by admin | 10/30/2014 | 5:05 PM

Legislation Banning Pesticides Introduced in Montgomery County

County Councilmember George Leventhal introduced legislation this week in Montgomery County, Md., that aims to ban the use of select pesticides on public and private property in the county, limiting professionals’ and homeowners’ ability to maintain safe and healthy outdoor spaces.

The proposed Bill 52-14 overlooks the benefits these products provide and increases the community’s safety and health risks from pests, such as mosquitoes and ticks, which can carry diseases like West Nile and Lyme. The complete bill language can be found on the city council website.

Montgomery County  industry stakeholders and RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment)®, support an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach to the use of pesticides to control weeds, pests and disease and recognize the importance of maintaining access to all the tools in the pest control toolbox for lawn care operators and homeowners.

The legislation would affect personal property rights by taking away EPA- approved products from professionals and homeowners. These products help maintain home property value by controlling weeds and helping lawns and landscapes thrive. And they protect my family and our neighbors from poison ivy, poison oak, ragweed, and mosquitoes and ticks, which can carry West Nile Virus and Lyme disease.  If the bill passes, homeowners won’t be able to purchase common products like Weed N Feed from local retail locations.

We need your help to share the importance of access to properly used pesticide products. To voice your opinion with the Montgomery County Council, contact us at info@saveourlawns.org for further information.

Posted in Legislation, Pest Management, health | 14 Comments »

by admin | 10/08/2014 | 10:10 AM

Local Boys & Girls Club Members Become Ecosystem Defenders

Boys & Girls Club members participating in beautification efforts.

Boys & Girls Club members participating in beautification efforts.

RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment)® teamed up with the Knudson Boys & Girls Club of Salem and the Meyer Memorial Boys & Girls Club of Portland to provide club members with the opportunity to learn more about the delicate balance of the ecosystem in which they live, and the impact that insects, particularly pollinators, and invasive weeds have on that balance.

Beautification efforts were one of the many core activities that took place last month in Oregon. The beautification project included planting pollinator-friendly flowers, provided by RISE, at both clubs in order to give each outdoor space a fresh look. The activity gave club members the opportunity to learn more about maintaining outdoor spaces and the relationship between native and invasive species. Boys & Girls Club members took ownership of the maintenance and beautification of their club by participating in the landscaping efforts.

In addition to learning about ecosystems and planting, a special appearance was made by the “Super Bee” mascot, who taught members how to promote pollinator health and understand the important role pollinators play in an ecosystem by pollinating plants that produce food and keep gardens growing.

RISE offers the following ways anyone can help contribute to pollinator health:

  • Plant native flora. Growing native flowers and plants will adapt better to where you live and provide a familiar food source to local pollinators.
  • Include diverse flower colors and fragrances in your garden. Bees are especially attracted to flowers in shades of purple, blue, white and yellow, while butterflies like red and purple.
  • Provide water and sun. Pollinators love visiting a sunny location with a source of fresh water nearby.
  • Read and follow label instructions. “Bee” responsible by always reading and following all label instructions when using any pesticide product. Make sure to choose the right product for your problem, and apply it correctly.
  • Plant generously. A large amount of flowers is more attractive to pollinators than single plants.

For more information, visit www.debugthemyths.com/backyardboss and join in the conversation on Twitter @DebugtheMyths or on Facebook at facebook.com/DebugtheMyths.

About RISE

Located in Washington, D.C., RISE is the national association representing the manufacturers, formulators, distributors and other industry leaders involved with pesticide and fertilizer products used in vector control, turf, ornamental, pest control, aquatic and terrestrial vegetation and other non-food/fiber applications.  Learn more about RISE at www.debugthemyths.com.

Posted in Schools/Education, gardening, outdoor | 14 Comments »

by admin | 08/13/2014 | 5:05 PM

Doctors Warn About Lone Star Ticks

When we think of ticks we mostly think about the dangers of Lyme disease, but there’s one tick whose bite may leave you with another unwanted side effect: a severe allergy to pork, lamb, and beef. The lone star tick is much larger than the deer tick and is found throughout the South all the way up to Maine.

Recently reported by The Washington Post in an article entitled, “This bug’s bit could turn you into a vegetarian,” the tick’s bite incites an immune reaction to sugars in meat products that then cause allergic reactions in humans whenever they eat red meat. Symptoms include hives, redness, and swelling of the face, tongue, and lips and usually occur three to six hours after pork, lamb, or beef is consumed.  According to doctors, the allergy can be permanent in some cases, so it is important to protect you and your family.

