by admin | 03/04/2015 | 3:03 PM

Create a Healthy Ecosystem in Your Own Yard

This spring season, help promote a healthy ecosystem by learning to identify and control damaging plants and insects in your yard. Information about common invasive species and backyard invaders is now being offered by Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE):

Invasive Plants

Invasive weeds can out-compete native species, changing the local ecosystem. Many varieties, first introduced as flora to plant in gardens, can be confused with similar, native varieties. Here are two common damaging ones to watch out for:

  • Purple Loosestrife, native to Europe and Asia, is found in most states. One plant can produce more than two million seeds annually.
  • Native to China, the Tree-of-Heaven was widely planted as an ornamental plant for many years and is often confused with other trees having similar leaves, such as black walnut, butternut, and most sumac.

Invasive Insects

Invasive insects can also have a severe negative impact on native species by out-competing them for food and resources. Many also cause and carry disease and prey on native species. Two common ones to look out for include:

  • Emerald Ash Borer, native to Asia, is prominently found across the Northeast, Midwest, and Southeastern United States. The larvae do the most damage, killing ash trees by feeding on the inner bark.
  • Zebra Mussel, native to lakes in southern Russia, is found in hundreds of waterways throughout the United States. The species commonly clog water intakes, damage boats, and can cause cuts and scrapes if they grow on rocks, swim rafts, and ladders.

Backyard Pests

Did you know native plants and insects can cause damage too?

  • Ticks can transmit Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Left untreated, Lyme disease infects the joints, heart, and nervous system. After time spent outdoors, check for ticks, especially in and around your ears, inside your belly button, behind your knees, around your waist, on your scalp, and in your hair.
  • Mosquitoes can carry West Nile Virus. While most people may show few symptoms, 20 percent of people develop a fever along with headaches, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Follow the “five Ds” to protect yourself: Drain standing water; Stay indoors at Dusk and Dawn; Dress in long sleeves and pants; and use DEET-based mosquito repellent.
  • Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac can lurk in backyards. Almost 85 percent of people develop a rash when they come into contact with these weeds. Control poisonous weeds long-term by carefully digging out the plants while wearing waterproof gloves or treating with a pesticide.

Defend your local ecosystem by identifying exotic plants in your garden or yard. Spot invasive weeds and insects in your area? Let your county extension office know, which may have a monitoring and management program in place.

By being aware of invasive species and other pests in your area, you can help support native species and a healthy ecosystem in your own backyard and neighborhood.

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by admin | 02/05/2015 | 9:09 PM

Aaron Hobbs, Diane Rehm and Pesticide Resistance

Well-respected radio host Diane Rehm tackled the issue of pesticide resistance on her Feb. 3 program, inviting RISE president Aaron Hobbs to participate in the panel discussion.  “Environmental Outlook: The Race Against Pests and Weeds,” featured multiple debate-worthy topics related to the subject matter, discussed by the following panel members:

Rehm opened the show by discussing the challenges of weed resistance management and whether there is a need for new solutions. This set the stage for an extensive conversation on pest control and pesticide use, including:

  • Pesticides’ role as a solution to pest problems that should be used in combination with other pest control tools – essentially, an integrated pest management (IPM) approach. Hobbs pointed out the importance of education, proper use and continued evolution of pesticide technology.
  • The advancement of pesticide technology, which results in more targeted products. Hobbs said, “The innovation cycle brings a product to market that is more targeted to be more specific to the pest problem we’re trying to solve, as well as softer and friendlier to those beneficials in the field.”
  • The role of invasive species in habitat challenges. Invasives compete with plants, like milkweed, that offer butterfly habitat.
  • The length of time (10 years) it takes for the Environmental Protection Agency to review new pesticide products to ensure they can be used safely.

While multiple viewpoints were represented and debated throughout the show, Hobbs found one perspective with which he thought everyone could agree.

“Whenever you’re approaching a pest problem, whether it’s a weed or an insect, you have to take an integrated approach. I think that’s something we can all agree is the way to go,” he said. “You have to take that thoughtful, integrated approach to address that problem. Fortunately we have those solutions that help us deal with those problems now.”

Listen to the complete show on The Diane Rehm Show website or track Aaron’s online conversation at

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by admin | 01/12/2015 | 4:04 PM

Montgomery County Pesticide Legislation: UPDATE

The Montgomery County Council has set a public hearing at 7:30 p.m. ET on Jan. 15 and Feb. 12 to discuss Bill 52-14. The proposed bill, introduced by Montgomery County Councilmember George Leventhal in October 2014, will ban the use of select EPA-approved pesticides on public and private property in the county.

The legislation would affect personal property rights by taking away EPA- approved products from professionals and homeowners, limiting their ability to maintain safe and healthy outdoor spaces. These products help control pests such as mosquitoes and ticks, which can carry West Nile Virus and Lyme disease, poison ivy and poison oak, ragweed, and weeds that reduce the health of lawns, parks and playing fields.

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.

We need your help! Please attend the bill hearing at 100 Maryland Ave. Rockville, MD. 20850, or email your councilmembers today to have your voice heard.

For more information, contact us at The complete bill language can be reviewed here.

Posted in Legislation, Pest Management, Turf Management | No Comments »

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 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 and join in the conversation on Twitter @DebugtheMyths or on Facebook at

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

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 You can also follow Debug the Myths on Facebook at 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 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 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 You can also follow Debug the Myths on Facebook at 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 You can also follow Debug the Myths on Facebook at 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

Posted in Uncategorized | 21 Comments »

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


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.


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.


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.


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 and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

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