Invasive or Non-native? What’s the difference?

Invasive plant species have been a hot topic in recent months. Everything from wild mustard to milfoil. But it wasn’t until I was at a city commission meeting with my daughter a few months ago that I realized that non-native seems to have become synonymous with invasive: there was some construction work that needed to be done and the contractor was wanting to have 60 year old Chinese Elm trees removed citing them as invasive.

As I was watching these city commissioners nod their heads in agreement while discussing the removal of these big beautiful trees I realized than many if not all of the commissioners weren’t aware of the difference between invasive plants and non-native plants.

So what is the difference between invasive plant species and non-native plant species? According to the Michigan Invasive Species home page, “An invasive species is one that is not native and whose introduction causes harm, or is likely to cause harm to Michigan’s economy, environment, or human health.”

The key words here are “causes harm.”

In Michigan, an invasive species that is getting a lot of attention right now is garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolate). Garlic mustard thrives in wooded areas and can tolerate deep shade, partly because it emerges and blooms before trees develop leaves in the spring. It’s choking out the native plants causing harm to the ecosystem.

Another invasive that’s getting a lot of attention is giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum). The sap of the giant hogweed can cause a severe skin reaction that can cause the skin to blister when exposed to the sun. This invasive plant causes harm to humans.

Both of these plants are invasive.

However, let’s look at a well-known landscape plant – the hosta. Hostas are native to Asia. They have become a very popular plant for shaded plantings. They are non-native, but not invasive. Another example is purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) which is a popular plant for sunny locations and even has some medicinal properties. And while both of these examples are spreaders, they are not invaders as they cause no harm to surrounding ecosystems.

The short version is to remember that non-native does not equal invasive, select plants for the landscape that are best suited to each planting site, and consult your state’s invasive plant species list before planting.

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Hope in the Fight Against the Spotted Lanternfly

Agricultural producers in Pennsylvania and surrounding states have been battling the Spotted Lanternfly since 2014. Management and control of this invasive species has been a major feat in the United States, and farmers in uninfected areas live with the fear that these hard to deal with bugs may move into their areas.

Since the first invasion of Spotted Lanternflies five years ago, scientists have been actively studying the creature and looking for ways to control them, however, results have been largely disappointing, and the lanternflies continue to spread.

These particular bugs have a highly varied diet, as they are able to subsist on over 70 plant species. They also are hard to keep contained to one area, as they will lay their eggs on any available surface. This leads to easy transmission from area to area, and despite quarantine efforts the lanternflies can now be found in five states throughout the northeastern United States.

However, according to Popular Science, researchers at Cornell University may have had a breakthrough recently. Two particular species of fungi, Batkoa major and Beauveria bassiana, may be farmer’s best hope for controlling Spotted Lanternfly populations.

The fungi seem to bog down the lanternflies—when infected with Batkoa major, the overgrowth of the fungus adheres the Spotted Lanternflies to trunks of trees, and when infected with Beauveria bassiana, the lanternflies are often found dead on the ground.

Scientists were at first baffled when agricultural officials began finding dead lanternflies covered with white fuzz.  DNA and culture tests were run on the fuzz, and it was found to be these fungi. Since these initial findings, scientists have begun looking into the possibility of utilizing one or both fungi as part of a pest management strategy to control the Spotted Lanternfly in other areas.

While more research must still be conducted, scientists are hopeful that these fungi will help reduce populations of the Spotted Lanternfly.

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New Class for Delaware Pesticide Applicators

Check out this snippet from our new Delaware approved course-Respiratory Protection:

“Workers who need personal protective equipment are often very good at wearing types such as gloves, hard hats, hearing protection, etc, but can neglect respiratory protection. This is because while other hazards such as dropping a cement block on your foot or slicing your hand open are immediately noticeable in their damage, the damage done to your lungs from inhaling hazardous chemicals on a repeated, consistent basis is not immediately obvious. This type of hazard is known as a chronic safety hazard, which occurs over time, usually 20 to 30 years, before it becomes apparent. OSHA has its own standard dedicated to respiratory protection because this is such a large hazard to the health of workers.

There are three parts to the respiratory standard:

  • being trained on the respirator you are wearing on the job site
  • being approved to wear a respirator
  • must be fit tested

While the intention is good when employers hand out respirators to employees for job safety, it doesn't do much good if the employees are not trained on their proper use and care. Knowing how to wear the respirator correctly and keeping it in working order is critical.

