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Ukiah Unified School District Hosts Pest Seminar April 10-11


             The seminar is open to school facilities personnel, as well as professional pest exterminators of all experience levels. The seminar will emphasize preventative pest management and IPM in daily practice, and will feature hands-on demonstrations in cockroach and gopher management by University of California Cooperative Extension advisors.

Last year, the UUSD began working with State scientists and Dr. Andrew Sutherland from UC Cooperative Extension to manage a Turkestan cockroach infestation at Ukiah High School, after the cockroaches—a species not previously seen this far north in California—did not respond to traditional pest management strategies. According to DPR scientist Ashley Freeman, UUSD Director of Maintenance, Operations and Transportation Gabe Sherman and his team “did a fantastic job and followed our recommendations to a T, resulting in a dramatic decrease in the cockroach population.”

During winter, the cockroaches go into diapause, a hibernation-like state, but the warm weather in spring brings them back to a more active life. Freeman said, “I expect we’ll see an increase in cockroaches over the next month or so, but it won’t be on the scale it was before.” She expressed confidence that the work Sherman and his team did last year to fill exterior cracks, crevices and expansion joints; and their knowledge of ongoing IPM will allow them to keep the cockroach population under control.

Freeman’s work in Ukiah also included meeting with students to educate them about how cockroaches live and breed in rural and urban settings. Freeman and Sutherland visited Ukiah High School science teacher Dean Vickers’ classroom last November to explain the connection between abatement efforts and reducing the cockroach population, and the scientists hoped to ignite a passion for careers in science. As a result, the class undertook a research project to investigate the effectiveness of non-toxic, plant-based strategies to attract and repel the cockroaches and lure them into traps. The project received high marks at the UUSD science fair and will compete in the Mendocino County Science Fair, which is this Saturday, March 18 at Mendocino College, open to the public from 1:00 – 3:30 pm.

The project is an “inquiry-based learning tool designed to support California’s next-generation Common Core standards,” according to their science fair materials. The students are field-testing an Urban Ecology curriculum, which will provide data on which to base online laboratory activities, so the experiments can be viewed worldwide as they happen.

Freeman is impressed with the students’ work and has invited them to join IPM professionals at the seminar in April.

Those interested in attending the IPM seminar should contact Kippi Dayton at The seminar will take place at Ukiah High School’s Little Theatre located at 1000 Low Gap Road in Ukiah. Registration is limited, so Dayton recommends registering early.