Greetings!

As we shift into summer, the IPM in Health Care Facilities Project is also transitioning. We have a new development to report. We're thrilled to introduce you to Sean Lynch, the new Director of the IPM in Health Care Facilities Project! Sean brings a strong business management perspective to his knowledge of pesticides and safer alternatives, which we know will be a valuable benefit to you. Sean will be reaching out to say hello in the coming weeks.

Contact Sean at sean@mdpestnet.org or call 301-664-4374.

Summer brings a number of outdoor pest pressures. Have you seen Spotted Lanternfly (SLF)? We provide resources about SLF and Penn State's recommendations for effective non-toxic management. This edition highlights strategies to get you off the 'pesticide treadmill' in caring for your grounds and addressing common summer pest problems safely. We're also pleased to note this year is the 10-year anniversary of leading the conversion of Maryland's State House grounds to organic lawncare. A lush and beautiful lawn can be non-toxic – healthier for people and the Bay, as demonstrated by our state!

And don't miss our IPM consultant Joe's seasonal tips for you. Enjoy those summer evenings with family and friends – mosquito-free and pesticide-free, with our tips!

The Project's IPM Toolkit is available online! Check out our many fact sheets, sample policies and guidance, articles, and video library first, when you have a pest problem.
Managing Spotted Lantern Fly Non-toxically
Appropriate Management Steps Do Not Require Chemicals
Spotted lanternfly (SLF) has been making its way into Maryland and may be an alarming new pest in your facility's landscape. It is important to not overreact. SLF is harmless to humans. It is currently considered primarily a nuisance pest in residential landscapes. Death of ornamental and shade trees has not been directly linked to SLF to date. SLF is considered a plant stressor. High infestation levels may reduce photosynthetic activity and energy storage. Don’t attribute all plant health decline to SLF.

Scout landscape and assess levels of SLF
Always scout for spotted lanternfly first before deciding to take action. The diagram below shows the stages of SLF and approximate timing, but times may vary.
Mechanical removal methods
Removal of host most plants, notably the invasive Tree of Heaven, and retaining a few to attract SLF is recommended. Removal of egg cases can be done from late fall to early spring. In Maryland currently, SLF is in its nymph (instar) stage and these can be removed and crushed when found. Cone or circle tree traps are recommended for some trees; sticky bands are also effective but require screening as a wildlife barrier to protect non-target pollinators.

Reduced toxicity insecticidal control
Due to toxicity to people, pollinators, and fish, conventional chemical pesticides are not recommended in the health care setting. The good news is that Penn State, our nation's leading researcher on SLF, has found organic-certified insecticides to be effective. If you determine that you must spray a particular tree, these are the recommended choices:
Neem oil, natural pyrethins, insecticidal soaps, horticultural spray – look for "organic" or "OMRI" labelling – all are considered to be excellent or good at controlling SLF.

For more information, see Penn State's Spotted Lanternfly guide.
Pesticide Safety Alerts
PFAS 'forever chemical' promoted to health care. Is your facility or vendor using Fipronil Plus C?
The manufacturer of Fipronil Plus C is directly marketing to hospitals, healthcare, and nursing facilities, but alarmingly, the pesticide's active ingredient Fipronil is a PFAS forever chemical!

PFAS are a group of 12,000 man-made chemicals that are per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances. PFAS chemicals never break down in the environment or in our bodies and are linked to a multitude of long-term chronic and life-threatening illnesses: kidney testicular, and breast cancer; high cholesterol; developmental damage to infants; birth defects; childhood obesity, thyroid disease; impaired vaccine response; more serious COVID-19 outcomes.

Protect patients and staff
Avoid all pesticides containing PFAS, which may be an active ingredient like Fipronil. Worryingly, some pesticides contain PFAS as a hidden undisclosed "inert" ingredient or may be contaminated with PFAS from storage in plastic HDPE containers.

As our emerging PFAS crisis worsens and more products are tested and found to contain PFAS, embracing a prioritized IPM program that prevents the need for chemical pesticides is your best strategy for protecting your patients and staff from the dangers of PFAS and pesticides.

If you're not already using a prioritized IPM program or have questions about PFAS in pesticides, contact us for help.
Still using RoundUp? Health warnings mount
The weedkiller RoundUp, with its active ingredient glyphosate, is popular because its easy – but evidence continues to mount that the product is dangerous. It damages DNA, causes cancer, harms reproductive health, causes gluten intolerance, IBS, and changes gut microbes. Read health-impact headlines about RoundUp.

More than 126 U.S. cities and jurisdictions have restricted the use of RoundUp/glyphosate. Check out the list. In Maryland, the list includes Baltimore City, Montgomery Co., Howard Co., Greenbelt, Hyattsville, and Takoma Park.

Choose safe alternatives for weed management
Weed Terminator by Contact Organics is a safe and highly effective choice for weed management at your facility. The company's website includes scientific research on its effectiveness with various species and weed management situations.

Learn about other alternatives, including pre-emergent control using corn gluten meal and other methods and products.
Manage mosquitoes without pesticides
Synthetic pyrethroids are popular mosquito control pesticides, yet they are considered endocrine disruptors and are associated with numerous health impacts. More worrisome, independent lab testing found high levels of PFAS in 7 of 13 mosquito control pesticides.

Keep your facility safe and bite-free. There are safe and effective alternatives to mosquito control pesticides you can use at your facility and at home.

Download our 3 easy-to-use fact sheets to 1) Understand the health risks; 2) Find safe alternatives to stay bite-free; 3) Use flower power to repel mosquitoes and beautify your landscape.
Take 3 Steps Toward Pesticide-free Land Care
Pesticide-free State House grounds celebrate a 10-year anniversary
A growing body of scientific evidence links toxic pesticide use to serious health issues, especially for vulnerable populations, even at low levels. Hospital patients who have compromised immune and nervous systems, the elderly, infants and children, and those especially sensitized to pesticides are particularly vulnerable to chemical exposures. Patients and staff taking certain medications may also have heightened reactions to pesticides.

