Pennsylvania’s Top 5 Pests

Pests are everywhere! Some like House Mice and Termites are commonly known, while others are of the more exotic variety, and let's be honest, they're a little bit frightening. They come in all shapes and sizes with four legs, eight legs, wings, fur, and fangs. If we let our imaginations go wild, they become the creepy things that lurk in our nightmares, waiting to pounce upon the unsuspecting sleeper.

Most infestations are manageable and can be taken care of without the need to call a professional. But there are times when calling a professional is your only option. When you do, you'll want someone who has taken the time to become licensed and knowledgeable about the best methods to rid your space of unwanted "guests".

The most common pests inhabiting Pennsylvania's homes are those listed and described below. Surely you have met one or two of them.

#1 Blacklegged (deer) ticks

Young nymphs may be the size of a pinhead and can grow to one-eighth of an inch as an adult. They are known for feeding on deer during the winter and will bite humans primarily during the spring and summer when people spend more time outdoors. They can spread viruses such as Lyme disease which was first detected in 1976 in Lyme, Connecticut when an unusually large number of children suffering similar symptoms came down with an unidentified illness. Blacklegged ticks are usually found in the eastern United States especially in the Northeast. They frequent wooded areas and fields and are commonly found around homes and buildings in secluded or rural areas.

#2 House mice

House mice typically seek shelter and food within our homes, will eat almost anything and build nests in areas such as wall insulation and packing materials. They quickly reproduce and can bring fleas and mites into homes. A female house mouse can give birth to a half dozen babies every three weeks and can produce up to 35 young per year. House mice are not only a nuisance, but they can pose significant health and property threats. Any structural holes should be sealed, and homeowners should inspect for droppings or gnaw marks on a regular basis.

#3 German cockroaches

The German cockroach is a small species of cockroach, typically about 1.1 to 1.6 cm long. Its color varies from tan to almost black, and it has two dark, roughly parallel, streaks that run behind the head to the base of the wings. The most common cockroach species, German cockroaches will eat almost anything. They find their way into new structures by hiding in cardboard boxes, grocery bags, and secondhand appliances. A large German roach population will produce a foul odor. They prefer to live in warm, humid places such as kitchens and bathrooms. They have also been known to spread at least 33 kinds of bacteria, seven human pathogens and six kinds of parasitic worms. Practicing good sanitation and eliminating excess moisture will help to prevent a German cockroach infestation.

#4 Termites

With hard, saw-toothed jaws, termites can and will inflict significant structural damage to properties over time. They can eat wood 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Termite infestations can mean possible financial ruin for a homeowner. Termites are active across the state, from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg and from Philadelphia to Scranton, Pennsylvania. Generally, termites swarm on a warm day after a rainfall. Swarms may occur during the winter in heated buildings. An infestation of termites often remains undetected until it is too late and there has already been major structural damage. If you want to prevent termites, be sure to avoid water accumulation near building foundations and eliminate any wood contact with soil. For an in-depth look at the destructive power of these pests, check out NPMA’s Tiny Termite House.

#5 Flies

Horse flies and house flies tend to be the most annoying pests. Horse flies are approximately one inch long and feed on the blood of humans and animals. Female horseflies inflict a painful bite from their scissor-like mouthparts. A horsefly bite will usually become red, swollen and itchy. Although they rarely result in an allergic reaction, horsefly bites can become infected and require medical attention. Aside from being a buzzing nuisance, House flies are strongly suspected of transmitting at least 65 diseases to humans, including typhoid fever, dysentery, cholera, poliomyelitis, yaws, anthrax, tularemia, leprosy, and tuberculosis. Flies regurgitate and excrete wherever they come to rest and thereby mechanically transmit disease organisms. The common housefly can live up to 28 days. Be wary of horse flies when near wooded areas or bodies of water and quickly dispose of any trash to avoid a house fly infestation, house flies frequent trash cans, decaying flesh, rotting food and manure.

Should you find it necessary to call on a professional, you'll want to be sure they are licensed by the State of Pennsylvania's Department of Agriculture.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture recognizes the following classification of applicator licensing:

  • Commercial Applicator – Necessary if:
    • Pesticide application will take place on property not owned or rented by applicator or employer.
    • Restricted use pesticides are being applied to property owned by applicator or employer but not applied to crops.
    • Pesticides are applied to apartments of 4 or more units, golf courses.
  • Private Applicator – Necessary if an individual’s plans to purchase and apply restricted use pesticides for producing an agricultural commodity on land owned or rented by the individual or their employer.