Prevention of tick bites starts by reducing your exposure, so be sure to check out these helpful tips on how to prevent contact with all ticks:

  • Bathe or shower right after spending time outdoors and conduct a full-body tick check using a mirror to see hard to reach places such as the under arms, belly button, behind the knees and on the scalp.
  • Avoid wooded and busy areas with high grass and leaf litter, and apply repellent before participating in outdoor activities.
  • Check your pets for ticks daily and remove them as soon as possible if you see one.
  • Protect your pets by reaching out to your local veterinarian. They usually offer a variety of products for protecting animals from tick-borne diseases. Pets can carry ticks inside homes as they hide in their fur.
  • Place a barrier of wood chips or gravel between your lawn, patio, and play equipment and any wooded areas. This will restrict tick migration into recreational areas.
  • Consult a professional to spray your yard perimeter to reduce tick populations.

To learn more about keeping your family and community healthy and safe from ticks and other vector-borne illnesses, visit DebugTheMyths.com. You can also follow Debug the Myths on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/debugthemyths and Twitter @DebugTheMyths.

Posted in Uncategorized | 16 Comments »

by admin | 08/08/2014 | 9:09 AM

Educating Residents About Creating Safe Outdoor Spaces for the Entire Family

Plant Science Day attendees visit our booth

This week, we teamed up with Lyme Connection, a community-based organization offering BLAST tick-borne disease prevention programming, to talk with residents in Connecticut about creating a safe, pest-free outdoor environment at Plant Science Day. The free, public event, hosted by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) at Lockwood Farm in Hamden, Conn., supports awareness around the importance of maintaining healthy outdoor spaces.

We handed out educational materials, including a flier about the importance of safely eradicating unwanted insects and plants such as ticks, mosquitoes, and poison ivy, and taught visitors to our booth how to identify these pests as the first defense against Lyme disease and West Nile virus.  Our team members also talked to them about choosing the right product for the problem, and using it correctly by reading and following all label instructions.

In addition, we passed out posters with the latest information on identifying common invasive species found in the Northeastern United States. For the youngsters in attendance, we shared a children’s book titled “What’s Bugging You?” by Raymond Bial that teaches kids about identifying common pests around their homes.

The CAES is a non-profit organization that provides education, prevention, and support for plant science. It offers soil testing, plant and insect information, tick testing, mosquito surveillance, invasive aquatic plant information, and inspections and regulations.

Join us in the conversation on Twitter @DebugtheMyths or on Facebook at facebook.com/DebugtheMyths using #BackyardBoss.

Posted in Uncategorized | 15 Comments »

by admin | 07/31/2014 | 10:10 AM

Close Encounters with the Invasive Kind

A recent TIME magazine cover story titled, “Space Invaders: Invasive Species, Coming Soon to a Habitat Near You,” highlights the growth of invasive species – non-native plants, bugs, and animals – across North America. While many of these “space invaders” may be nice to look at in your backyard, parks or outdoor spaces, they are actually busy overtaking other naturally occurring wildlife or plant species, disrupting the ecosystem. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, damage from invasive species costs the United States an estimated $120 billion a year and is an increasingly important topic that demands our attention and action.

Invasive plant species can produce skin irritations, trigger allergies and poison pets, livestock, and humans. Without our combined efforts, invasive plants in our environment will continue to be difficult to control. They can clog waterways, kill native trees, ornamentals, and prized native flowers and plants. They can be found in every habitat imaginable, including oceans, parks, urban environments, yards, and gardens.

Taking steps to become your home and community’s own “Backyard Boss” can contribute to the battle against invasive plant species. We encourage you to read the TIME article, and challenge you to start regular investigations of your own. The easiest part is you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home. Following are ways you can help keep your family and community healthy and safe:

  • Visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website at www.epa.gov and find out what’s invasive around you.
  • Learn to identify common invaders and recognize new ones if they invade. If you live in the Northeast U.S., download and review the Debug the Myths poster “Invasive Species of the Northeast” by clicking on the image below. You are an important first line of defense in invasive species identification and management.
  • Check trees, gardens, vacant lots, roadsides, yards, agricultural areas, wetlands, ponds, and lakes. Early detection is crucial to stopping the spread of invasive plant species.

Do your part by being aware and reporting invasive species in your community. If you see a pest, report it to your local Fish and Wildlife ServiceDepartment of Natural Resources, or county agent. With your help, we can protect so much of what we value the most!

To learn more about keeping your family and community healthy and safe, visit DebugTheMyths.com. You can also follow Debug the Myths on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/debugthemyths and Twitter@DebugTheMyths.

Posted in Pest Management, outdoor | 19 Comments »

by admin | 07/18/2014 | 5:05 PM

Score Your Perfect Lawn

The World Cup captured the world’s attention over the last few weeks, but one of the main players may have been overlooked – the field.

