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Self-Help Kiosks Used to Extend IPM Information to Gardeners

The Issue

Pesticides used by home gardeners can contribute to water pollution if the chemicals get carried away in runoff. To minimize pesticide use, home gardeners need an interesting and easy way to identify pests and learn the least-toxic, science-based methods of controlling them.

While much information is available online (www.ipm.ucdavis.edu), not all consumers are Internet users and must often depend on untrained store personnel or anectodotal information about how to treat pests in and around their homes. More often than not, a pesticide treatment is recommended, even if the pest has not been clearly identified.

What Has ANR Done?

The Healthy Garden/Healthy Home Project managed by UCCE San Diego County in collaboration with the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program has developed an easy-to-use, picture-based, touch-screen kiosk to help home gardeners solve pest problems, prevent runoff from residential landscapes and protect the environment.

The IPM kiosk contains information about 50 common home and garden pests including identification and management, alternatives to pesticides and least-toxic pest control, as well as safe use and disposal of pesticides. The kiosk also includes tips related to proper watering, fertilizing, and avoiding problems associated with garden chemicals.

Kiosks will be placed throughout California as part of UC Master Gardener outreach events and in nurseries, libraries, county fairs, garden exhibits, and plant clinics. Current and future sites include the CalEPA Building in Sacramento, nurseries in San Diego County, the San Diego Zoo, Los Angeles County Arboretum, California State Fair, Yolo County Fair, San Mateo County Fair, and nurseries in Santa Clara County.

The kiosk displays were created with support from the California State Water Resources Control Board, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, the California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers, and the Elvenia J. Slosson Foundation.

The Payoff

Home gardeners get easy access to information about pests and their control

Kiosk users can look up a pest by category and name, or diagnose a problem on plants. They can also watch videos, print information, or locate local resources for finding pest management help. This method of providing information allows users to get science-based information as they require. Even people who do not like to use computers will use the kiosk because it does not require the use of a mouse or keyboard. Consumers have been very accepting of this new technology. Other UC programs are exploring this interactive method for conveying information.


Supporting Unit: Integrated Pest Management

UCCE San Diego and participating counties throughout California
Cheryl Wilen
Area Integrated Pest Management Advisor