Anyone seeking a license can start the process by visiting the Certified Training Institute's Pesticide Division. You'll find all the information necessary to obtain or maintain a Pennsylvania Pesticide Applicator License. The courses are offered online and available anytime 24/7 from any computer or even your smartphone!


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Is it Pesticide Poisoning or Heat Exhaustion?

Pesticide poisonings are often mistaken for symptoms of other illnesses, such as the flu, heat exhaustion, food poisoning, and asthma. When pesticide handlers become ill from working with organophosphate or carbamate insecticides in warm and hot environments, it is sometimes hard to tell whether the person is suffering from heat exhaustion or pesticide poisoning. Anyone who works with or near pesticides should be aware of the symptoms of pesticide poisoning.

Pesticide applicators who work with organophosphate or carbamate insecticides in warm and hot conditions need to be especially aware of the difference between heat exhaustion and pesticide poisoning.
It is not always easy to tell if a person is suffering from heat exhaustion or pesticide poisoning.

The EPA has provided the following chart to help you compare symptoms.

Systems of Heat Exhaustion

Sweating
Headache
Fatigue
Dry Membranes
Dry Mouth
No Tears
No Spit Present
Fast Pulse (slow if person has fainted)
Nausea
Dilated Pupils
Central Nervous System Depression
Loss of Coordination
Confusion
Fainting (prompt recovery)

Systems of Heat Exhaustion

Sweating
Headache
Fatigue
Moist Membranes
Salivation
Tears
Spit Present in Mouth
Slow Pulse
Nausea and Diarrhea
Possibly Small Pupils
Central Nervous System Depression
Loss of Coordination
Confusion
Coma (can't awaken)

What should you do if you suspect a case of pesticide poisoning?

Time is critical with any pesticide poisoning! Get immediate help from a local hospital; physician; or poison control center (800-222-1222). If you believe you have been poisoned or injured by pesticides on an agricultural establishment covered under the Worker Protection Standards (WPS), your employer must:

  • Make transportation available from the job site to a medical care facility.
  • Provide information about the pesticide to which you may have been exposed.

If you suspect heat exhaustion, the Mayo Clinic recommends that you:

  • Move the person out of the heat and into a shady or air-conditioned place.
  • Lay the person down and elevate the legs and feet slightly.
  • Remove tight or heavy clothing.
  • Have the person drink cool water or other nonalcoholic beverage without caffeine.
  • Cool the person by spraying or sponging with cool water and fanning.
  • Monitor the person carefully.

Call 911 or your local emergency number if the person's condition deteriorates, especially if he or she experiences:

  • Fainting
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Fever of 104 F (40 C) or greater

In either case, do not hesitate to seek medical attention. Call 911 if in doubt.

Employers, Protect Your Workers and Your Business! 
Make sure your employees are properly trained, current with their license and WPS compliant. Pennsylvania Pesticide Applicators must complete 6 credits of core training each certification cycle in addition to category specific requirements. See chart for details.

Renewal Deadline
Commercial Applicators - annually by 9/30
Public Certified Applicators - every 3 yrs by 9/30
Registered Technicians - annually by 2/28
Private Applicators - every 3 yrs by 3/31

Worker Protection Safety (WPS) Training
As of January 2, 2017, the EPA Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) requires employers to provide protection to workers and handlers from potential pesticide exposure. Pesticide safety training is part of the requirement. If you do not train your workers properly you run the risk of employee injury and penalties which could cost you thousands of dollars. Certified Training Institute has partnered with Mississippi State University to bring the highest quality pesticide education to Pennsylvania as well as the entire nation. This training is designed to help you comply with the new regulations. Worker Protection Safety (WPS) training is available online  HERE  Training programs are available to help you train all your workers. Packages are available to train 1-25 workers. There's also an option to train an unlimited amount of workers.

Sign up today and begin your required training and stay in compliance with the new laws. Courses are available at – www.certifiedtraininginstitute.com/pesticide


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Are You Ready to Renew Your Pennsylvania Pesticide Applicator License?

