The GreenBug Education Program is an exciting new addition to our Home and Garden Integrated Pest Management Program, both of which seek to introduce and familiarize Maine residents with the principles and practices of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). IPM is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest control that relies on a combination of practices to prevent anticipated pest problems and manage existing pest issues through the most economical and ecologically sound measures. Pest management in and around Maine homes can be an immense challenge as it involves both the structural and landscape features of a property, as well as the variability of Maine’s climate. The Home and Garden IPM Program provides a flexible system for managing pests that is adaptable to any environment in Maine.
According to the Maine Board of Pesticides Control, from 1995 to 2001, the weight of pesticides brought into Maine for sale to homeowners more than doubled, from 800,000 to 1.8 million pounds, doubled again by 2005 to 3.6 million pounds, increased to 6.2 million pounds in 2007, and has continued to steadily increase. In order to ensure these pesticides are used in a safe, effective, and judicious manner, the ‘greenbug’ component of our Home and Garden IPM Program will provide educational outreach to Maine homeowners when purchasing pest management products.
Participating Retailers–in partnership with our GreenBug Education Program–are voluntarily charging an extra 20 cents per consumer-packaged pesticide product, with the Board of Pesticides Control providing UPC codes for qualifying products, if needed. The generated funds will then be given as tax deductible charitable donations to the Home and Garden IPM Program and be used to develop and distribute educational materials regarding appropriate and effective pest management strategies.
In order to emphasize the commitment to environmentally friendly pest management options, the Program’s signature GreenBug symbol, in conjunction with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension logo, indicates that the retailer is a participant in the Home and Garden IPM Program. To aid in the distribution of educational materials, retail stores have the option to display small Home and Garden IPM information centers. These information centers provide shoppers access to a variety of informational pest identification cards. The cards contain color photographs of pests as well as pertinent biological facts and management strategies. Training for retail store employees can also be provided if requested, on an as-needed basis, in order to ensure proper usage of educational materials and familiarity with pesticide products.
Some of the pest ID and informational cards that are part of our GreenBug Education program. These and other cards are available at the garden stores with whom we are partnering.
Retailer participation in this collaborative effort provides educational outreach onsite as well as through a variety of other outlets. As a result of consumer exposure to information provided at retail stores, shoppers with questions regarding pest identification and management are subsequently directed to the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Insect and Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab. In addition to the retail stores and the diagnostic lab, pest management information will be distributed through telephone hotlines and our Home and Garden IPM website, which strives to provide people with an easy to use resource for pest identification and pertinent management strategies. The combined efforts provided by the Home and Garden IPM Program and participating retail partners puts university research at the fingertips of people in every corner of Maine.
Cooperating GreenBug Education Program Retailers:
- Allen, Sterling & Lothrop
- Broadway Gardens, Greenhouses and Garden Center
- D.R. Struck, Landscape Nursery
- Gammon’s Garden Center
- Longfellow’s Greenhouses
- O’Donal’s Nursery
- Provencher’s Landscaping, Nursery, Home & Garden Shoppe