What is World Pest Day?

Today, June 6th, is National World Pest Day! World Pest Day was first celebrated on June 6, 2017 and has since become an annual event. The day is recognized to bring awareness to the problems pests can cause and the importance of pest control. It also encourages the support of responsible pest control strategies including utilization of trained professionals to achieve pest management goals.

What is a pest?

Bidens alba
Spanish needle, Bidens alba. Photo credit: Shaun Winterton, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org

A pest is any organism that causes harms to humans or their property. Pests can present human or animal health risks. Some pests might damage the plants that we like. For example, they might feed on our crops and lead to lowered yields in food production. Or, they could damage ornamental plants like the turf in our yard or the palm trees alongside the highway. Many different organisms are pests such as insects, fungi, rodents, ticks, weeds, and many others.

We call something a pest when it causes some kind of problem. One organism might be considered a pest in one scenario, but not a pest in others. For example, Spanish needle (Bidens alba) is native plant in Florida’s natural areas. It has a small white flower that is often visited by pollinators. However, it is sometimes considered a pest when it pops up in turf, landscaping beds, on farms, or other areas where it is not wanted.

What is pest control?

Pest control is the management of things we consider a pest. In the state of Florida, you need a pesticide license to apply pesticides commercially or use restricted use pesticides. This is regulated within the state by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). There are many different types of licenses depending on what job you are doing or where you are applying pesticides. For more information on licensing, visit our Pesticide Applicator Training and Testing Webpage.

Those who hold a pesticide license are required to pass a knowledge-based exam to obtain their license. Depending on the license, it will last for 1-4 years before it expires. Then, they are required to spend a certain number of hours in training classes to renew their license. This means that licensed individuals keep learning and stay up to date on the latest and greatest technology.

What services does UF/IFAS Extension Seminole County offer for licensed professionals?

At UF/IFAS Extension Seminole County, we offer many services to help our license professions. Several times per month, we proctor the pesticide licensing exams at our office. We also offer classes a few times per year to help prepare people to take their licensing exams. Additionally, we offer a wide variety of classes, workshops and webinars that offer license holders Continuing Education Units (CEUs).

Annually at our Seminole County Extension Office, we aim to offer:

  • Monthly Core exam reviews and CEU opportunities online
  • Landscape University (6 Weeks of Webinars with lots of CEUs) January through February
  • Ornamental and Turf Exam Reviews and CEU opportunities in March and December
  • Private Ag Exam Reviews and CEU opportunities in March and December
  • Limited Commercial Landscape Maintenance (LCLM) (6 HOUR) Exam Review and CEUs in May and November
  • Limited Lawn and Ornamental (LCLM) (6 HOUR) Exam Review and CEUs in May and November
  • Invasive Species CEU workshops and webinars in July and October
  • Fruit production webinars (with CEUs) in the late summer to fall
  • Regularly offered fertilizer trainings and CEU webinars
  • Many other CEU classes and webinars throughout the year! Check our Eventbrite page and Facebook for the most up to date offerings. 

We highly recommend planning ahead to get your CEU credits before your license expires. Classes are not always available during the time you need them. Licenses require between 4-20 CEUs depending on which license you have. If your license expires tomorrow, it will be very challenging to get all your CEUs done. Some on-demand online CEU classes are available, but you may still need additional CEUs to meet your license requirements. For information on how many CEUs you need, visit this CEU guide.

Do you have pest related questions?

  • For general gardening, landscaping, and household pest questions, please reach out to our Master Gardener Volunteers at 407-665-5550 or mastergardener@seminolecountyfl.gov. 
  • For pesticide licensing, CEU, or commercial agriculture related questions, please reach out to Morgan Pinkerton at 407-665-5554 or morgan0402@ufl.edu.

Posted: June 6, 2022

Source: UF/IFAS Alert – https://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/

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