter and blog from UGA for the structural pest control industry. These Alerts are designed to anticipate industry needs and to use UGA resources to address emerging issues like pesticide resistant insects, integrated pest management of emerging pests (Africanized bees, kudzu bugs, Formosan termites, etc.) and pesticide regulatory changes. The newsletter is coordinated by the Center. The key contributor to the Alerts, the Urban Pest Management Program at the UGA Griffin campus, responds to challenges with up-to-date research, reports and trainings.

The Pest Control Alerts are emailed to nearly 500 people, many of whom share the information with co-workers. An on-line readers survey indicates that 96% of those responding have learned something they plan to use from the Alerts. The Alerts are impacting the Georgia structural pest control industry!

Examples of industry comments on the Pest Control Alerts include "Timely news - your site DELIVERS!" and "Keep them coming."

Extension personnel comments include "I ... always learn from your alerts. Our industry professionals also love to receive it as I pass it on to all of them." "Our office staff and Master Gardener Volunteers use these pest control alerts to educate themselves for our clients. These alerts let us know what is out there."

For more information email or


Latest Pest Control Alerts

Zika Virus and Outdoor Workers: Include Insect Repellent on your list of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)

Inherently, agricultural and outdoor workers experience a greater risk of mosquito bites that can vector illnesses such as chikungunya, dengue, Japanese encephalitis, West Nile, and Zika virus disease.  The CDC and EPA recommend using EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or para-menthane-diol to protect workers against these infections. Fact sheets and posters have been released by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) outlining the Zika virus to promote education and communication regarding practices to reduce worker exposure.

Read more

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.

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.

Water is the condition allowing many household pests to persist

Do you recognize this cockroach and know how to control it?

Info taken from Management of Pest Insects in and Around the Home


Excessive, persistent moisture is the most important condition allowing many types of pest infestations to establish and persist.

Not only is water critical to the health and normal metabolism of all forms of life, its abundance leads to the growth of various molds, fungi, and other microorganisms which are the primary food source for numerous insect species.

Water is the condition allowing many household pests to persistHomeowners should limit the occurrence of persistent moisture in and around their home. Moisture problems can only be remedied by correcting the underlying cause(s). Some common sources of excessive, or persistent, moisture that may lead to a pest problem include but are not limited to:

  • Leaking faucets or water lines;
  • Condensation, for example on pipes, in walls and under insulation;
  • Improper ventilation of walls, attics, crawlspaces, or basements;
  • Roof leaks, especially those that are the result of improperly installed flashing around pipe penetrations, sky lights, and chimneys (Figure 8A);
  • Improper landscape grade resulting in poor surface water drainage patterns;
  • Misdirected sprinkler heads;
  • Gaps around windows (especially bay windows) and doors that allow water behind the structure’s exterior sheathing (Figure 8B);
  • Clogged gutters and downspouts (Figure 8C);
  • Downspout and air conditioner drain lines that deposit water within five feet of the structure (Figure 8D).

Property owners should ensure that:

  • Rainwater flows away from their home by examining the grade or slope of the landscape to make certain it is appropriate;
  • Gutters, downspouts, roof, and air conditioner condensate drainage patterns are operating properly and depositing water away from the foundation;
  • Attics, crawlspaces, and basements are properly ventilated;
  • A vapor barrier is in place in the crawlspace;
  • Sprinklers are positioned properly;
  • There is no standing water or persistent wet spots next to the foundation or in the crawlspace.

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

Pest Management: EPA’s Managing Pests in Schools Website Updated

Pest Management: EPA's Managing Pests in Schools Website UpdatedAs part of EPA’s ongoing effort to build a more user-friendly website, we have transformed our Managing Pests in Schools website into a new, easy-to-use format. Information on school Integrated Pest Management (IPM) should now be easier than ever to access, regardless of the type of electronic device being used, including tablets and smartphones.

Integrated Pest Management

IPM is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach that offers a wide variety of tools to reduce contact with pests and exposure to pesticides. The website focuses on providing vital information in the school setting for parents, school administrators, staff and pest management professionals. Knowledgeable, proactive stakeholders can help a community prevent or significantly reduce risks from pests as well as unnecessary pesticide use.

The website is organized into the following areas:

  • About Integrated Pest Management in Schools
  • Establishing Integrated Pest Management Programs
  • Pests of Concern in Schools
  • IPM Training and Certification

The old Web pages will redirect to the new website, and we encourage visitors to update their bookmarks with the new URLs.

