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UNCE/NDOA offer First Detector Training Workshop

Posted 4/20/2012

Professional and hobbyist gardeners can learn to identify and eliminate invasive pests

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and the Nevada Department of Agriculture will present a First Detector Training Workshop May 2 in Sparks. Plant professionals and backyard gardeners can attend this free event, which starts 9 a.m. at 405 S. 21st Street.

Extension Horticulture Specialist Heidi Kratsch said the information presented at the event will help Nevadans identify early threats from invasive insects and disease-carrying organisms that can damage Nevada’s plants.

"This is about empowering professionals and backyard gardeners to be aware of, and on the lookout for, pests and diseases that are not currently in our state but are a big problem in neighboring states," she said. "It’s like a citizen alert. The more people who are trained in what to look for, the quicker we can tackle these potential outbreaks."

A good example is the Japanese beetle, which wreaked havoc on ornamental and fruit trees, lawns and gardens in the eastern United States but was eradicated in California thanks to early detection and control efforts. The beetle could have had a devastating effect in Nevada, which has thousands of maples, elms and apple trees that serve as attractive, shade-or fruit-bearing trees.

With First Detector Training, Nevada citizens and professionals can identify and eliminate invasive beetles before they do any harm. In 2006, Utah Master Gardeners and Extension professionals who underwent First Detector Training managed to detect invading Japanese beetles before they could do serious damage. The state predicts it will eradicate the beetle before the end of this year.

"They did a good job simply because those Master Gardeners knew how to identify pests," Kratsch said.

Many alien ornamental plants are brought over the Nevada-California border, potentially playing host to a traveling egg, spore or insect that could do harm to Nevada’s native and ornamental plants.

"It’s not unrealistic to think anything like this could come into our state from California or any other place in the country," Kratsch said. "We have to be very vigilant."

The one-day class runs from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The event is free to the public, and lunch is BYO. Attendees will receive a First Detector Certificate of Completion and enrollment in the National Plant Diagnostic Network. Professional pesticide applicators and certified arborists will receive 4 general CEUs if they bring their CEU card to the class.

To register, contact Ashley Andrews at 775-784-4848 or by email at andrews@unce.unr.edu. Registration must be received no later than April 25, and early registration is encouraged because seats fill up fast.

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