by admin | 03/20/2014 | 12:12 PM

The Bee’s Knees

Photo Credit: Fotopedia by cygnus921

Photo Credit: Fotopedia by cygnus921

All of us care about the environment and about using lawn and garden pesticides in the safest and most environmentally sound way when dealing with home and garden pest problems. One way to ensure lawn and garden pesticides do not harm pollinators is to read and follow all insecticide product instructions.

With the spring planting season right around the corner, we pulled together four facts about insecticides called neonicotinoids and bee health:

  • Bee health is a complex issue. Many studies find no link between decline in pollinator health and neonicotinoids, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “Report on National Stakeholders Conference on Honey Bee Health.”  The report found a “complex set of stressors and pathogens” is associated with declining pollinator health, including parasites, microbial diseases, bee management practices, and climate change.
  • Neonicotinoids help control insects – on plants and pets. Neonicotinoids keep lawns and gardens free from damaging insects like aphids, shield homes from termites, protect nursery plants and crops, and protect pets from fleas and ticks.  As is the case with all pesticides, when they are applied correctly neonicotinoids can be used safely and will not harm pollinators.
  • Communication, collaboration, and effective stewardship is needed. Each of us has an important role in the conversation about pesticide use and pollinator health.  Get the facts and read product labels to become an educated consumer.
  • EPA’s regulatory process rigorously reviews all pesticides. Neonicotinoid insecticides are registered under U.S. EPA’s reduced risk program due to their favorable health and environmental profile. The EPA relies on its gold-standard risk assessments using the most current scientific information and standards.  Even after a product is approved, the EPA continues to review each registered pesticide to ensure it continues to meet these standards over time. Visit the EPA website at www.epa.gov.

To learn more about keeping your family, community and pollinators healthy and safe, follow Debug the Myths on Facebook at facebook.com/debugthemyths and Twitter @DebugTheMyths.

Posted in gardening, outdoor | No Comments »

by admin | 02/24/2014 | 12:12 PM

Identifying the Most Invasive Pests

National Invasive Species Awareness Week (Feb. 23-28) kicks off today with industry professionals and government officials encouraging each of us to become aware of and work to reduce invasive species threats to our health, economy, environment, and natural resources. 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 species are non-native plants, bugs, and animals. They can produce skin irritations, trigger allergies and poison pets, livestock, and humans. Without our combined efforts invasive species 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.

In observance of National Invasive Species Awareness Week, we 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 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 Service, Department 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 | No Comments »

by admin | 02/10/2014 | 2:02 PM

RISE Collaborates with Green Industry Members at 2014 New England Grows

Luncheon focused on the importance of having access to all the tools in the toolbox

Teaching visitors about invasive species in the area.

Teaching visitors about invasive species in the area.

BOSTON, Mass. (February 10, 2014) – Last week, RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment)® hosted a Debug the Myths luncheon for green industry members that focused on grassroots engagement and education around challenges and opportunities for the upcoming year. Hosting the member luncheon during New England Grows, one of the largest and most popular horticultural and green industry events in the Northeast, gave RISE and industry leaders an opportunity to connect before the growing season ramps up. New England Grows was held February 5-7 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

“Participating in New England Grows is an excellent way for us to collaborate with professionals in our industry and prompt discussion on the latest trends and business needs,” said Karen Reardon, vice president, public affairs, at RISE. “Our conversations tend to come back to the basic fact that inputs are important, technology-based tools in the toolbox of green industry professionals for keeping our families, homes and lawns healthy and safe.”

At the luncheon, members were able to network and discuss issues affecting the fertilizer and pesticide industries. Reardon provided research-tested examples on consumer perceptions and informed members of resources available to help educate the public.

RISE also sponsored a booth at the trade show, distributing educational materials, including Debug the Myth t-shirts, insect repellant, “tick check” cards, children’s books about insects and weeds, and posters of New England’s invasive species designed to build awareness among attendees of the importance of mitigating pest risks where they live and play. RISE’s Debug the Myths program aims to educate the community specifically about the strategic use of pesticide products for providing effective, reliable solutions to prevent and eradicate pest populations that cause disease and harm.

The crowd at New England Grows on Wednesday, Feb. 5.

The crowd at New England Grows on Wednesday, Feb. 5.

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 by professionals and consumers.  Learn more about RISE at www.debugthemyths.com or on Twitter at @DebugTheMyths.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

by admin | 10/18/2013 | 12:12 PM

Day 5: Treat

As NIAP Week wraps-up today, we want to remind you that preventative, proactive, and most importantly proper Treatment all play a key role in keeping pests under control. An Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach manages pests by using all the tools in the pest control toolbox, including maintenance, monitoring, and Treating any issues that may arise.

When the situation calls for it, the judicious and targeted use of pesticides can provide effective management of pest and weed populations. But always remember to read and follow all label directions before using the product.

