India Mounts Massive Pesticide Attack on Destructive Locust Swarms

Locusts are on their way to India after devastating vegetation and villages in Africa and Pakistan.

The country has already had to battle them this year, with Fortune reporting that a January attack killed more than 61,000 acres of vegetation including fields of potatoes and cumin. It was apparently one of the worst swarms in more than 25 years.

Now, officials are spraying pesticides in at least four provinces spanning more than 100,000 acres.

The Hindustan Times reports that they’re spraying Malathion 96 and Chlorpyrifos, which are organophosphate pesticides. Both are very powerful, the former is considered carcinogenic and has been associated with lymphoma diagnoses, while the latter can cause weakness, vomiting, and even paralysis.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations says the influx of locusts could be declared a plague if it reaches certain levels.

Their movements are “associated with strong westerly winds from Cyclone Amphan in the Bay of Bengal…several successive waves of invasions can be expected until July.”

Officials are bringing out the big-guns so to speak because it’s the only effective way to eradicate them. In an interview with the times, one officials says there are consequences to their application:

“These pesticides will drift and residue will remain. They will definitely disturb the ecological balance of the area and kill natural enemies—pests which can counter other crop pests. So, we can expect outbreak of other pests,” said the executive director at the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture.

He added that the locusts have a short life cycle but they can return to their breeding sites because they can fly long distances.

The FAO adds that locust invasions in East Africa, including Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia, are an “unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods.” Ground and aerial operations continue in those areas.

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Cage Trap vs. Live Traps

Sometimes vertebrates make themselves at home where we really wish they wouldn’t! Over the month of January, we’ll be looking at options for managing the vertebrate wildlife that makes itself at home where it’s not welcome.

Cage Traps vs. Live Traps: What’s the difference?

The first step to managing your new vertebrate guest is to choose the right equipment. When the average homeowner says “live trap” they’re usually referring to a cage trap. As professionals, we know that a cage trap is a live trap, but not all live traps are cage traps. We asked our expert Stephen Vantassel to fill us in on the different types of live traps, the various styles of cage traps, and what to look for when purchasing your equipment.

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


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.


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


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!


Weed Biology Part 1 Monocot Vs. Dicot

Monocot vs Dicot: What’s the difference and why does it matter?

Weed management can be a difficult task for turf and ornamental managers. Sometimes our mechanical or cultural controls like mowing or mulching fail to control the weeds and our client isn’t happy. It’s important that turf and ornamental managers have a working knowledge of the weeds common to their region. Over the next several weeks we’re going to take a look at weed biology. Our first installment: monocots vs dicots.

What is a cotyledon?

A cotyledon is an embryonic leaf in seed-bearing plants. There are usually one or two cotyledons for most weeds and the cotyledons either contain or have access to stored food the seedling will need before it can produce its first true leaves. Plants with one cotyledon are called monocots and plants with two cotyledons are called dicots. In most cases the cotyledon in monocots, for example corn, will stay at or below ground level. When corn is planted, the kernel of corn doesn’t come up out of the ground, it stays below the soil surface. The cotyledon transfers the energy stores in the endosperm of the seed to the growing plant. Conversely, the cotyledons in dicots, a green bean for example, not only serve as energy stores for the new plant but will push up out of the ground and photosynthesize before the first true leaves emerge.

Monocot vs Dicot

The difference in the number of cotyledons is only the beginning of the differences between these two types of plants. Differences include venation patterns, vascular bundle arrangements, roots systems and flower anatomy.

In monocots like grass, corn, or daffodils, the veins in the leaves run parallel to each other along the length of the leaf or stem. The vascular bundles are usually arranged in a complex pattern and the root system is pretty fibrous. The flower structures in monocots are arranged in multiples of three.

In dicots like green beans, woodsorrel, and most woody trees and plants, the veins in the leaves form a complex, netlike system. Instead of running from one end of the leaf to the other, the veins will branch off one central vein to form a network. The vascular bundles in dicots will usually be arranged in a ring. These rings are most easily seen in trunks of trees. The root systems in dicots will usually have a primary taproot. Of course plants adapt as well as they can to the site they’re planted in, so dicots planted in extremely compacted soil may not have a well developed taproot. Lastly, the flower structures in dicots are arranged in multiples of four or five.

Growing Points

The last obvious difference between monocots and dicots is the location of the growing points. In monocots, the growing point is at or just below the soil surface and is often protected by a sheath. In dicots, there are multiple growing points which are located at the end of every stem.

The different locations in growing points is what allows turf weeds to be managed by consistent mowing. The growing point in turf is at the soil surface and is not damaged by consistent mowing. However, the growing points on weeds like bittercress or wood sorrel are above the soil surface. Consistent mowing means consistent removal of growing points for the weed.

Pesticide Use

Understanding the difference between monocots and dicots is also important when selecting a pesticide as part of an integrated pest management program. Non-selective herbicides aren’t usually the best choice when managing weeds in a turf stand, unless of course the intent is to wipe out all things green and begin again. Turf managers who need to manage broadleaved weeds (dicots) within their turf stand will want to apply a selective herbicide. 2,4-D is a great example of a selective herbicide. While applied to all vegetation in a turf stand, grasses inactivate 2,4-D while broadleaf dicots do not, thus killing the dicots while leaving the turf unharmed (when applied within label rates).

