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2010 Annual Report

UC Statewide IPM Program

retail nurseriesRetail employees frequently advise customers about how to manage pests. Photo by K. Windbiel-Rojas

Retail nurseries, garden centers seek IPM information


  • Consumers often ask retail and garden center employees for pest control advice.
  • Garden center managers are willing to invest in employee training about IPM and pest identification.
  • UC IPM provides online and hands-on training for employees.
  • A new industry committee is advising the UC IPM Urban Program on priorities for retail outreach.

During the next two years, UC IPM will be working closely with retailers and their employees to better inform shoppers about IPM options.

Employees who sell pesticides and garden supplies in retail stores are a key source of pest information for many California consumers. They are in an ideal situation to educate the public about IPM and environmentally sound pest management solutions.

To prepare for this project, UC IPM staff surveyed retail garden centers and nurseries to assess their information and training needs. Seventy-one store managers or owners participated in the survey, representing 77% of retailers in Contra Costa, Marin, and Sacramento counties. Despite reduced staff and a poor economy, managers were very enthusiastic about a UC training program.

  • More than 91% of the managers said they would send an employee to a 4- to 6-hour training session to learn about IPM tools and pest identification.
  • They were especially interested in learning about alternatives to pesticides as well as organic products and less toxic pesticides.
  • Only 52% of the stores currently offer formal or scheduled training on pests or pesticides for employees.
  • Currently, pesticide companies or distributors conduct most of the training.

UC IPM already offers online training for retail employees on its Web site. For 2011, the urban team is preparing for new, hands-on training programs at sites in Northern California.

The surveyed stores also expressed a strong interest in newsletters and handouts that could be personalized with their store logo. An advisory committee including retailers, consultants, the California Association of Retail Nurseries and Garden Centers, UC experts, and public agencies has been assembled to advise UC IPM about the retail education program.

A grant from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture is providing funding for the retail-employee outreach program.

UC IPM is also part of a new Pest Management Alliance led by the Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association (BASMAA) and funded by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation to identify and train and certify professional IPM Advocates who will help retailers deliver IPM information to their customers.

Next article >> Pilot training program features UC IPM material

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

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