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture “To maintain certification, applicators must attend update training programs in core and appropriate category-specific topics. Six core credits and up to ten category credits for each category in which the applicator is certified are required.  If the recertification credit requirements are not met by the specified date, the applicator's license will expire and that applicator will no longer be permitted to make pesticide applications until the license is reinstated.”

Renewal deadlines are as follows:

Commercial Applicators - annually by 9/30
Public Certified Applicators - every 3 years by 9/30
Registered Technicians - annually by 2/28
Private Applicators - every 3 years by 3/31

If your deadline is approaching, here’s what you need to know.

The number of credits you must take to meet your license requirements is dependent upon the number of categories are applied to your license. You’ll want to check your license carefully before you calculate your license renewal requirements from the list below.

Pennsylvania Pesticide Applicator Continuing Education Requirements

Agronomic Crops (1) - 10 credits
Fruit & Nuts (2) - 10 credits
Vegetable Crops (3) - 10 credits
Agricultural Animals (4) - 6 credits
Forest Pest Control (5) - 8 credits
Ornamental Shade Trees (6) - 10 credits
Lawn & Turf (7) - 10 credits
Seed Treatment (8) - 4 credits
Aquatic Pest Control (9) - 4 credits
Right-of-Way Weeds (10) - 8 credits
Household & Health Related (11) - 10 credits
Wood Destroying Pests (12) - 10 credits
Structural Fumigation (13) - 6 credits
Public Health - Vertebrate Pests (15) - 8 credits
Regulatory Pest Control (17) - 10 credits
Demonstration & Research (18) - 10 credits
Wood Preservation (19) - 4 credits
Commodity and Space Fumigation (20) - 6 credits
Soil Fumigation (21) - 4 credits
Interior Plantscape (22) - 4 credits
Park or School Pest Control (23) - 10 credits
Swimming Pools (24) - 4 credits
Aerial Applicator (25) - 10 credits
Sewer Root Control (26) - 4 credits
Private Category (PC) - 6 credits

Next step: Find State-Approved Education

Once you’ve calculated your required continuing education, you’ll need to find a state-approved continuing education provider. Certified Training Institute is just the place to complete those credits!

They offer state-approved education for all categories.  All courses are online and accessible 24/7 from any internet capable device, including your phone! Take them at home, in the field, or even your truck!

Courses are offered individually or in money-saving bundles. Each one is specifically designed to meet Pennsylvania State requirements.  The choice is yours!

Take advantage of winter downtime and get started now!


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What is WPS and Why is it Important to Pennsylvania?

What does "WPS" mean?

WPS stands for Worker Protection Standard. Enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency, the WPS protects the health and safety of agricultural workers. The goal of WPS is to reduce injury and health risks for people who work with pesticides.

What is the Worker Protection Standard?

WPS requires employers to provide pesticide training that covers the following topics:

  • Pesticide product safety
    • Reading labels
    • Following directions
  • Pesticide application
    • Best health practices during application
    • Restricted Entry Intervals training
    • Posting signage to protect workers from entering areas that have been recently sprayed
  • Use of protective equipment
  • Pesticide handling
  • Decontamination practices

Who needs to comply with the WPS? 

  • Employers at Agricultural or commercial business that handle pesticides, including farms, forests, nurseries, and greenhouses.
  • Employers at Agricultural or commercial business with agricultural workers who work in places sprayed with pesticides within the last 30 days or have high-contact agricultural tasks like weeding, moving irrigation equipment, pruning, and harvesting.

What must I do to comply with the WPS?

You can complete WPS training for all of your employees using an EPA-approved video course.

Certified Training Institute's program comes in English and Spanish and complies with all EPA requirements. The package also presents, tracks and organizes all worker training and documentation.

Upon completion of the video course, employers must also provide access to specific information including:

  • Applications on the establishment
  • Safety data sheets for pesticides applied
  • Poster displays with pesticide safety and emergency information

The online video course breaks down how to do it all. This program makes WPS compliance easy and straightforward. No more worrying about scheduling training, organizing logistics, or tracking records and paperwork, this system does it all. For more information on how you can train your employees, click here.

What happens if I do not comply with WPS?