For more information on Treating pest problems, visit debugthemyths.com and watch extension specialist Janet Hurley’s video for expert pointers on treating your home (NIAP Day 5: Treat). Remember to follow the INSPECT (INvestigate, Study and Prepare, Eliminate, Clean and Treat) process for taking strategic approaches in identifying, controlling and preventing against unwanted pests.

Posted in National Inspect & Protect Week, Pest Management | No Comments »

by admin | 10/17/2013 | 10:10 AM

Day 4: Clean

Today is Day 4 of NIAP week, and we’re talking about the integral role that maintaining a Clean home and lawn plays in discouraging pests from calling their home yours. This fall, be sure to Clean out sheds and garages, rake fallen leaves, and trim shrubbery to eliminate hiding places for these unwanted guests.

Watch Texas A&M extension specialist Janet Hurley’s video here (NIAP Day 4: Clean) for more ways to keep your home clean and pest-free, and visit debugthemyths.com to review any of the steps you may have missed earlier in the week.

Posted in National Inspect & Protect Week, Pest Management | No Comments »

by admin | 10/16/2013 | 9:09 AM

Day 3: Eliminate

As NIAP Week continues, we’re sharing ways to Eliminate the pests on your property on Day 3. Start by blocking pests’ access points into your home. Use caulk and concrete to repair all cracks and crevices you spot, and Eliminate the food, water, and shelter that may attract uninvited guests. This means storing food and garbage in sealed containers, and stockpiling firewood at least 20 feet away from your home.

Extension specialist Janet Hurley offers some tricks on eliminating pest entry in today’s video: NIAP Day 3: Eliminate

Visit us on Facebook at facebook.com/debugthemyths and follow us on Twitter @debugthemyths for additional information on eliminating unwanted pests in your home.

Posted in National Inspect & Protect Week, Pest Management, Uncategorized | No Comments »

by admin | 10/15/2013 | 10:10 AM

Day 2: Study and Prepare

On Day 2 of NIAP Week, we’re discussing the importance of Studying pests in your area and Preparing to resolve your pest problems. By studying-up on common pests in your area and the damage they can cause, you will equip yourself with the knowledge you need to recognize any warning signs during your inspection.

After arming yourself with information, Prepare the most effective ways to solve your pest problem. Proper planning includes understanding safe and correct ways to eliminate pests, which can be found at www.debugthemyths.com.

Be sure to watch extension specialist Janet Hurley’s video of the day for more information on how to better study and prepare for pest invasions:

NIAP Day 2: Study & Prepare

Posted in National Inspect & Protect Week, Pest Management, Uncategorized | No Comments »

by admin | 10/14/2013 | 9:09 AM

Day 1: INspect

This year’s National Inspect and Protect Week (October 14-18) is focused on protecting and proactively preparing your lawn for spring – but it’s important to take care of the inside and perimeter of your home, too. This in mind, we’ll be sharing tips that align with the easy-to-remember mantra, INSPECT (INvestigate, Study, Prepare, Eliminate, Clean and Treat) that can be used both inside and outside of your property.

Throughout the week, stay tuned-in to watch videos from Janet Hurley, an extension program specialist at Texas A&M University, who will provide simple but effective ways to ensure that your home is a pest-free place to be.

Today, we’re talking about the importance of INvestigating your home and yard for clues that pests are present. Be sure to look closely for cracks and crevices in the siding of your home and holes in the dirt leading toward your basement and porch. You never know where pests may be lurking, so keep your eyes open!

Watch Janet’s home walk-through for more helpful tips on investigation:
NIAP Day 1: INvestigate


INvestigating is the most proactive way to prevent a pest problem on your property.  For tools to help you investigate, check out our detailed checklist and Housepests Uncovered. Join the conversation this NIAP Week by following us on Facebook at facebook.com/debugthemyths and on Twitter @debugthemyths.

Posted in National Inspect & Protect Week, Pest Management, Uncategorized, outdoor | 11 Comments »

by admin | 10/11/2013 | 5:05 AM

Kickoff to National Inspect & Protect Week

National Inspect and Protect Week (NIAP) is a week dedicated to educating homeowners about the importance of protecting their homes and outdoor spaces from potentially harmful pests. During the week of October 14-18, RISE (Responsible Industry for Sound Environment)® will be equipping homeowners with key steps to ensure a healthy home, as well as takeaway tips to help manage their outdoor spaces during the cool weather season.

To “kick-off” NIAP Week, RISE spoke with Jason Henderson, associate professor of turfgrass and soil sciences at the University of Connecticut and an expert in maintaining healthy athletic fields. Henderson offers homeowners tips for keeping their yards pest-free this fall:

1. Have a mowing game plan in hand– Three main factors contribute to proper mowing: mowing height, frequency, and equipment maintenance. Generally, cool-season lawns should be mowed once a week between three and three and a half inches, alternating the direction each time. However, a game plan is important to win the game, so mowing frequency should be determined by the growth of the plant. As a rule, no more than one third of the leaf blade should be removed at any one mowing. Keep your equipment in top shape and remember to keep mower blades as sharp as possible. Dull blades will severely affect the appearance of the turfgrass and make the plants more susceptible to disease.

