Maryland: Preparing for Lanternfly Invasion

Agricultural extensions have never seen anything like the spotted lanternfly, a leaf-hopping pest that recently overran southeastern Pennsylvania — and is poised to invade Maryland for the first time this spring. The spotted lanternfly appears to have caused more damage in less time than any invasive insect to arrive in the mid-Atlantic region, and it is proliferating more rapidly than the researchers can handle. Experts say a recent population explosion north of the Mason-Dixon line means the bug is all but certain to appear in northeastern Maryland sometime this spring.

The invader has harmed important crops including grapes, fruit trees, hop plants and hardwoods in more than a dozen Pennsylvania counties. Rather than consuming leaves, bark or fruit, the lanternfly uses its specialized mouthparts to penetrate a plant’s exterior, then sucks out the sweet, life-giving sap within. For instance, the lanternfly robs grapes of so much sweetness that farmers can’t bring them to market. They also stick to houses, decks, railings, and patios in infested areas.

You can help homeowners and farmers identify an infestation.

Helping homeowners and farmers spot an infestation on their own is a great way to build a trusting relationship with potential clients for years to come. When a homeowner calls with questions about whether they are facing an infestation, it is important to be able to describe the warning signs in a way they can easily follow. Many homeowners and farmers can spot and identify the lanternfly because of its distinctive coloring. The bug is so distinctive that 98 percent of the people who report spotted lanternfly sightings have identified them correctly.

A few promising countermeasures have emerged, like the use of specific pesticides, but so far, they’re developing more slowly than the bug is proliferating. Experts say there’s a chance they’ll find a way to eliminate the spotted lanternfly, but until then, their best hope is to try to slow its spread.

If you observe any egg masses or insects which look similar to this, please try to collect them, and inform the Maryland Department of Agriculture at (410) 841-5920 or sends e-mail)  as soon as possible (please attach photos if sending an email). 

Maryland Pesticide Professional Continuing Education

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



Summer Bites: North Carolina’s Unruly Mosquitoes

Summer Bites: North Carolina’s Unruly Mosquitoes

North Carolina's mosquito season usually falls between April and October. There are nearly 60 species of mosquitoes in the state, with the common three being the Northern House Mosquito, Asian Tiger Mosquito, and the Eastern Saltmarsh Mosquito. Northern House Mosquitoes commonly appear at night and are possible carriers of the West Nile virus. Asian Tiger Mosquitoes appear both day and night and may also carry the Zika virus. Charlotte and Raleigh were listed as two of the worst cities with mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes can be found on every continent on Earth and have been in existence far longer than most common known humans and creatures. Some species of mosquitoes date back to over 100 million years! The best way to get rid of mosquitoes is to call a professional pesticide applicator. However, with the effects of global warming, many experts believe that the mosquito population will only continue to grow. Looks like Pesticide Applicators are going to stay in business for a very long time!

North Carolina Structural Pesticide Professional Continuing Education

Online video courses - available 24/7.



The Chicago Bed Bug Ordinance: Opportunity for Pest Management Professionals

Image Content Providers(s): CDC/ Harvard University, Dr. Gary Alpert; Dr. Harold Harlan; Richard Pollack. Photo Credit: Piotr Naskrecki

The Chicago bedbug ordinance has been in effect since 2013. The ordinance was put in place to ensure that all the stakeholders, landlords, tenants and pest control service providers are taking responsibility and that there is a “plan” in place to ensure that proper pest control is happening and that there are penalties in place for noncompliance. The ordinance requires landlords to pay for bed bug infestations without punishing or discriminating against tenants who report the problem.

The bedbug ordinance ensures proper compliance by providing an IPM  plan to deal with bed bug infestations:

Step one: Landlords are provided with educational bed bug brochures for new tenants.

Step two: Landlords are required to notify tenants of upcoming bed bug inspections and provide instructions for making their home inspection ready.

Step three: The landlord must pay for the inspection and for a licensed pest management firm to continue treatment until the bed bug problem is eradicated.

Despite these steps, Chicago remains the #1 City in the United States for bedbug infestations. Since this battle has not been won yet, it is important for pest management professionals, including managers, supervisors, and technicians to understand the Chicago bed bug ordinance.

Illinois Pesticide Professional Exam Prep

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Asian Lady Beetle Invasion in East Texas

The Asian Lady beetle was first introduced to Pennsylvania in the 1960’s as a natural form of pest control for aphids and scale insects. This was a mistake. By the 1990’s the Asian Lady Beetle population exploded. The insect has been steadily making its way west with no signs of slowing. In 2016 the first lady beetles in Texas were recorded. Since 2016 the Texas lady beetle population has continued to rise with no natural predators to taper them.

What's the difference between a Lady Beetle & a Ladybug?

In winter lady beetles like to congregate around buildings to fight the cold. If you come across a cluster of what you think are ladybugs you are most likely mistaken. There are major differences between ladybugs and their usurpers (this is the part you're not going to like): The non-native Asian Lady Beetle give off an unpleasant odor for starters, something a ladybug, on her worst day, would not do. As if that weren't enough, they emit a yellow secretion that stains surfaces. Oh, and they bite, which another thing the ladybug would never even think of. It's not a horrible bite, more like a pinch, but a bite nonetheless.

How to keep Lady Beetles out of a home

There are no easy ways to preventing Asian Lady Beetle from entering homes or controlling them once inside. Caulking and sealing outside entry points is perhaps the most effective technique.  Residual Pyrethroid insecticides are often applied around areas that are not easily sealed to temporarily prevent lady beetles from entering a home.