Not everyone can wear a respirator. An MEQ, or medical questionnaire, must be filled out once a year and submitted to a doctor or a medical professional who can approve you to wear the respirator. This approval must be on file and filled out on work time. Since it contains your personal medical information, it must also be in a sealed file so your employer does not see what it contains. Most of the time workers can be approved to wear a respirator simply by filling out the MEQ, but sometimes the doctor will want to see them in person. If this is necessary, the worker will take a pulmonary test, which measures how well their lungs can handle the strain of wearing a respirator.

Fit testing is extremely important and must be performed once a year for each specific mask that you wear. Fit testing is different from a fit check, which is done every time you put your respirator on. When you have your respirator fit tested, you are making sure it is properly fitted to your face so you don't have a false sense of security when around respiratory hazards. A mask that is too loose or too tight will cause gaps to interrupt the seal, allowing those hazards to bypass the mask and defeating the purpose of wearing a respirator. There are two types of fit tests performed: quantitative and qualitative. The quantitative fit test measures the challenge agent outside the mask, and how much of the challenge agent is inside the mask. The qualitative measures the quality of challenge agent outside the mask, and is more common than the quantitative. Banana oil, Bitrex, or stannic chloride are all examples of challenge agents used in a qualitative fit test.

Fit tests should also be performed if there are significant changes to the shape of your face through things like gastric bypass surgery, scarring, or the removal of teeth.”

The sample text above is part of our brand-new two-part course on respirator safety, which is presented in full HD Video and is available 24/7 from the convenience of your computer or mobile device. Applicators with category 1C, 03, 04, and 7C endorsements can earn 1 credit with this course toward their continuing education requirements.

Click here to visit our Delaware Pesticide Applicator page and get your CE credits today!

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Annual Bluegrass Resistance Management

Check out this snippet from our new course-Annual Bluegrass Resistance Management:

“Poa annua is commonly known as annual bluegrass in North America, but to much of Europe it is known as annual meadow-grass. In the United States, it is colloquially often called Poa which is its genus. The genus Poa includes approximately 500 species.

Common examples include: Poa pratensis or Kentucky bluegrass (also known as smooth meadow-grass); Poa trivialis or “Poa triv”, which was once commonly used to overseed greens of the southeast and is also known as rough-stalk bluegrass or rough meadow-grass. Annual bluegrass is thought to have originated from a hybrid of Poa infirma (weak bluegrass) and Poa supina (creeping meadow-grass) that occurred approximately 2.5 million years ago in the interglacial ice ages of Europe.

Annual bluegrass is widespread around the world. Its presence has been observed on all continents, including Antarctica; though, it is most prominent in temperate climates.

Annual bluegrass is an annual comprised of numerous biotypes or “populations” – many of which are capable of perenniating, meaning that they may exist in a vegetative state throughout the year, all along producing viable seed. Though perennials are much less common than the annual biotypes, they tend to occur in frequently mown or grazed scenarios in temperate climates with adequate year round moisture.

Annual bluegrass is a common constituent of most maintained turf areas around the world. It is often considered a weed, but it is also propagated as a desired turf species. In fact, some of the most lauded golf greens in the world are composed of annual bluegrass, including: Pebble Beach, Oakmont, and the more recently converted Chambers Bay.”

The sample text above is part of our brand-new course on Annual Bluegrass Resistance Management. Annual bluegrass has historically been an important weed of many, if not most, commodity and specialty crops. The extensive reliance upon herbicides as the primary means of control has led to an almost overwhelming presence of herbicide resistance. There are very few commonly utilized herbicides that annual bluegrass has not evolved resistance to – albeit often in isolated or unique populations. However, the worrying trend is that for some turf scenarios, we no longer have effective chemical means of controlling annual bluegrass. This course will discuss the currently reported cases of annual bluegrass resistance to various herbicides and how to develop an effective herbicide program.

After completing this course participants will be able to:

  • Discuss herbicide resistance best management practices
  • Distinguish between the different classes of herbicides and their different sites of action
  • Describe how herbicide resistance is developed and how it can be avoided

This course is presented in full HD Video and is available 24/7 from the convenience of your computer or mobile device. Head to your state’s course offering page and get started on your continuing education today!


Online Pesticide Professional Continuing Education

State-approved video continuing education courses are available 24/7.

 

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Home Lawn and Landscape Management

The lawn and landscape are essential elements in any residential situation. Time and money are invested in the development, installation and upkeeping of the landscaping and the turf. When not installed or managed properly that investment can be perceived as a waste as the lawn and landscape do not fulfill their purpose.

