New Exam Review and CEU Class Offered in Panama City: May 10-11, 2018

New Exam Review and CEU Class Offered in Panama City: May 10-11, 2018

In December of 2017, a new Commercial Lawn & Ornamental Pest Control Operator exam was launched in Florida. This updated exam covers materials found in two new manuals not previously recommended as study guides: “Identification Guide to Common Florida Lawn and Ornamental Weeds,”  and “Lawn and Ornamental Pest Management.”. Photographic pest identification including knowledge of life cycle have nearly tripled when compared to the prior exam.

Because this exam is a statewide license, many pests may not be familiar to industry professionals in NW Florida if they are more commonly found in peninsular or South Florida.

The new exam also includes Green Industries Best Management Practices (GI-BMP) topics, Florida Statutes, Administrative Rules, safety concepts from “Applying Pesticides Correctly” and label reading – both fertilizer and pesticide calculations and label interpretation.

The paper exam has been offered twice in Apopka since the launch last year with pass rates below 50% at both sessions.

Panhandle Horticulture Agents in partnership with FDACS (Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services) will be holding a review class May 10-11, 2018, in Panama City. This class is designed to reinforce lawn and ornamental pest control concepts with a focus on newly introduced material for the CPO Commercial Lawn & Ornamental exam, but is not a replacement for independent study.

Exams will not be given in conjunction with this class. Anyone interested in taking the CPO Commercial Lawn & Ornamental exam is still required to meet all mandated qualifications of education and/or experience. Applicants must then apply online https://aesecomm.freshfromflorida.com/ with FDACS to obtain a voucher and schedule the test with a local Extension office.

This class will also provide CEUs for current license holders in the following categories (please check 2018 CEU Commercial L&O Flyer for dates – not all CEUs available both days): Commercial L&O, Limited L&O, LCLM, O&T, Private Ag, Limited Urban Fertilizer. Core CEUs will be available both days.

Registration is customized based on attendees needs as one-day of your choice or two-day. If you plan to take the Comm. L&O Exam, it is strongly encouraged that you attend both days.

To register please visit https://lawn-ornamental.eventbrite.com

For questions about the class, please contact Julie McConnell at juliebmcconnell@ufl.edu

UF/IFAS Extension Bay County Horticulture Agent
B.S. Horticulture, Auburn University
M.S. Entomology, University of Florida

Green Industry Training Classes

Please check out our Upcoming Events page to see what classes are offered in the Panhandle for Green Industry Professionals.

If you’d like to have emails about upcoming events sent directly to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter at Subscribe UF/IFAS select “Green Industries in the Panhandle” under the “Lawn & Garden” tab.

UF/IFAS Extension Bay County Horticulture Agent
B.S. Horticulture, Auburn University
M.S. Entomology, University of Florida

2016 Formosan Termite Swarm Report

 

Formosan-termite The genus Coptotermes contains the largest number of termite pests (28 species) worldwide, with the Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosansus, being the most widely distributed and most economically important.  During the 1960’s it was found in Texas, Louisiana, and South Carolina. The first well-established colony in Florida was reported in 1980.

A single colony of Formosan subterranean termite may contain several million termites that forage up to 300 feet in soil. Once established, the Formosan subterranean termite has never been eradicated from an area.  Therefore, monitoring of movement of the species is critical. Beginning in 2015, the Florida Department of Agriculture of Consumer Science (FDACS) began trapping the alates. Termites have three primary castes: the reproductive, soldiers, and workers. Within the reproductive caste, the young females, referred to as alates, are the ones that leave the colony. They are able to form wings and seek new areas to become established.  Dispersal flights or “swarms” are massive and begin at dusk on calm and humid evenings from April to July. Alates are attracted to lights.

The objective of the FDACS Formosan Termite Alate project is to trap alates throughout the four most western counties of the Panhandle during their major swarm season in May and June, which is the time they are most active in that part of Florida. Trapped alates were counted on a weekly basis to determine peak swarming weeks.  White, gridded 7”x 4” sticky card attached to 6’ stakes are placed under strong, predetermined street lights.  Twenty-two trap locations were selected, each representing a key Panhandle community with at least one location North of I-10 within each of the four counties.Capture 2

In 2016, sixteen out of the 22 traps were positive for Formosan termite alates throughout the four Panhandle counties. Formosan alates were caught during 7 of the 8 weeks of trapping. The largest spike in numbers trapped was during the week of May 8th.  A subsequent swarming spike occurred during the week of May 22nd.  Trap locations that were positive in 2016 and not 2015 included Pensacola Beach, Destin, Blue Mountain Beach, Okaloosa Island and Choctaw Beach. The project will be continued each year in order to determine some of the problem areas.

For more information go to:

http://www.freshfromflorida.com/Divisions-Offices/Agricultural-Environmental-Services/Consumer-Resources/Protect-Your-Home-from-Pests/Termites/Formosan-Termite-Program

Muhly Grass Pest

Muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) is a generally pest free plant in our area, however, we are seeing the native mealybug, Stemmatomerinx acircula, on plants in various landscapes. Insects are on the leaves and are grey with white wax that may have some filaments. You may also see long ovisacs on the leaves which contain eggs and crawlers. The native fakahatchee grass may also be a host.

Muhly grass infested with mealybug. Photo: Beth Bolles

Muhly grass infested with mealybug. Photo: Beth Bolles

Plant9

The mealybug is white with fine filaments and numerous mealybugs can be found each leaf. Photo: Beth Bolles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The common practice of right plant, right place does not always prevent the mealybug infestations on muhly grass. Specimens in both full and shade can be affected, as well as mass plantings and those spaced out. At this time, there is not a lot of information on why some plantings are heavily infested and others are not.

Since mealybugs are piercing sucking insects, there may be some browning of leaves, especially on less vigorous plants. You may have to remove and destroy plants that are heavily infested and declining. In situations where treatment is warranted you may choose a systemic insecticide or oil spray to keep plants looking more attractive.  As the landscape manager, you will need to decide what is an acceptable threshold for this pest.

Horticulture Agent, Escambia County

Integrated Pest Management – Accurate Pest I.D.

UF/IFAS Extension working with horticulture professionals scouting turf problems. Photo Credit: Blake Thaxton

UF/IFAS Extension working with horticulture professionals scouting turf issues. Photo Credit: Blake Thaxton

Using an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach to landscape management has been an integral part of the green industry for many years. The strategies help to make pest control more efficient by incorporating multiple methods and being flexible enough to make changes where needed.

One of the most critical steps in your IPM plan is monitoring and correct pest identification. If the pest is not identified correctly, then any steps taken to control that pest will be ineffective and may also mask the original problem making it harder to get a correct diagnosis.

Correct identification does not stop at naming the pest in question. More research needs to be done to choose the appropriate management methods.  Some key questions to answer are:

• What are the primary hosts in this landscape?
• How can we manage the landscape to make the pest less successful?
• What is the life cycle of the pest?
• How/where does it reproduce?
• At which stage of the life cycle are we likely to get the best control?
• Are there different strategies based on life cycle stage?

Answering these questions will help you choose appropriate control methods whether cultural, mechanical, biological, or chemical. Remember to always keep good records and modify your plan as needed.
For more information visit https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_pest_management

UF/IFAS Extension Bay County Horticulture Agent
B.S. Horticulture, Auburn University
M.S. Entomology, University of Florida