2. Keep it lean and mean– A proper diet helps build muscle to defend against some of your lawn’s toughest opponents like weeds, disease, and insects. A basic soil test can help homeowners and lawn care professionals determine exactly what your lawn needs to absorb to achieve optimal growth and prevent you from wasting time and money applying products that are not needed. For example, nitrogen applications made late into fall can actually help the turfgrass green up faster in the spring. Take a timeout to study and prep your lawn to win big next year.

3. Punch some holes– Aerification, the process of creating air pockets in the soil, can breathe new life into your lawn and is an important practice for maintaining long term lawn health. To see if your lawn is in need of some conditioning, dig a small sample of your lawn to see how far your grass’ roots go. If the roots are less than three to four inches deep, then your lawn may be a good recruit for aeration practices. By aerating the lawn, homeowners can reduce thatch accumulation, improve water movement, and prepare a seedbed for new, healthy growth.

4. Keep the opponents at bay– Weeds simply do not have the ability to stand up to heavy foot traffic like your lawn. Outdoor playing surfaces that have been severely compromised by weeds and show reduced turfgrass cover have been associated with greater potential for tripping or playtime injury. To be a true champion on the field, implement an integrated pest management (IPM) approach that incorporates the proper use of control products to help combat weeds, disease, and insects when needed. Remember to read and follow all label directions when using outdoor control products, and consult a lawn care professional or university extension with questions.

5. Hydration is key – Watering your lawn should be done to bridge the gap when Mother Nature does not provide enough natural precipitation for plant growth, but unfortunately, it’s the most frequent lawn care foul homeowners commit. Busy traveling between work, school and other activities, homeowners should strive to water correctly. Irrigation practices should be applied early in the morning, ideally between 4:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m., to minimize excess moisture from negatively affecting your lawn. Applying water during the late morning or early evening can extend the amount of time the grass stays damp, making your lawn more susceptible to disease.

To learn more about National Inspect and Protect Week, and for more tips on how to take care of your lawn and other outdoor spaces, visit www.DebugTheMyths.com. Join the conversation on Facebook at www.facebook.com/debugthemyths and Twitter @debugthemyths.

Posted in National Inspect & Protect Week, Pest Management, Turf Management, outdoor | 2 Comments »

by admin | 08/27/2013 | 1:01 PM

Educators Ready to Welcome Students, but not Pests Back to School

While schools are eager to welcome back students this fall, they are already working to create an unwelcome environment for insects, rodents, weeds, and other pests. As allergens from rodents like cockroaches are a significant cause of asthma in children[i], and bites from insects like ticks carry disease[ii], a strategic approach to managing pests is essential for creating a safe place for students to learn and grow.

An Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach is one way to protect children. The approach works by creating a plan for identifying, monitoring and, as much as possible, preventing pest problems before they happen.

“IPM is implemented by many school administrators, because it manages pests by using all the tools in the pest control toolbox, including maintenance, monitoring of pest populations, sanitation and pesticides,” said Janet Hurley, extension program specialist in school IPM for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. “Pesticide use in schools is part of a specific, strategic plan designed to use pest control products in the safest and most prudent way possible.”

IPM combines the use of products reviewed and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and proactive pest control practices. A successful IPM program can reduce pest complaints by nearly 90 percent, according to the EPA.or Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. “Pesticide use in schools is part of a specific, strategic plan designed to use pest control products in the safest and most prudent way possible.”

“As a parent, I appreciate the use of IPM programs in school to safely protect classrooms, playgrounds and athletic fields where my children play,” said Bobby Kossowicz, a New Jersey mother of two who combines her past professional experience in the pest control industry and insight as mother to educate others. “I have such confidence in the approach that I use IPM around my home too.”

RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment)® shares the following steps for implementing IPM both at school and at home:

  • Take an educated approach. Monitor the pests for their locations and populations to establish the source of the pest problem.
  • Identify an appropriate threshold. Prioritize pest control based on the most immediate threat.
  • Remove pest-attracting conditions. Replace waste receptacles and keep them clean, prevent water from pooling near where children play, and keep grounds free of litter and leaf debris.
  • Use pesticides when necessary. Include judicious and targeted use of pesticides when the situation calls for effective management of pest and weed populations.

Read and follow all label directions when using pest control products. Learn more about IPM by visiting www.DebugTheMyths.com and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

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.


[i] Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) http://www.epa.gov/asthma/pests.html

[ii] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/

Posted in Pest Management, Schools/Education, health | 1 Comment »