With the 1996 passage of the Food Quality Protection Act, all routes of pesticide exposure are under increasing scrutiny. One important avenue of possible exposure is the use of pesticides around the home. In addition, pesticide runoff, particularly from urban areas, threatens water quality. Previous surveys1 of Oklahoma urban residents revealed that most (75%) apply pesticides, primarily to control fleas and ticks, roaches, and grubs. These surveys indicated that the organophosphates diazinon and chlorpyrifos (Dursban) were the most popularly used; in addition, up to 8% of surveyed urban residents poured unused pesticides down the drain or in a ditch. Given that 60% of the population in Oklahoma resides in urban areas,2 urban use of pesticides can have a significant impact on both human and environmental pesticide exposure. To understand current practices and attitudes about pesticide use among Oklahoma urban residents, we conducted a telephone survey during the summer of
2000. Objectives To determine: The level of pest management knowledge among Oklahoma urban residents The primary pest problems in urban backyards What methods were being used to control these pests How urban residents disposed of unused pesticides Where urban residents primarily obtained their information regarding pest management What kind of information did urban residents feel they need to manage pests in their yards We conducted a randomly dialed telephone survey of residents within Oklahoma City and Tulsa city limits during the summer of 2000. Only those respondents over the age of 18 with a yard, garden plot, or flower bed area were asked to participate in the 15-minute survey. Questions were both open-ended and multiple
choice, and included queries on pests (insect, disease, and weed), pest management techniques, protective equipment used when applying pesticides, pesticide and yard waste disposal, lawn nutrient management, sources of pest management information, and further educational needs. Sections of our findings are included here. A total of 550 city residents completed the telephone questionnaire, and based on population statistics, the findings have an overall error rate of 6%. The total response rate was 33%3. House Where were they? Duplex Apart ment 92%
Condo Mobile Home Tulsa Oklahoma City Who were they? Children < 12 yrs in the home? Male Yes Female No Education
Some HS 17 % 5% 20% HS/ GED Some College College Graduate/ prof ' l 29% 29% We asked: Where do you primarily go for information about pests in your yard? And heres what we learned: 1% 5%
7% TV/ Radio I nternet ? Ot her 7% Magazines 8% OSU Extension 10% 11% 17% 36%
Nowhere Family Lawn care company Store Most residents (36%) get their information about pest management from the stores where they buy plants or where they buy pesticides. Only 8% of residents in Oklahoma and Tulsa County ever turn to their County Extension Office for information. Clearly, to be more effective in educating the urban population, we either need to Increase the visibility of the County Extension Offices
Or deliver the educational material where it more likely will be seen, such as at the plant centers where consumers shop Most Frequently Cited Insect/Invertebrate Pest #1 Fleas #6 Grubs #2 Ants #7
Spiders Crickets # 10 Many residents of Oklahoma City and Tulsa rely on either Diazinon or Dursban for managing insect pests around their yards. However, both of these chemicals will not be available for home use in the near future. Diazinon 25% Other chemicalsa 52% Represents 1/3 of insect control methods Dursban 8% Lawn care co. 8% Non-chemicalb 8%
a b Includes malathion, pyrethroids, carbaryl, and non-specific (e.g., Ortho) Includes soap, water, boric acid, physical removal, etc. How do you usually dispose of old pesticides or pesticides that you mixed up but didnt use? 0.5% 1% Pour them down the drain Bury them 2% Pour them in the street or in a ditch 2%
Other (store for years, spouse takes care of it) 11% 17% 66% Put them in the trash Take them to a hazardous waste collection site Use them up Household Hazardous Waste Collection Days are held at least once per year in both Oklahoma City and Tulsa. In addition, Oklahoma City is building a permanent waste collection site, which will hopefully decrease the inappropriate disposal of pesticides. What information do you need to improve your knowledge of pest control around your yard? Pest Management Weed
Disease Pesticide Use Vertebrate General Insect Disposal Alternative s Environ. Safety Use Safety
Most (54%) residents of Oklahoma City and Tulsa consider insects as the worst pest of their yard Most residents try to control these pests with chemical pesticides, and continue to rely on organophosphates Some of the insects they consider to be pests are benign or beneficial Most pesticides are disposed of correctly Urban residents would like information about identification and management of insects more than any other pest Urban residents are concerned about the safe use of pesticides and the safety of pesticides in the environment Acknowledgments The authors wish to express appreciation for the many ndividuals who provided comments during the development
of this survey, including Ken Pinkston, Dennis Martin, and Sue Gray of OSU-OCES, and Cathy Koelsch, City of Oklahoma City. We also thank Sandra Stiles and the staff at the Bureau of Social Research. References The urban environment: Oklahoma attitudes and practices. 1995. Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, Oklahoma State University. Circular IPM-6, 32pp. 2 U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1999. 3 Standard definitions: Final dispositions of case codes and outcomes rates for RDD telephone surveys and in-person household surveys. 1998. The American Association for Public Opinion Research. 1 Introduction Materials & Methods
Conclusion Results & Discussion Pat Bolin, Gerrit Cuperus, Jim Criswell, and Christine Johnson Oklahoma State University Stillwater, OK 74078
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