Worker Protection Standard enforcement has not been widely advertised, however, the repercussions are steep and costly. Training your staff before a problem occurs is a preventative measure that will help you avoid costly lawsuits, medical bills, fines, and save your business’s reputation. Check out this 2 part article for more information "What happens if I don't comply with WPS?"  A farm in Hawaii found out the hard way and was fined a $26,700 penalty for non-compliance.  Don't let this be you!

Do You Employ Workers and Handlers? 

Visit www.wpstraining.us for online, EPA approved, video Worker Protection Standard training programs in English and Spanish.


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What do Michigan Golf Course Managers and Parks and Recreation Groundskeepers have in common?

They both need Turfgrass Pest Management certification!

If you’re thinking of a career in either of the aforementioned professions, you’ll want to begin by taking a comprehensive exam prep course to help you learn everything you’ll need to know to pass the Michigan 3A Turfgrass Pest Management Exam.

To pass the exam and be successful in your business you’ll need to know the best cultural practices for growing a healthy turf, how to accurately measure your treatment area, how to calibrate your equipment to stay within label rates, how to accurately identify damage caused by diseases, insects and vertebrate pests, and all the federal and state regulations pertaining to pesticide applications! That’s a lot of information to learn!

Fear not! Our on-staff horticulturist and certified applicator has taken all the guesswork out of the process by compiling this video exam prep course. With over 300 practice questions – including photo identification questions to help you learn to identify those pesky weeds – this course will provide you with all the tools you need to pass your exam and be successful in your career.

Busy schedule? No problem! You can take the course anytime, anywhere 24/7 from your smartphone or mobile device.  Just click on the "Start Now" button below.


Turfgrass Pest Management | Michigan Exam Prep

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Ancient Pesticides

You may think that today's methods of pest control are the most modern, but did you know that practically every method in use today has its origins dating back to B.C.?

According to a report of ancient Greek and Roman agrarian literature covering a period roughly 200 BC to 200 AD, protective seed coverings, olive oil, soda, smoke, ashes, leek juice, and salt were commonly used to control blight, mildew, and other common plant ailments.

Many substances were created from chemicals and minerals commonly found in plants, animals, trees and native soils.

Ancient agronomists used a variety of methods for pest control, including selectively placing plants such as bay, cedar fig, cumin and garlic in rows among their crops. Such plants were thought to kill or repel various insects.

Soaking seeds in leek juice was thought to prevent fungal diseases such as blight and mildew. The liquid distillation of extracts of lupine flowers and wild cucumber were commonly used as natural deterrents. Many insects commonly treated are similar to those we deal with today.

Such practices are quite similar to those in use by today’s organic gardeners and farmers wishing to avoid the use of synthetic chemicals.  Today's organic farmers often use seaweed to keep potato beetles at bay or plant a combination of onions, garlic, and herbs together to naturally prevent predators.

es: History of Pesticide Use; NY Times Archives


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What do Golf Course Managers and Parks and Recreation Groundskeepers Have in Common?

They both need Turfgrass Pest Management certification!

If you’re thinking of a career in either of the aforementioned professions, you’ll want to begin by taking a comprehensive exam prep course to help you learn everything you’ll need to know to pass the Turfgrass Pest Management Exam.

To pass the exam and be successful in your business you’ll need to know the best cultural practices for growing a healthy turf, how to accurately measure your treatment area, how to calibrate your equipment to stay within label rates, how to accurately identify damage caused by diseases, insects and vertebrate pests, and all the federal and state regulations pertaining to pesticide applications! That’s a lot of information to learn!

Fear not! Our on-staff horticulturist and certified applicator has taken all the guesswork out of the process by compiling this video exam prep course. With over 300 practice questions – including photo identification questions to help you learn to identify those pesky weeds – this course will provide you with all the tools you need to pass your exam and be successful in your career.

Busy schedule? No problem! You can take the course anytime, anywhere 24/7 from your smartphone or mobile device.  Just click on the "Start Now" button below.


Turfgrass Pest Management | Exam Prep

State-approved video courses available 24/7

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Indiana Pesticide Applicators, Did You Know?

You may think that today's methods of pest control are the most modern, but did you know that practically every method in use today has origins dating to B.C.?