Texas Pesticide Professional Continuing Education

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



Georgia Termites: Guard Your Wood

From the blooming flowers to the delightful temperatures, there is plenty to love about springtime in Georgia! Unfortunately, this beautiful weather also means its termite swarm season. Swarming is basically the termite way of furthering their species’ existence by traveling away from their colonies to join up with a mate and look for a good place to start fresh.

Most termites end up in a location close to their original nests because, despite having wings, they are not good at flying. However, during swarming, termites spread quickly amongst buildings.

Help homeowners identify a termite infestation

Helping homeowners spot an infestation on their own is a great way to build a trusting relationship with potential clients for years to come. When a homeowner calls with questions about whether or not they are facing an infestation it is important to be able to describe the warning signs in a way they can easily follow. Many homeowners are able to spot and identify termite mud tubes around their home’s structure. Mud tubes can be described to a homeowner as tunnels in the dirt leading from the exterior soil to the interior of the home.  In addition to mud tubes, many homeowners can identify shed termite wings and small piles of excrement that look like sawdust.


Georgia Pesticide Professional Continuing Education

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



You Set a Trap for a Squirrel and You Trapped a Skunk, Now What?

Imagine this: you’ve set a trap to catch what you think might be a squirrel, groundhog, or rabbit, but when you check it the next day you’ve caught a skunk! What do you do now? At this point, you’re glad you’ve covered at least half of your trap with an old blanket or something similar. Not only do you have a blind side to approach the cage trap, it also provides that skunk someplace to hide. We asked our wildlife trapping expert Stephen Vantassel if he’s ever had this happen to him. Check out the video clip from our Cage Trapping Techniques course for tips on keeping that trapped skunk calm, because let’s face it, nobody wants to be sprayed!

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Why Cover the Trap?

Our wildlife expert Stephen Vantassel recommends covering at least half of that trap during setting. What? Why would I want to cover my trap? Won’t that make it harder for the animal to find it? Perhaps, but the benefits far outweigh the loss of a little bait scent in the air. In addition to providing cover for that animal to hide, you’ve also hidden that animal from the family dog, the nosey neighbor, and predators that may decide that animal you trapped looks like a tasty snack. Take a look at this short clip from our Cage Trapping Techniques course to see why Stephen always covers his traps.

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National Pest Management Month

April showers not only bring May flowers but also the beginning of bug season. That is why April has been designated National Pest Management Month. For the last 30 years, the NPMA (National Pest Management Association) honors those in the pest control industry all April long and encourages the public to take steps in preventing pest infestations.

Common household pests include Carpenter Ants, Pavement and other Small Ants, Termites, Centipedes, Millipedes, and Spiders. This is the time of year that pests begin to multiply, and, in the case of ants, this population growth equals habitat expansion. Often, homes are within the growth range of existing ant colonies, and this can lead to troublesome infestations.

NPMA recommends you tell your clients to take the following steps to prevent pest infestations

  • Seal cracks and small openings along the foundation of the house.
  • Eliminate sources of moisture or standing water.
  • Cut tree branches and other plants away from the house.
  • Keep kitchens clean by wiping counters and emptying the garbage frequently.
  • Keep all food containers sealed.
  • Avoid leaving pet food dishes out for long periods of time.
  • Keep trash containers clean and sealed, both indoors and out.
  • Screen windows and doors.
  • If you see signs of pests or suspect an infestation, contact a licensed pest professional.

These preventative actions can help stop an infestation before it begins. It is much easier to prevent a pest control problem than to stop one!



Arizona Applicator Renewal FAQ

What are the requirements to renew an Arizona pesticide license?

You must re-certify either every year or two years by May 1st, depending on the renewal you selected. Individuals holding a Certified Applicator license must complete 6-hours of continuing education every year while qualifying applicators must complete 12-hours of continuing education every year.

How do I renew my Arizona pesticide applicator license?

  1. Complete the appropriate continuing education by May 1st
  2. Complete the Arizona Department of Agriculture Pest Management Division renewal process online by May 31st  
  3. Applicators -pay $75 and
    Qualified Applicators - pay $100What happens if I'm late renewing my license?

You will be charged an additional renewal fee.
Applicators - $37.50
Certified Qualified Applicators - $50.00

Where can I find courses to renew my pesticide license in Arizona?

Certified Training Institute offers several online video courses that have been approved by the State of Arizona Department of Agriculture for your license renewal. Courses can be completed online at your convenience and on any device that is connected to the internet. We also have a dedicated staff to answer your questions and help with tech support.

How do I submit my completed continuing education to Arizona?

Certified Training Institute will submit your program completion to the state. You will also be able to print a copy of your course certificate immediately after finishing the course.


Certified Applicator Course Package
6-Hours | Online HD Video


Qualified Applicator Course Package
12-Hours | Online HD Video




Professional Cage Traps vs. Retail Cage Traps: Is it worth the difference in price?

Last week we looked at the difference between live traps and cage traps. This week we’ll be looking at how retail cage traps differ from professional cage traps. As you might suspect, there are multiple differences right down to the spacing between the wires of the cage. We’ve asked our wildlife trapping expert Stephen Vantassel with the Montana Department of Agriculture to describe the differences between retail cage traps and professional cage traps, and how to compensate when all you might have available is a retail cage trap.

The following video is a snippet from our Cage Trapping Techniques Course. Find this and other video continuing education courses at

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