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IPM 25th2005 Annual Report

UC Statewide IPM Program

UC IPM Makes It Happen

Healthy garden healthy homeIPM advisor promotes IPM practices in San Diego

Many homeowners use too much pesticide and fertilizer that can end up in our lakes, beaches, and bays when it rains or when they overwater. To generate awareness about this issue, Project Clean Water (www.projectcleanwater.org) was created in July 2000 and offers people in the San Diego region a broad forum to explore water quality issues.

The project is comprised of a policy advisory committee with technical advisory committees for education, watershed protection, and legislation and regulation.

UC IPM Advisor Cheryl Wilen is working with the Healthy Garden—Healthy Home component of the project to educate San Diego County residents about how to improve their water resources.

As part of this effort, a team of 25 UCCE San Diego County master gardeners has undergone extensive IPM training to provide outreach to the San Diego community. Master gardeners offer IPM workshops on such topics as irrigation, lawn management, and plant selection. They also staff a master gardener hotline to answer home gardening and pest management questions. Other components of this project include training of retail nursery staff and participation in community events.

Continued >> The campaign is airing public service announcements that stress the message that pesticides can drift from intended areas and spread to where they can harm humans and animals. The Project Clean Water Web site offers posters and links to other sites that provide IPM information.

Drawing on a wealth of work from the UC Statewide IPM Program, the Project Clean Water site gives users access to UC IPM's insect pest tips which give simple steps residents can use to protect their children, pets, and watershed by reducing pesticide use or using nonchemical alternatives.

More than 30 government and private organizations have provided funding for Project Clean Water.

Storm drainPesticide use trends and educational strategies for urban pest managers

Pesticide contamination of urban creeks, estuaries, and other waterways is an increasing concern in California. A recently released report by UC IPM scientists Cheryl Wilen and Mary Louise Flint, along with IPM graduate student Nila Kreidich, looks at pesticide use trends and educational opportunities for professionals who apply pesticides in urban areas and may contribute to environmental problems. The study complements earlier studies by Wilen and Flint that investigated pesticide use and attitudes among California residents.

The study, funded by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), took a comprehensive look at user groups in three California counties: Orange, Sacramento, and San Diego. Groups studied included licensed professional applicators, who must report pesticide use to DPR through its use reporting system, as well as several other groups ranging from school employees, employees of private businesses, and unlicensed gardeners, whose use of pesticides is not well documented.

Investigators found significant differences between pesticide use in northern and southern California and also identified shifts in types of chemicals used in recent years. Educational opportunities varied among user groups. While licensed professionals have substantial educational resources available, unlicensed users of pesticides are difficult to reach. Outreach strategies recommended include consumer education, innovative educational materials, adoption of IPM policies, point-of-purchase education, and IPM certification programs.

Continued >> Pesticide use varied between the northern (Sacramento) and southern counties (San Diego, Orange). Substantially greater amounts of pesticides were applied in the southern counties. Most of this was accounted for by a greater number of structural pest control applications, which was consistent even when the lower housing density of Sacramento was accounted for, but use in landscapes was also greater in southern California.

The study revealed significant shifts in the use of certain pesticides over the past 10 years. For example, organophosphate insecticide use in structural pest control has been largely replaced by use of pyrethroids and, more recently, a surge in the use of fipronil. Herbicides were the most commonly reported pesticide group in landscapes and right-of-ways, although fungicides were also widely used in landscapes in southern California.

There is no way to accurately estimate how much pesticide is used by those who are not licensed and thus not required to report use. However, this report suggests that there is probably substantial unreported use, especially by maintenance gardeners. The team conducted an informal survey of maintenance gardeners and found that less that 42% of those who applied pesticides had a license or were supervised by someone with a license. Other groups that generally don't report use included pet groomers, schools and federal agencies, particularly the Department of Defense. Informal surveys of apartment complex managers and retail outlets such as restaurant or hotel chains or large stores suggested that most of these companies hire licensed pest control companies to apply any pesticides on their facilities.

The UC IPM investigators surveyed user groups about where they get information and how best to reach them. Professionals such as structural and landscape pest control applicators have substantial resources available through continuing education opportunities, however, unlicensed users are hard to reach. In the report, UC IPM suggests a comprehensive outreach strategy that includes:

  • simplifying educational material for some audiences,
  • educating consumers to demand IPM services,
  • encouraging businesses and agencies to adopt IPM programs or policies,
  • developing an educational campaign about pesticide disposal
  • better use of pesticide vendors including distributors and retail stores as outlets for educational programs
  • considering IPM certification programs for urban pest management professionals.

The complete report, Tracking Non-Residential Pesticide Use in Urban Areas of California, is available on the UC Statewide IPM Program Web site at or at the California Department of Pesticide Regulation's Web site (report #24).

The site also contains two earlier surveys by Cheryl and Mary Louise (#8, Urban Pesticide Sales and Use Surveys; #15 Bay Area/Sacramento Urban Pesticide Use Surveys) relating to pesticide use and practices among residents of urban areas. All three of these studies were funded by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.

Next articles >> IPM advisor coordinates worker protection training

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Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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