Do you know the essentials of designing a landscape that is aesthetically pleasing and makes weed control easier? Are you familiar with key factors for installing and establishing a functional home lawn?

If not, then Certified Training Institute has a new course to meet your continuing education requirements as well as help you gain an understanding of these important topics. This course will cover key design elements that will help you create a low maintenance landscape for your client.

The course covers a range of topics including:

Weed Management Strategies for the Landscape-

  • Landscape Weed Management
  • Pre-emergence herbicides for landscapes
  • Selective herbicides for landscapes

Home Lawn Management-

  • Roles of a lawn
  • Selecting a grass species: Key questions
  • Global turf types
  • Growth cycles
  • Warm or cool season turf?
  • Turf identification
  • Use of cool-season grasses in warm-season climates
  • Considerations for lawn establishment
  • Proper fertilization
  • Soil testing
  • …and many more!

This course is presented in full HD Video and is available 24/7 from the convenience of your computer or mobile device. Head to your state’s course offering page and get started on your continuing education today!


Online Pesticide Professional Continuing Education

State-approved video continuing education courses are available 24/7.

 

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Certified Crop Adviser Recertification FAQ

Everything you need to know to renew your Certified Crop Adviser Certification.

Once I become a Certified Crop Adviser, how do I maintain my certification?

  1. Earn 40 hours of continuing education units every 2 years by December 31st.
  2. Pay an annual renewal fee

Are your continuing education courses approved for CCA CEU Credit by the American Society of Agronomy?

Yes, many of our courses are approved by the American Society of Agronomy Board. On the state pages, the course description will say “Approved for Certified Crop Adviser Credit”.

As a Certified Crop Adviser, am I required to take continuing education units in certain areas or topics?

Yes, the continuing education units you complete must fall within certain topic guidelines. The topic breakdown is as follows:

In each two year cycle, a CCA must complete a minimum of 5 CEUs in each of the 4 categories, the categories are: Nutrient Management, Soil and Water Management, Pest Management, and Crop Management.

At least 20 of the 40 total CEUs must be board approved.

Can I use your courses for credit for CCA continuing education requirements as well as my state licensing re-certification requirements?

Yes, absolutely! Any course that is approved for Certified Crop Adviser Credit can also be used for state pesticide applicator continuing education credits.


Online Certified Crop Adviser & Pesticide Professional Continuing Education

State-approved video continuing education courses are available 24/7

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Georgia Pesticide Applicators: Check Out Our New Course Bundle!

Ornamental and turf pesticide applicators are required to complete 10 credits of continuing education every five-year renewal cycle. In order to make things simple for you, Certified Training Institute has put together a new course bundle for ornamental & turf applicators:

The new Ornamental & Turf Bundle contains 10 credits of category 24 training. Topics include management strategies for IPM tactics for turf and ornamental management, management of pests common to ornamental and turf, and pesticide application equipment and calibration for both ornamental and turf.

BUNDLE CONTENTS:

  • IPM for Ornamental Plant Pest Management – 1 credit
  • Common Ornamental Plant Pests – 3 credits
  • Ornamental Pesticide Application Equipment and Calibration – 1 credit
  • IPM for Turf Management – 1 credit
  • Common Turfgrass Weeds – 1 credit
  • Turfgrass Disease, Insect, and Vertebrate Pests – 1 credit
  • Cultural Practices for Turf Management – 1 credit
  • Application Equipment and Calibration – 1 credit

The bundle is conveniently priced at $129, which saves you $34 over a la carte options for the same courses.

The best part? Being able to take the courses at your own pace, wherever you want! Whether at home or out on the town, our mobile friendly platform allows you to complete courses on your schedule: with 24/7 access and helpful customer service representatives waiting to provide you with any assistance needed, completing your continuing education has never been easier!

We also have bundles ready to go to satisfy requirements for any category:

Georgia Pesticide Safety Bundle (6 credits in all categories): $99

Georgia Agricultural Plant Bundle (10 credits in category 21): $129

Georgia Right of Way Bundle (6 credits in category 27): $99

Check them out today and get your CE done on your terms!

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Banned Pesticide Harms Bald Eagles in Maryland

According to an article by the Baltimore Sun, 25 bald eagles have been poisoned in Maryland’s Delmarva Peninsula in the last 3 years, 7 alone since March 1st of this year.