According to a report of ancient Greek and Roman agrarian literature covering a period roughly 200 BC to 200 AD, protective seed coverings, olive oil, soda, smoke, ashes, leek juice, and salt were commonly used to control blight, mildew, pests, and other plant ailments.

Many substances were created from chemicals and minerals commonly found in plants, animals, trees and native soils.

Ancient agronomists used a variety of methods for pest control, including selectively placing plants such as bay, cedar fig, cumin and garlic in rows among their crops. Such plants were thought to kill or repel various insects.

Soaking seeds in leek juice was thought to prevent fungal diseases such as blight and mildew. Many insects commonly treated are similar to those we deal with today. The liquid distillation of extracts of lupine flowers and wild cucumber were commonly used as natural deterrents.

Such practices are quite similar to those in use by today’s organic gardeners and farmers wishing to avoid the use of synthetic chemicals.  Today's organic farmers often use seaweed to keep potato beetles at bay or plant a combination of onions, garlic, and herbs together to naturally prevent predators.

Anyone wanting to further their knowledge base and gain valuable continuing education recertification credits at the same time need only visit Certified Training Institute.

Indiana Certified Applicators must re-certify by December 31st.

The amount of continuing education you need varies by certification type. You'll find everything you need to meet State required continuing education as well as prelicensure and Worker Protection Standards (WPS) training (in English and Spanish!) for your workers.  It's all online and available 24/7 from any computer, smartphone or mobile device. You choose when and where to study!

 

References: History of Pesticide UseNY Times Archives,


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Delaware Pesticide Applicators Must Re-Certify Before December 31st

Pesticide Applicators in Delaware must recertify every three years. They are also required to complete category specific continuing education by December 31st. Certified Training Institute makes it easy and affordable with a vast array of Delaware approved online continuing education courses. Individual courses, as well as Agricultural and Ornamental course packages, are available 24/7 for applicators who wish to beat the December 31st deadline in time to enjoy the holidays.

Interesting topics such as Right of Way: Pest Control, Right of Way: Weed Control, Cage Trapping Techniques, Disease Management in Enclosed Spaces, and many others are available online anytime.

Expand your knowledge base and earn continuing education credits at the same time. Printable certificates are available at the end of your courses. They’ll even notify the state of your course completion!

Certified Training Institute also provides WPS training (with handler materials provided through PERC) to satisfy all of your needs. There are two plans available, 1-25 workers for just $159 or an Unlimited plan for only $399. As an added benefit, they offer this training in both Spanish and English!


Online Pesticide Professional Continuing Education

State-approved video continuing education courses are available 24/7.

 

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ESCAPING THE FLAMES

California’s recent wildfires not only impact human lives but wildlife as well. Larger animals such as bear and deer will likely find their way out of the forests seeking safety in other areas outside of the fire zone. Other critters such as rabbits, rats, mice, raccoons, squirrels, and gophers use their natural instincts and burrow underground to escape the flames.

Once the fires have been extinguished, these creatures will re-emerge, seeking safety from predators, as well as food and shelter in the nearest structures to have survived the flames. This means that areas such as attics, walls basements, roofs, and crawl spaces will become a safe haven. Not only are they a nuisance but these intruders could potentially carry disease which causes health risks for both household pets and humans.

Of course, the owners of these infested structures will be seeking knowledgeable and experienced professionals to rid their homes of unwanted visitors. Pesticide Professionals are able to expand their knowledge base and earn valuable California DPR and SPCB approved continuing education credits by taking the two courses highlighted below.

Cage Trapping Techniques - 3-hour online video course $49
This California DPR and SPCB approved course focuses on the use of cage and box traps in the management of vertebrate pests in both urban and suburban environments in California. Best practices surrounding appropriate traps for target animals, effective baits, and safe and humane use of traps will be outlined.

Vertebrate Structural Pest Control And ID4-hour online video course $59
This California DPR and SPCB approved course focuses on the fundamentals of wildlife damage inspection including identification based on habitat, routes of entry, scat, and tracks. It will help you understand the unique biological and legal risks that are involved with the inspection process in California as well as the proper equipment and PPE that should be used.


Online Pesticide Professional Continuing Education

State-approved video continuing education courses are available 24/7.

 

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