New Invasive Species Affecting Pennsylvania Soil

Last week, the Penn State Extension’s College of Agricultural Sciences announced the spotting of invasive jumping worms in Montour County. For anyone who relies on soil quality for their livelihood or hobby garden, a jumping worm (Amynthas spp., also known as Asian jumping worms, crazy worms, Alabama jumpers, and snake worms) infestation is their worst nightmare.

Jumping worms destroy soil quality by consuming large amounts of organic matter. When consumed, all plant nutrients in the worm castings are rendered unavailable for a long time, and the castings form a dry pellet. Once the soil’s organic matter is gone, it leads to a dry, coffee-ground-like consistency.

As of this writing, it is unknown how widespread the jumping worms are in Pennsylvania. According to the Penn State Extension, “the Montour County growers believe they have been on their farm for at least two years.” During this time, the growers noticed the jumping worms feeding on roots.

Differences between jumping worms and nightcrawlers

jumping worm found in pennsylvania

Adult jumping worms are about 5 or 6 inches long, with clitellum (the narrow band around their middle) that is flush around their entire body. The clitellum on nightcrawlers is slightly raised and does not go around their underside.

Dealing with jumping worms

If jumping worms are discovered on a property, the best known way to contain them is to make sure they cannot use soil to move from farm to farm. Soil can contain eggs even if adults are not present—cleaning soil from equipment and even shoes before moving to the next field can help keep them contained.

Currently, there are no insecticides labeled to control jumping worms. If found on a small scale, the worms can be collected, destroyed, and disposed of. Do not use them for fishing or in a compost bin. The Penn State Extension says they currently know “very little about this pest, but that will change. Keep your eyes and ears open for now.”


Remember, as Pennsylvania Commercial Applicators and Public Certified Applicators, you must complete your continuing education by September 30th! View all our on-demand CE bundles below!

Pennsylvania Continuing Education Course Packages


Pennsylvania Applicator CE Course Options & FAQs

Commercial Applicators and Public Certified Applicators: you must complete your approved continuing education by September 30th! If you have any questions about the renewal process, check out our FAQ page here.

Certified Training Institute offers online video courses that are approved by the state and available 24/7 from any internet capable device. Once you complete your courses we will submit them to the state and provide you with a printable copy of your certificate of completion for your own records. Can't print it? We will store your course completion records at no extra cost!

Follow the links below for a complete continuing education package and individual courses!

16 Credit Bundles
for Categories 01, 06, 07, 23

14 Credit Bundles
for Categories 10, 15, 16

Individual Courses
Category Specific





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

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

Systems of Heat Exhaustion

Moist Membranes
Spit Present in Mouth
Slow Pulse
Nausea and Diarrhea
Possibly Small Pupils
Central Nervous System Depression
Loss of Coordination
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 –

Pennsylvania Online Pesticide Professional
Exam Prep, Continuing Education and WPS Training

Pennsylvania State-approved video courses are available 24/7



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!

Online Pesticide Professional Continuing Education
State-approved video courses are available 24/7