Safe and effective pest management necessitates the need for ongoing research in the homes and grounds program area. Progressive programs will come from such areas as urban pest management, waste management, water quality and conservation, and improved diet and nutrition. The strength and vitality of any Homes and Grounds effort will be dependent on the ability to focus on the process of delivering educational programs based on county and regional needs and appropriate university research support. Through the Community IPM program we make information available to schools, school administrators, and other municipalities on pests and pest management.
Insect diagnosis provides an important service for the needs of homeowners and the pest management industry alike. We continue to provide an excellent diagnostic service by providing accurate identification and unbiased pest management options. Efforts are directed toward the development of educational materials and to the training of local resource people in topics of entomology that will be useful for those working directly with consumer audiences. Information on the identification of common insect pest problems, and on the possible solutions for these problems, emphasizing least toxic approaches is provided through university publications and a fact sheet series. Extension teaching, both with the Master Gardener training and other outreach programs continues to expand. Training is provided in basic entomology, household pests, ornamentals and vegetable garden insects, both pests and beneficials. Timely information is also provided for the media.
The youth entomology program (through 4-H youth development) has provided a connection to science for young people. Entomology is made more visible by our participation in this effort, and it has led to some young people choosing a career in entomology. Subject matter material has centered around insect biodiversity looking at making an insect collection, and on learning about insects by studying them up close and rearing or working with living insects. There is a current emphasis on Science and Technology in the youth development area, and also on making more of our materials available to schools, afterschool programs, and other non-formal educational programs. Through conferences and meetings, partnerships are being formed and information is disseminated to these audiences.