The address for the new website is

May has been warmer and drier

May 2015 is half over and it is time to see how the monthly climate is doing so far.  The maps from the High Plains Regional Climate Center below show that for the region as a whole, temperatures are running about 1.5 degrees above the 1981-2010 normal, while the precipitation is much below normal and in some areas none has fallen at all, which is shown on the “percent of normal precipitation” map as an area of dark red, indicating zero percent of normal rainfall for the month.  Atlanta broke their record for the driest start to May before finally getting rain on 5/17.  Athens, GA is the driest May to date on record and Macon is tied for the driest, although rain is likely at both locations this week.


For the rest of the month, warmer than normal temperatures are expected to continue.  Rainfall is expected to increase and may even be above normal for the rest of the month, although it will be spotty.

Florida Scientists Discover Super Termites, and They’re Not Genetically Modified

Florida Scientists Discover Super Termites, and They’re Not Genetically Modified
A hybrid colony of Coptotermes termites. A king C. gestroi (nutty-brown abdomen) is shown on the left, and a queen C. formosanus (orange abdomen) on the right. They are surrounded by their hybrid offspring, including eggs, larvae, workers, and soldiers. Photo by Thomas Chouvenc, University of Florida /IFAS.

Edited from Florida Scientists Discover Super Termites, and They’re Not Genetically Modified in Entomology Today

Author Richard Levine is Communications Program Manager at the Entomological Society of America and editor of the Entomology Today Blog.

Formosan subterranean termites (Coptotermes formosanus) and Asian subterranean termites (Coptotermes gestroi) are the most damaging pest species in the world. Both are highly invasive and have spread throughout many areas of the world due to human activity, and their distributions overlap in some areas.

Hybrid Termites

Now scientists in Florida have observed Formosan males mating with Asian females — in fact, they seem to prefer the Asian females more than females from their own species — and their hybrid offspring seem to grow colonies twice as fast as their parents. Their findings are published in the journal PLOS ONE, and are described in this video.

Many hybrids are unable to reproduce (the mule, for example, which is the sterile hybrid offspring of a male donkey and a female horse). And many hybrids that actually can reproduce tend to lose vigor after one or more generations, which is why farmers often buy new hybrid seeds each growing season.

Florida Scientists Discover Super Termites, and They’re Not Genetically Modified
Richard Levine

But so far that doesn’t seem to be the case for these termite hybrids. In the laboratory, the Florida researchers are raising a hybrid colony that is growing twice as fast as same-species colonies, suggesting a potential case of hybrid vigor.

“Our hybrid colony is still showing high vigor, can potentially live up to 20 years, and can still cause a significant amount of damage,” said Dr. Thomas Chouvenc, a co-author from the UFL’s Ft. Lauderdale Research and Education Center.

While these laboratory observations remain to be confirmed in the field, the results still raise a concern about the hybridization of these incredibly destructive pests, which could have significant economic impacts, according to the authors.

To get an idea of how potentially destructive they could be, watch this video of University of Florida researchers observing both termite species swarming and mating simultaneously.

Find the rest of the article here.

Flies: Managing pests in and around homes

For more information see the publication from which this information comes, Management of Pest Insects in and Around the Home by Daniel R. Suiter Brian T. Forschler Lisa M. Ames E. Richard Hoebeke

Crane flyCrane flies (Tipulidae):

Crane flies have long legs, a long slender body, and vary in body length from 1/16 to 1 inch. Some crane flies may resemble large mosquitoes. Color will vary depending on species, but one common species is light brown or tan. The larvae are called leatherjackets and can damage lawns by feeding on the roots of grass.

Habits: Crane flies generally rest with their legs spread widely. Adults feed on nectar or do not feed at all; many have vestigial mouthparts. Once they become adults, most crane flies simply mate and die, all within a few days. They do not bite humans.

Interventions: No action recommended.

Might Be Confused With: mosquitoes.

Fruit flies Suiter et alFruit flies (Drosophilidae):

The most common species have red/orange eyes, but not all fruit flies have red/orange eyes. Fruit flies often hover around and just above food (most often decomposing vegetable matter) prior to landing. Flies are 1/8 inch.

Habits: Feed mainly on decaying vegetable matter, compost, rotting fruit, etc. Often found around salad bars and restaurants where vegetable matter and juices collect. Also called vinegar flies, since vinegar (acetic acid) is a decomposition product of some rotting vegetable matter.

Interventions: Find larval fly feeding site(s) and clean or otherwise throw away rotting fruit or vegetable matter. Remove garbage, including the plastic liner, and other refuse at least twice per week.

Might Be Confused With: humpbacked flies, fungus gnats, moth flies.

Fungus gnatFungus gnats (several families represented; mostly Sciaridae):

Small (1/16 inch) fly with smoky black wings. Y-shaped wing venation is characteristic.

Habits: Often found in over watered plants indoors or in otherwise wet conditions.

Interventions: Find larval fly feeding site(s) and clean or otherwise dry out. If desired, apply a soil drench with an appropriately labeled liquid insecticide.