However, landscape managers will want to avoid spraying 2,4-D on planting beds as the herbicide will harm the desired plant. Landscape managers will want to select an herbicide that will kill the monocot weed (usually grass) such as sethoxydim to control grasses that are invading the planting area.

Want to know more?

Choose your state from the drop down below and check out the following courses for more information on managing weeds in both turf and ornamental areas.

Common Turfgrass Weeds

Common Ornamental Plant Pests

Home Lawn and Landscape Management


Arizona Pesticide Applicator Renewal

What are the requirements to renew an Arizona pesticide license?

You must re-certify either every year or two years by May 31st, 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 31st
  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



Americas 11 Best For Pests

We often think about all of the amazing places we wish to vacation or even make our homes. But have you ever thought about the creatures that may be hidden between the walls, under the bed or between the sheets?  Listed below you’ll find an informative, yet tongue-in-cheek reference guide to some of America’s top cities and the creepy crawly creatures you’ll likely find hidden within them.

  1. New Orleans
    Next time you’re tempted to head south for Mardi Gras, you may think twice. New Orleans ranks high when it comes to sightings of cockroaches, rats, and mice according to a study conducted by Statista
  2. Washington DC
    Ranked the second worst city for bedbugs by Orkin. The huge influx of international travelers (along with their luggage) are to blame for shuttling these bothersome creatures throughout this city. No place seems to be safe as these pests have been sighted in public transportation, libraries, movie theatres and even hospitals. It’s reported that the even invaded the DC Department of Health in 2012.
  3. New York City
    It is estimated that as many as 28 million rats infest this city, that’s almost four rats for each human being in residence! Their only competition would be cockroaches. The cities architecture wasn’t designed with pest control in mind. The many alleyways, dumpsters and garbage cans make it easy for these pests to exist.
  4. Miami
    Who wouldn't want to live in Miami with its year-round steamy climate? Along with the snowbirds, Miami is also home to rats, cockroaches, mosquitoes, and ticks, just to name a few. According to a University of Florida study, it is estimated that by 2040, half of the structures in South Florida will be at risk for termite infestation. Homeowners in Florida pay on average $3,000 each year for pest control services.
  5. Phoenix
    Do you like scary creatures with venomous tails? Phoenix residents need to contend with scorpions as well as the usual rodents and termites. The Arizona desert is home to one of the most venomous scorpions in the United States. About 12,000 scorpion stings are reported each year.
  6. Atlanta
    Warm climates, wet summers, swamps and forest areas are the perfect breeding ground for the 45 varieties of mosquitoes that inhabit this area. They are common carriers of viruses including West Nile and Zika. 5% of households report rats and 25% have reported termite infestations.
  7. Boston
    Termites are the least of Boston’s concern. 17% of Bostonians reported mice infestations. Boston is well known for its rat problems. In 1917 the Boston Women’s Municipal League started a campaign against the rats. Appropriately dubbed “Rat Day”, residents were offered prizes for presenting the largest number of rat carcasses. A more recent solution involved dropping dry ice into rat burrows which suffocated the rats. However, this method was banned by the EPA because the dry ice wasn’t registered as a pesticide.
  8. Tampa
    Roaches are present in 38% of the homes in Tampa. The good news is that this city is practically rodent free! Not such great news for pets though, fleas and ticks seem to enjoy the weather as well as your pets. These pests carry Lyme Disease, Rockey Mountain Spotted Fever and Tapeworms!
  9. Nashville
    Nashville may be the home of Country music, but it’s also a haven for rats and snakes. Cockroaches, ticks and black widow spiders also like to call Nashville home. Perhaps they appreciate country music as well?
  10. Houston
    Houston's climate is warm and humid, making it a breeding ground for a wide variety of pesky creatures, among them are cockroaches, termites, bedbugs, and The American Housing Survey reported that two in five homes in Houston have reported seeing cockroaches. Houston is also home to the brown recluse, black widow, and many more spider species. While these spiders try to live indoors, they prefer to be away from people as much as possible.
  11. Philadelphia
    Rodents seem to be the most popular pest, apparently making this city, the "rattiest" city in America. The abundance of old row houses makes it easy for rats and mice to find holes to burrow into. Since these homes are situated alongside one another, the rats find it particularly easy to move from one abode to another. Their pesty neighbors the cockroaches have also found it easy to maneuver from home to home.

So there you have it, folks!  Have you thought about where you’d like to reside?  If you enjoy the company of these creatures, any of the cities listed above are great candidates for your next home. If you're anything like me, you’ll want to avoid these places altogether!

All humor aside, no matter where you live, there are likely to be pests of one form or another. Managing the infestation is the key to living harmoniously with natures irritating creatures.

If you’re interested in a career as a pesticide applicator, why not check out Certified Training Institute’s Pesticide License online video courses.  They’ve got a full line of Exam Prep, Continuing Education and Prelicensing courses in mobile-friendly HD Video available online 24/7.

Pesticide Safety Training
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