UC Master Gardener Program
University of California
UC Master Gardener Program

UC Master Gardener volunteers know household pests!

It's well known that the UC Master Gardener Program produces dedicated volunteers who are extremely knowledgeable about home horticulture and gardening. UC Master Gardener volunteers; especially those working at help desks, hotlines, and farmers markets, respond to thousands of requests each year, extending information and resources to California's residents that help them maintain landscapes, grow healthy food, and manage pests using the principles of integrated pest management (IPM).

Household pests such as cockroaches may be especially popular request topics within UC Master Gardener Programs serving the urban residential public in California. This photo shows oriental cockroaches, an outdoor species that can come into homes that are not properly sealed. Structural exclusion and other nonchemical preventive tactics can be used to solve this pest problem without the need for insecticides. Learn about this and other household pest solutions in order to better serve your clien

 

Pests don't disappear at the front door, however: there are plenty of significant pests threatening our households, structures, and communities. In fact, residents in urban counties may have more need for information and resources associated with household pest IPM than for landscape and garden IPM. Even rural counties are filled with homes that may be infested by key urban pests such as ants, cockroaches, bed bugs, flies, termites, pantry pests, and rodents.

UC Master Gardener Programs have seen increasing numbers and rates of requests for information about these pests. Using the principles of IPM, household pests can be effectively managed while minimizing negative impacts to our communities and the environment. For instance, many unnecessary pesticide applications are made in urban environments, leading to pesticide exposure events, pesticide resistance issues, and environmental contamination, especially of urban surface water systems. In many cases, pests could have been managed using preventive or nonchemical tactics.

Whether in the home or in the garden, IPM is one of the key knowledge areas in which UC Master Gardener volunteers receive training. Using the UC IPM website and its materials, such as Pest Notes and Quick Tips, UC Master Gardeners are able to help answer household pest requests. Even so, volunteers familiar with plant ecosystems may not always feel confident when addressing pest problems in the home. Luckily, an advanced training opportunity exists for UC Master Gardener volunteers who would like to increase their proficiency in household IPM. 

UC Master Gardeners use insect specimens, pest management products, and printed information to answer questions about key household pests during one of UC IPM’s Advanced IPM Training for MGs workshops. You can use an online continuing education module to train yourself and others about IPM for household pests in your home county.

A continuing education module, entitled Advanced IPM Training for UC Master Gardeners: Household Pests, was developed by Dr. Andrew Sutherland, Urban IPM Advisor in the San Francisco Bay Area. This advanced training has been provided several times for UC Master Gardeners at in-person hands-on workshops, but it is also available online within UC IPM's IPM Resources for UC Master Gardeners web portal.

The module includes a PowerPoint presentation, word-for-word script, instructions on hands-on exercises associated with the presentation, and handouts providing detailed information about the pests covered. Help Desk leaders and other UC Master Gardener volunteers can use these materials to deliver the modules to other volunteers using a train-the-trainer model. The module can also be delivered to residential clientele directly. Pests discussed include: ants, bed bugs, cockroaches, pantry pests, termites, and other wood-destroying insects.

We encourage you to take advantage of this unique training opportunity, and become a local expert on household pests. As always, UC ANR Advisors like Dr. Sutherland are available to answer difficult questions and to provide more in-depth training, but this module can certainly help you build confidence and prepare you for that next bed bug request (you know it's coming!).

The updated continuing education module can be found at the following URL: http://ipm.ucanr.edu/FAQ/mghousehold.html

For questions about this Household Pests module, please contact Dr. Andrew Sutherland

 

Posted on Tuesday, September 26, 2017 at 2:54 PM

Comments:

1.
Two questions: I recently bought a house in the SDSU area and need to know how to control/remove silverfish that threaten my library! I don't know what impact having a professional pest control company spread whatever dust they use would have on butterflies and birds, but I'm guessing it wouldn't be good.  
Second: I have a lawn in front (not watering it so it looks terrible) and a patch of dirt in back i would love to transform into a place for butterflies and birds. Where to start?

Posted by Viola Roth on September 25, 2017 at 7:54 PM

2.
Hi Viola,  
UC IPM has some great information on silverfish management, here: http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7475.html.  
Regarding creating a pollinator habitat the UC Master Gardener Program in San Diego would be a great resource to help get you started. Here is the website: http://ucanr.edu/sites/sdmastergardeners/.  
Happy gardening!  
Melissa

Reply by Melissa G. Womack on September 26, 2017 at 7:29 AM

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