Might Be Confused With: mosquitoes, fruit flies, humpbacked flies, moth flies.

Black soldier fly larvaBlack Soldier flies (larva) (Stratiomyidae):

Strongly-segmented larva, 3/4 to 1 inch, with two 1/16 inch protrusions from one end. Adult flies rarely seen, but are 3/4 inch and appear wasp-like and with two clear spots on upper abdomen.

Habits: In homes, larvae usually found in the bathroom. Presence in bathroom may be indication of sanitary (sewer drain or septic tank) problems because larvae feed in putrid, wet conditions. This insect also lays eggs and larvae develop in piles of damp organic matter such as compost piles. Like many fly species, larvae are known to wander well-away from their breeding site into areas where they pupate.

Interventions: Find the larval food source and address the problem by sanitation or moisture management.

Might Be Confused With: adults look like wasps.

House flyHouse flies (Muscidae: Musca domestica):

The most recognizable of all fly species. Black, drab, 1/4 inch, fast-flying, often numerous around garbage cans and related refuse areas.

Habits: Breeds in garbage, trash, animal waste, and other organic refuse. Like most flies, found most frequently breeding in overly liquid or wet conditions. Often associated with unsanitary, unkempt conditions, such as areas abundant in animal waste or human garbage/landfills. The term maggot is most commonly used in reference to this fly’s larval stages. Because flies are pushed by prevailing, local winds, their source may be from some distance away.

Interventions: Proper sanitation and exclusion is an effective means of reducing fly numbers. Indoors deploy and maintain sticky traps associated with attractive lights (commercial insect light traps) and/or the chemical attractant Z-9-tricosene. Be sure that indoor light traps are situated so that they cannot be seen by flies from the outside. There is no scientific evidence to support claims that a hanging bag full of water serves as a deterrent to house flies. Remove garbage and other refuse at least twice per week.

Might Be Confused With: blow flies.

Humpbacked flyHumpbacked flies (Phoridae):

Also referred to as scuttle flies or coffin flies. Often scuttle about on the surface around and on infested materials. Humpbacked flies are about 1/8 inch.

Habits: Often associated with dead and decaying animal or plant matter (e.g., dead insects, rotting potatoes), bacterial buildup in drains (drain and sewer scum) in bathrooms and kitchens, and in/around garbage cans.

Interventions: Find and clean fly breeding sites and/or clean out drains. Make certain that the water trap in the drain line (especially common in less frequently used sinks) is filled – if the water trap dries out, flies and other pests that live in the drain lines will be able to enter the building. Remove garbage and other refuse at least twice per week.

Might Be Confused With: fruit flies, moth flies, fungus gnats.

Blow fliesBlow flies (Calliphoridae: many species):

Also referred to as bluebottles and greenbottles. Large, robust, fast-flying flies, 1/4 to 3/8 inch, commonly shiny and with metallic blue, green, copper, or gray coloration. Some species strongly bristled, some with stripes on their pronotum (upper thorax), and some with large, reddish-brown eyes. Resemble house flies in their flying behavior.

Habits: Flies attracted to and breed in recently dead and decaying animals and animal waste. When suddenly present in large numbers, and when present indoors (typically at windows sills), is highly suggestive of a dead animal indoors (e.g., attic, crawlspace, wall void, fireplace, etc.).

Interventions: Find dead animal and remove it. Maintain window and door screens to prevent entry into the house. Remove garbage and other refuse at least twice per week.

Might Be Confused With: house flies (especially the maggots).

Drain fly with nameDrain flies (Psychodidae: Psychoda spp.):

Also referred to as moth flies. Oblong or oval, appears moth-like, and is about 3/16 inch, wings fuzzy. Larvae up to 3/8 inch.

Habits: Commonly found in bathrooms (breeds in scum in drains, showers, overflows, toilet bowls, etc.). Adults rest motionless on walls until disturbed, and then fly well. Need wet conditions to breed. When toilets have gone un-flushed for an extended period, moth flies may lay eggs in the toilet tank, and larvae can be found there. When the toilet is finally flushed, larvae can make their way into the toilet bowl, where they are discovered.

Interventions: Clean the inside of the drain of all scum and detritus using a mild cleanser and a bristled brush. Never pour insecticides into drain. Pouring bleach into drains is not effective. Make certain that the water trap in the drain line (especially common in less frequently used sinks) is filled – if the water trap dries out, flies and other pests that live in the drain lines will be able to enter the building. To help determine whether a particular drain is infested, place a clear cup, inverted, over the drain. If flies emerge from the drain, they will be trapped by the cup, and can be seen.

Might Be Confused With: fungus gnats, humpbacked flies, fruit flies, and small moths.

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