Although each action is independent of the other, they are an integral part of an effort to implement and educate the public in Integrated Pest Management.
New York, Suffolk County Long Island. Here the population is 1,419,369, equaling that of 912 persons per 1,556.3 miles. The median household income in 1999 was $65,288 with the median cost of a home being $185,200. While Suffolk County is the leading agricultural community in New York State, much of the farm land is being developed into housing and business communities in order to support it's rapid growth.
As Long Island continues in its development whirlwind, trends in living, health, and environmental consciousness have begun to take form. High incidents of cancer, protection of the groundwater, and farmland preservation efforts are examples of emerging public awareness campaigns. In an answer to its constituents, Suffolk County Legislation followed the example of other communities and developed a law reducing pesticide usage.
In 1999, Suffolk County Legislation passed Suffolk County Code Chapter 380 - Pest Control. Effective on January 1, 2000, this bill phases out the use of pesticides on County owned properties and in County buildings by July 1, 2003.
On July 1 2003, no County department or agency, or any pesticide applicator employed by the County or agency as a contractor or subcontractor for pest control purposes, shall apply any pesticide on County property (as owner or tenant), except as provided for in section 380-3, Exemptions.
In Section 380-3 the exemptions in the law include:
In accordance to the Law, the Suffolk County Community Advisory Committee (CAC) has been created by Legislature to oversee the implementation of County Code Chapter 380 by the County Department of Health Services. The members of the CAC include representatives chosen by Legislation from with in the following representations.
The CAC has developed a comprehensive Integrated Pest Management Program focused on improving education, sanitation, maintenance, and repair efforts throughout County owned buildings and properties. Suffolk County Cornell Cooperative Extension, in collaboration with the CAC, offers education and training in pest management practices to all levels and departments of county staff.
Cornell Cooperative Extension's Suffolk County Pest Management Program is not a regulatory agency, but an educational resource. Cornell Cooperative Extension's core mission is outreach, "enabling people to improve their lives and communities through partnerships that put experience and research knowledge to work."
The CAC in collaboration with Cornell Cooperative Extension recognizes that the miles of public beaches, 37,000 acres of parkland, and three County golf courses all require sustainable pest management alternatives. Suffolk County owns or leases over 300 buildings, serving in excess of 3 million visitors annually.
Suffolk County is faced with formidable challenges as we transition to non-toxic alternatives. For compliance to be a success, we must consider the underlying causes of infestation. Implementation of common sense measures can decrease our reliance on pesticides and enhance their efficacy when deemed critical for human health.
Negative opinions against pesticide use are the public outcry, however, it is best to understand the motivations of people causing them to react. We concerned about protecting our environment and its resources, as well as the health of our communities. If the Community as a whole works in a positive, proactive manner then the reality of keeping pests and pesticides to a minimum becomes more achievable. This creates a "win, win" situation in which County Legislators, Department Heads, Environmentalist and constituents progress towards accomplishing the goal of least-toxic pest management.
Educate. Education and Outreach is Key! Cornell Cooperative Extension's outreach efforts include the development of an educational package centered on the theme "Spotlight on Pests". Posters, videos, educational brochures, and face-to-face intervention have enlightened many County employees to the theme "Clean up, Close up, Common Sense" methods of managing pests.
Communicate. Establish effective communication between building/ site occupants and the facility managers. A Pest Communication Log Book is an effective and efficient tool for establishing interaction between employees, clients, and management. The Log Book can be especially useful for time-on-task studies and record maintenance. Another idea is to assign an individual at the site to be the "pest management coordinator". This person may be responsible maintain the Pest Communication Log Book.
Extension offers on-site training to building occupants and management in the implementation of the Law and strategies to reduce pests in and around their workplace.
Facilitate. Promote Pest Management in the light of being environmentally sound and health conscience. Many schools seek representatives for program based on future careers for youth or ecology based programming. Be a visible part in the community, by setting an example of improving the quality of life via a cleaner environment.
The CAC in collaboration with Cornell Cooperative Extension is developing a promotional newsletter highlighting the efforts made by Suffolk County and their efforts to seek alternatives in order to reduce the use of pesticides. This newsletter will be widely distributed to environmental groups, legislation, county department heads, and county staff.
Some noteworthy IPM efforts/projects conducted throughout the County in collaboration with Cornell Cooperative Extension through grant funding:
Understanding that State and County laws will continue to be passed limiting the products in the "toolbox" for pest management, the challenge must be made and strategies modified.
A majority of Suffolk County and Cornell's Pest Management Program is problem solving. We spotlight difficult pest issues, suggest changes, and work towards modifying people's behaviors through education. Often we research and demonstrate new products and methods, and provide the public and industry with that information.
Future objectives include educational outreach of IPM in schools. Children because of their size and growth rate, possess the greatest risk concerning pesticide accumulation. It is impertinent to educate IPM to school administrators, superintendents of buildings and grounds, teachers, and the children themselves. Early intervention to teach children the balance of nature and protection of the environment is well worth the investment. The cliché "Today's youth is tomorrow's future" is all too true.
Suffolk County Code. Article I Pest Control Policy. Adopted 10-5-1999 by L.L. No. 34-1999
Last updated November 8, 2020