Friday, January 23, 2015

Chicago Transit Authority to Sterilize Rats for Control

The Chicago Transit Authority plans to test new technology that would make female and male rats infertile, the Chicago Tribune reported. A pilot program is expected to start in the spring, though the CTA is still working out details including negotiating the price with the bait maker and deciding where the traps will be placed, CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said. click here to read original Chicago Tribune article.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Smart Pest Management for Your Garden

IPM is a smart way to approach pest control, especially for your garden. Cascade has been employing various aspects of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for years and we'd like to share it with you to improve your gardening experience and help you avoid relying too much on chemical pesticides. -- First, Identify the pest organism (mites, insects, diseases or maybe even rodents). This usually means that you won't be applying any pesticides ahead of time, anticipating the pest. But that depends on the pest and whether there are other ways to mitigate the impact of that pest organism. So, sometimes you may identify a pest from previous years--a pest insect, for example, that just keeps coming up. In that case you may need to plan ahead and utilize one or more of the following tactics in anticipation of that insect pest. In most other cases you become patient and watch your garden diligently, becoming particularly aware of what's happening to your vegetables, or your shrubs, or your lawn. Gaining a good idea of the various kinds of pest in your area is important an we suggest looiking up our local Extension Agency and Master Gardener resources online.
Try to keep in mind that some pests are agressive and others are slow. Plan around which pests are so aggressive that some least-toxic pesticide may be needed to save your plants and which ones you can use other methods to mitigate. Learing this calls on you to become knowledgable about the various pests taht might attack the plants you're caring for. --- Carefully Select Plants according to how resistant they are to disease and bugs. Some plants have few natural defences. Others may be resistant to pests but only when they get enough sunlight, or water, soil PH, or other nutrients. Also, select the healthiest plant stock when at the nursery! --- Employ sanitation. Sometimes it's helpful to sanitize garden tools. Especially if you've been working with a diseased plant--maybe pruning--it's good to sterize the tool with a 10% chlorine bleach--then allow it to air dry before using the tool(s) on other plants. --- Crop Rotation. This is common place in agriculture but can also be helpful in your backyard garden. Consider roating by plant family as all nightshade plants--peppers, tomatoes and potatoes, for example--may share a common insect or disease pest. --- Weed Management. Starting with a clean seedbed is a must, and can take some planning and work. Using cover crops during winter--such as annual ryegrass--could compete with weeds and kekep them to a minimum. Tuen over the winter cover crop about a month before spring planting. --- Insects and Mites: A first line of defense may be least-toxic approaches such as insecticidal soaps and oils. Many of these are non-toxic to us. Also, consider interspersing certain plants that are insect repellent by nature. Only use other pesticides as a last resort, select those allowed for the plant type (special care for edibles!), read and follow the label directions carefully, and try to use the lowest % and lest amount at first. --- Integrated Pest Mangement for deer or rabbits includes mechanical controls such as fencing. There are "water skunks" that can be attached to the end of your garden hose which have a motion sensor and, when an animal moves nearby, the spray nozel shoots out, scaring the raccoon or bird away.