Many sports fans (and lawn care enthusiasts) were so focused on their team’s game they failed to notice the thick, weed-free turf field. Turf may seem like a sideline topic, but it provides a number of benefits including greater traction for athletes, better playing surfaces, and cushion for any falls or injuries.

All the principles applied on the professional field can be applied to “fields” at home too.

Your lawn should not be the biggest upset of the summer. RISE (Responsible Industry for Sound Environment)® and International Expert on Sports Turf Grass Management and Founder of Growing Innovations Jerad Minnick want you to achieve your winning lawn and become your own “Backyard Boss” with the following healthy turf tips:

  1. Stay hydrated: Water is crucial for quality performance on and off of the field. Try to water your lawn between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. to minimize excess moisture and allow it to dry all day. Applying water at night can extend the amount of time the grass stays wet, making your lawn more susceptible to disease.
  2. Slim down: Get your lawn into shape. Remember the three main factors that contribute to proper mowing: mowing height, frequency, and equipment maintenance.
  3. Maintain a balanced diet: Proper fertilization leads to a healthy lawn. Grass needs certain nutrients in order to perform at its peak just as the players do. Feed your grass what it needs to stay healthy and safe for the family, kids, and pets to play on.
  4. Keep your head in the game: Pay attention and know the game plan. Score the perfect lawn by reading and following all label directions when using outdoor control products.
  5. Leave it all on the field: When grass clippings are left on the lawn, they can restore nutrients to the soil and reduce the amount of fertilizer needed.

To learn more about keeping your lawn game ready, visit DebugTheMyths.com. You can also follow Debug the Myths on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/debugthemyths and Twitter @DebugTheMyths.

About RISE

Located in Washington, D.C., RISE is the national association representing the manufacturers, formulators, distributors, and other industry leaders involved with pesticide and fertilizer products used in vector control, pest control, turf, ornamental, aquatic and terrestrial vegetation, and other non-food/fiber applications. Learn more about RISE at www.debugthemyths.com.

Posted in Uncategorized | 21 Comments »

by admin | 06/24/2014 | 3:03 PM

Chikun-what??

The name chikungunya may sound funny but this virus is no laughing matter. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recent cases are being reported in Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee, totaling 57 infections reported in the United States so far this year. To date, all cases occurred in travelers returning from affected areas in the Caribbean. The mosquitoes that spread chikungunya bite mostly during the daytime.

Prevention

The best way to prevent chikungunya virus infection is by avoiding mosquito bites altogether. Check out our National Mosquito Control Awareness week blog for tips on how to keep mosquitoes at bay this summer, and all year long.

If traveling to a country where chikungunya is widespread, use extra precaution in protecting yourself from mosquito bites. When spending time outdoors, it is suggested travelers wear protective clothing (long-sleeved shirts, pants, etc.) and apply insect repellants containing DEET.

Patients who are diagnosed with chikungunya should avoid additional exposure to mosquitoes to help prevent the further spread of the virus to other mosquitoes and later to other people.

Symptoms

The word chikungunya originated from a word in the Kimakonde language, meaning “to become contorted” and describes the stooped appearance of sufferers. Bites from an infected mosquito can lead to symptoms such as fever and extreme joint pain, along with headaches, muscle pain, joint swelling, and rashes. These symptoms can begin four to eight days after infected and usually resolve after one week. While most patients recover fully, some experience persisting joint pain for months, or even years.

Although not fatal, there is currently no vaccine or treatment for the virus. But with proper care and actions, it can be prevented.

Origin

A viral infection transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes, chikungunya originated in southeast Africa. The virus has since spread throughout sub-Saharan Africa and has become well established in the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and islands of the Indian and Pacific Ocean.  In late 2013, chikungunya virus was found for the first time in the Americas on islands in the Caribbean.

For more information on mosquito protection visit www.DebugtheMyths.com and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted in Pest Management, health, outdoor | 25 Comments »

by admin | 06/24/2014 | 10:10 AM

Protect Your Family from Mosquitoes this Summer

The first day of summer has arrived, and with warm weather comes more outdoor activities and… pesky mosquitos. Each summer, the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) recognizes “National Mosquito Control Week,” a week used to educate people about the significance mosquitoes play in our daily lives and the control measures that are available to manage the pest.

Mosquitoes can be a serious threat to public health by transmitting harmful and potentially deadly diseases. According to AMCA, over one million people die from mosquito-borne diseases every year. Some of these diseases include malaria, chikungunya, dengue, yellow fever, and West Nile virus (visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for additional information on these diseases). Many people are unaware that more deaths are connected to mosquitos than any other animal on the planet.

