One of our staff attended an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) training hosted by the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM). It was a day packed with information on safe and effective methods to manage pests in the garden (like aphids and snails), and home (ants, termites, etc.) One exciting outcome of the event is that the Ecology Center has been loaned a UC IPM Touch Screen Kiosk. This device assists users with pest identification and management information, in both English and Spanish. Illustrated with color photos, it is a helpful tool for researching your pest concerns, and making least-toxic pest control decisions. One staffer was able to diagnose a whitefly infestation on her Meyer lemon tree with the help of the kiosk. She liked the intuitive, easy-to-use layout of the kiosk, which will be at the Ecology Center for the next couple of months. The kiosk can print out any information you find useful to take home. We also have least-toxic pest control resources in our Library, including the book Common-Sense Pest Control, and free fact sheets on ant control and rodent control.
We focus on least-toxic pest control because the impulse to apply poisons may not be the most effective way to control pests and can do more harm than good. Take the example of rodents: poison may eliminate one generation, but without addressing rodent access to food, they will return. Additionally, poisons impact the entire ecosystem, with many species (including pets and humans) participating in a food chain in dense, urban neighborhoods. A poisoned rodent could become prey for a pet dog or cat, or a raptor or owl. Many of these animals are tragically killed by hunting poisoned prey, or being tempted by poison bait. Pests are prevalent in our urban neighborhoods, with problem critters arriving seasonally and spreading when uncontrolled – but less toxic approaches are more effective because they address causes as well as symptoms of pest problems.
Looking for more sustainable living resources? Our Library is available for anyone to use any time we are open: Tuesday-Sunday 11am-6pm. Current Ecology Center members can check out books and DVDs. We also house the BASIL seed lending library, and a retail Store full of products. The Store carries many recommended least-toxic controls for common home and garden pests, and other items selected for their beauty, utility, quality, and sustainability.
[Photo credit: Matthew Townsend on Flickr]