Pesticide-free land care management is the safe course to "do no harm." Increasingly lawns are required to be free of toxic pesticides including municipalities, school districts, parks, and especially, in the health care industry. Maryland's State House is a model of how lush, green, and economicial a pesticide-free lawn can be. Other examples of jurisdictions that mandate this in Maryland include universities such as McDaniel College, Montgomery County, Howard County, Takoma Park, Greenbelt, and Rockville, Maryland.


Here are three summer tips to make your grounds healthier and set you up for moving away from pesticides:
  1. Mow High: Set your lawn mower blades to cut grass 3.5" - 4" inches. This will promote deeper root growth and make the lawn more drought-tolerant.
  2. Aerate the Soil: Compacted soil can limit root growth and prevent water and nutrients from reaching the roots. Aerate the soil annually to promote better water infiltration and soil health.
  3. Water Efficiently: Water deeply but infrequently to encourage deep root growth. Watering once or twice a week should be sufficient. Water in the early morning or evening to reduce water loss due to evaporation. Use a rain gauge to track rainfall.
Watch the 20-minute video
Preventing & Solving Weed, Turf & Landscape Issues
Without Pesticides
with Kevin Wengernuk, KW Landscaping
Did You Know?
Latest Tips from Joe
Joe Griffin had a 16-year tenure at Sheppard Pratt and a total of 35+ years of Senior Level Facility Support Operations experience. Joe is a consultant to the IPM in Health Care Facilities Project.

EVS Directors have their hands full, so we tend to rely on our contracted pest and land care vendors. That's why it's critical to remember: 
Your vendors work for YOU and under YOUR guidelines to provide
a safe facility environment, without adverse harm from pesticides.

Tip #1:
Oversee contractors with regular meetings
It's important to set up monthly or quarterly meetings to review the pest control contractors’ work, recommendations, and service tickets, to ensure they are working in compliance with your organization’s policies. Establishing an official prioritized IPM policy is the first step towards a successful and sustainable program and protecting patients and staff from unnecessary exposure to pesticides -- especially when they may also contain PFAS.
Tip #2:
Prune shrubs 12" or more away from buildings
Monitor the growth of vegetation and shrubs near buildings, which can provide a gateway for pests to enter buildings. Keep them regularly pruned to a minimum of 12" inches away from building walls. 
Tip #3:
Have an official land care policy
As noted in this month’s newsletter... If the  Md State House grounds can be beautifully maintained as pesticide-free so can your facility grounds. No need for harmful chemicals associated with toxic impacts that may impact the health of visitors, staff, and patients. As with in-house pest management, an official land care policy for your in-house crew or a vendor to abide by provides sustainability. 
Navigate a Safe Course for Your Facility
Safe IPM Guidance is Just an Email Away
Are your facility's pest management and land care contractors addressing the source of your pest problems? Or just doing business-as-usual "see 'em, spray 'em" management? Certainly, the latter is better for their bottom line, but what about your budget and the well-being of patients and staff? The IPM in Health Care Facilities Project can evaluate exactly what kind of pest control service you're receiving – and the risks – and assist you in implementing or improving your IPM Program.

Remember, a prioritized IPM Program means prioritizing non-chemical pest prevention and, only when those measures fail, then using the least toxic pesticides. This approach reduces pesticide hazards (including PFAS) and costs while protecting patients and staff.
Schedule a Free Green Team Virtual Presentation
Invite us to provide your Green Team with a free virtual presentation addressing recent developments that can impact your facility's pest management practices.

Your Green Team is the central institutional committee responsible for identifying and implementing sustainability initiatives that reduce the environmental impacts of day-to-day operations. Protecting the population you serve, and your staff, from both pests and pesticides, is a critical aspect of reducing environmental impacts. 

We can help! Some topics we address in our Green Teams presentation and Q&A:
  • Ensuring the sustainability of your pest management program
  • How your IPM Policy is crucial to the health of patients and staff 
  • Safer alternatives to pesticides and pesticide-registered disinfectants
  • Recent research on widely used pesticides that impact healthcare
  • Pesticides that weaken immune systems and vaccine effectiveness, i.e. COVID-19 
  • Current Maryland-banned pesticides that your facility needs to be aware of
What's in Your Disinfectant?
Check your disinfectants for risk level
Some regularly used disinfectants in facilities are actually registered pesticides that can deplete a patient’s immune system and harm respiratory function – both of concern during our ongoing pandemic. Use the SaferDisinfectant.org website to see if what your facility uses is an “increased risk” or “safer” product.

Go to the SaferDisinfectants.org website's The List page and search your products by name, using your browser search keys, "Command + F" on Macs and "Control + F" on PCs. Type in the name to see if it has an increased risk or is a safer choice. View the Safer Choice list and sort by use site and need for better product choices.

The IPM in Health Care Facilities Project promotes safer pest and weed management best practices that are effective and protect the public and environment. Exposure to harmful pesticides can cause or exacerbate the very issues for which patients/residents are being treated. Especially during this challenging pandemic, we keep you updated on important news and research related to COVID-19 issues — from least toxic disinfectants to pesticides that do/do not exacerbate coronavirus symptoms. We support your efforts to ensure a protected and toxic-free environment for your facility and those you serve —
and ALL our IPM in Health Care Facilities Project services are FREE.
For information and help, 
contact us! 
call 301-664-4374
Our services are always free.
IPM in Health Care
Facilities Project
Visit our website for resources