There are several ways to prevent or lessen your chance of contracting a mosquito-borne disease. Follow our tips all summer to keep your family and pets healthy in all of your outdoor fun:

  • Drain all standing water
  • Avoid activities during Dawn and Dusk when mosquitoes are most active
  • Dress appropriately in long sleeves and pants
  • Defend yourself against mosquitoes with an EPA-approved repellent
  • Doors and windows should be intact to prevent mosquitoes from coming in and out of your home
  • Fill in or drain low places in your yard (e.g., puddles, ruts, hollow stumps), and keep grass cut short and shrubbery well-trimmed to eliminate harborage for mosquitoes and other potentially harmful pests.
  • If you’re enjoying a ball game or outdoor activities, avoid damp grass which attracts mosquitoes and can put you in the midst of the pests. Always pack a chair to avoid putting yourself in harm’s way.

For more information on mosquito protection visit www.DebugtheMyths.com and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted in Pest Management, health | 34 Comments »

by admin | 06/20/2014 | 4:04 PM

RISE Supports National Efforts to Promote and Protect Pollinator Health

Photo Credit: Dan Braam – New Ulm, MN

Photo Credit: Dan Braam – New Ulm, MN

RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment)® supports the White House’s Presidential Memorandum on creating a national strategy to promote pollinator health, protect and restore pollinator habitats, and conduct comprehensive research to better understand pollinator population decline. The conversation around pollinators has been heightened in recent years – and again made a focus today.

To do its part, RISE created the ‘Bee Responsible’ program to bring greater awareness to the many factors affecting bee health and how we can all work together to promote their long-term existence.

“RISE is working to drive greater awareness and promoting long-term bee health among industry leaders, government officials, and the people who use and rely on pest control products every day,” said Aaron Hobbs, president of RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment)®.

During National Pollinator Week (June 16-22), RISE is highlighting the important roles each of us plays in creating a healthy environment for bees and offers the following tips to creating pollinator-friendly practices:

  1. Welcoming pollinators to your backyard by choosing pollinator-friendly plants. Bees prefer blue, yellow, or bright white flowers that have a large landing surface and shallow shape.[i]
  2. Planting a variety of flowers that bloom throughout the growing season to provide continual pollinating opportunities.
  3. Growing native flowers and plants will adapt better to where you live and provide a familiar food source to local pollinators.
  4. Bee-ing” responsible by always reading and following all label instructions when using any pesticide products. Make sure to choose the right product for your problem, and apply it correctly.
  5. Downloading and using a pollinator-friendly planting guide app from your smartphone or mobile device.

Moving ahead, RISE looks forward to building on the discussions previously held with White House officials and working together to find positive solutions to issues facing our pollinators and the environment in which they live.

To learn more about the many factors affecting bee health and how we can work together to support their long-term health, visit www.debugthemyths.com/BeeResponsible. Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter with hashtag #BeeResponsible.


[i] http://www.pollinator.org/PDFs/Guides/PacificLowlandrx9FINAL.pdf

Posted in Legislation, health, outdoor | 19 Comments »

by admin | 06/17/2014 | 10:10 AM

Five Ways to Enrich Your Lawn and Garden this Summer

You may not recognize honey bees beyond their black and gold stripes, but bees and other pollinators play a vital role in our environment and are responsible for pollinating some of our favorite foods and flowering plant species. Research points to multiple factors affecting bee health, such as pests, parasites, climate change, and nutrition problems.

Fortunately, gardeners can make conscious decisions to purchase flowers or plants that increase opportunities for bees and other pollinators to enrich our environment. With that in mind, RISE is offering tips for maintaining bee-friendly lawns and landscapes:

Photo Credit: Dan Braam - New Ulm, MN

Photo Credit: Dan Braam - New Ulm, MN

  • Plant native flora. Growing native flowers and plants will adapt better to where you live and provide a familiar food source to local pollinators.
  • Include diverse flower colors and fragrances in your garden. Bees are especially attracted to flowers in shades of purple, blue, white and yellow, while butterflies like red and purple.
  • Provide water and sun. Pollinators love visiting a sunny location with a source of fresh water nearby.
  • Read and follow label instructions. “Bee” responsible by always reading and following all label instructions when using any pesticide product. Make sure to choose the right product for your problem, and apply it correctly.
  • Plant generously. A large amount of flowers is more attractive to pollinators than single plants.

Pollinators play an important role in a healthy environment. Promoting bee health around your lawn and garden can make a difference.


Posted in gardening, health, outdoor | 17 Comments »