Dawn Gouge
Dawn Gouge

UA Entomology Prof. Dawn Gouge will speak on reduced-risk management of public health pests at an Arizona Senior Academy lecture beginning at 3:30 p.m. next Thursday (Sept. 26).

In addition to teaching, she supports state and federal agencies concerned with pest-related health issues.  She co-directs a USDA-sponsored regional working group that addresses pest management in schools (with participants from 13 western states), and she’s a member of the Federal Bed Bug Working Group.

In her ASA talk, Gouge will touch on bed bugs because they’re a significant issue today.  She says “They are truly amazing little ectoparasites that are very well adapted to living on and with us.” Indeed, she says, bed bugs have been biting for more than 3,500 years, and they’re not likely to stop.

During the presentation she’ll cover some bed bug basics, ways to reduce the chances of acquiring these unwanted visitors, and effective management options in the event they do arrive in your home or workplace.

In addition to biting people, insects have plagued farmers and gardeners since the dawn of agriculture, and they continue to munch their way through enormous quantities of valuable vegetables every year.   America’s first cut at dealing with bad bugs on an industrial scale was to douse the country side with toxic chemicals, but this approach has significant downsides. Pesticide exposure can trigger a range of human health problems, like autism and Parkinson’s, to say nothing of negative consequences for other links in our now global food chain.

Gouge will discuss integrated pest management (IPM), an alternative to saturating our environment with poisons.  With IPM, pests are controlled by combining biological, physical, and chemical tools in a way that minimizes cost as well as health risks. Whether on a farm, in your home or at school, today’s variety of safe, complementary methods can be used in combination to control insect infestation.

Submitted by Stan Davis, Academy Village Volunteer

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How to Battle Bed Bugs, Other Persistent Pests: Sept. 2013
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