The cause? A banned pesticide called carbofuran, which was previously sold in the U.S. under the trade name Furadan.

Carbofuran was first banned by the EPA in granular form in the early 90’s due to links to widespread bird deaths, and finally banned in any form in 2009 due to concerns that there was no safe tolerance levels for crops.

Lab testing has confirmed the eagles’ deaths by this banned chemical. Authorities believe that old stocks of carbofuran are being used to kill vertebrate farm pests, which then in turn poison the eagles and other birds who scavenge from the poisoned carrion. Maryland Natural Resources Police are hard pressed to say whether the eagle deaths were caused unwittingly or intentionally. However, federal pesticide laws entirely restrict the use of any unlicensed or banned pesticide, and such products must be disposed of properly immediately after such restrictions are put in place.

Whether the deaths were purposeful or not, killing our nation’s bird by any means results in paying a hefty price: penalties enforced by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act carry fines of up to $250,000 or two years in prison.

Authorities in Maryland are looking for anyone with information regarding the use of carbofuran to come forward – they have offered a $10,000 reward for information and the American Bird Conservancy has pledged to add $5,000 to the reward as well.

From the Baltimore Sun: “Anyone with information about the poisonings is asked to contact Maryland Wildlife Crime Stoppers by calling or texting 443-433-4112, emailing [email protected], or reporting violations using the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ free mobile app.”

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Utah Pollinator Stewardship

Utah pesticide applicators: pollinator stewardship is a hot topic in your state right now!

Check out the following snippets from our course on pollinator stewardship, and then click here to find the whole course (it is fully Utah state approved and counts as 1 CEU)!

 The primary concern plaguing the beekeeping industry is the decline of honey bees around the world. Colony collapse disorder (CCD) is the leading cause behind this steady decline in honey bee numbers. There are a number of different factors affecting this decline. It is important to know the best practices concerning honeybee stewardship.”

“Minimize Pesticide Risk for Pollinators: Whether applying pesticides in the home garden or in a commercial setting, many of the chemical pesticides used to control insects, fungal disease, and even weeds can hurt non-target pollinating insects, such as bees and butterflies. Ensure your ability to effectively and efficiently apply pesticides without harming beneficial insects.”

As applicators, it is important that to be aware and analyze the following prior to every pesticide application:

  • Understand the importance of pollinators in agriculture and why protecting native pollinators is of great concern.
  • Be aware of the federal and state enforcement and compliance procedures as related to pollinator safety and alternatives to hard chemicals.
  • Identify the factors that contribute to colony collapse disorder in relation to the current application.
  • Recognize the importance of beekeeper/grower communication, and communicate with local beekeepers who may be affected whenever possible.

For additional resource in relation to the topic of pollinator stewardship, check out CTI’s other course Balancing Pest Management and Pollinator Stewardship (fully state approved and counts as 2 CEUs!). The Utah Department of Agriculture has some helpful resources as well which can be found here.

Careful analysis of pesticide application sites and surrounding areas can ensure the health of pollinators in our environments for years to come. Make sure you are doing your part AND earn CEUs with Certified Training Institute today!

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Mosquito Birth Control for Disease Prevention

Since the first outbreak of Zika in the United States in 2016, researches have been scrambling to find measures to prevent further spread of the disease. There are currently no approved vaccines or drugs for Zika, and so efforts have been concentrated on controlling the mosquito population that carries the disease: Aedes aegypti.

Ae. Aegypti, however, have some resistance to insecticides, which combined with concerns related to pesticide drift and environmental impact, researches have had to look out of the box to find solutions.

The City of South Miami, Miami Dade County, Clarke Mosquito Control Services, and MosquitoMate came together and in early 2018 began releasing Wolbachia-infected Ae. Aegypti male mosquitoes into an area of South Miami.

Wolbachia is a bacteria which naturally affects 60% of the world’s insect species already. This bacteria, when present in mosquitoes, causes egg hatch failure. Scientists have infected male Ae. Aegypti and when they mate with females, the eggs simply do not hatch. This simple bacteria has the remarkable effect of reducing populations of Zika infected mosquitoes.

According to EntymologyToday.org, study findings recently published in the Journal of Medical Entomology have been positive: there has been more than a 75% reduction in females since the project began. While migration has played a mitigating effect, researchers are positive that expanding the area where the infected males are released will result in even more favorable results.

To learn more about other types of mosquito control and get continuing education credit for your state, be sure to visit Certified Training Institute today!

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