New way to warn gardeners about pests

Alerts sent before pests arrive
Posted at 6:17 PM, Jul 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-31 21:12:51-04

Digging around in the dirt is something all gardeners enjoy.

But they don't like finding harmful bugs or problem weeds. But now gardeners can get a notice beforehand about what to expect when it comes to pests. It's called the Pest Alert Network. With a few clicks on the the computer, gardeners can get a heads up on what to expect and how to deal with it through text and e-mail. All for free.

"What we do is we send an alert out to people and it tells them this is what we've seen and this how you can control it," explained Rich Guggenheim of the University of Idaho.

It's an effort made possible with the help of the University of Idaho Canyon County Extension Office. Horticulturist and volunteer Master Gardeners work together to share the information with the public. They head out to gardens across the valley to see what they can find so they can spread  the word online. Not only do they identify problems, but they also recommend solutions.

"There are traditional ways of controlling it and there are organic and non-invasive ways as well that we kind of encourage people to look at all the options," said Guggenheim.

Officials say more than 400 gardeners have already signed up for the system. But they're not just getting the alerts, but sending some back. It's a two-way street of communication with the goal of a having a healthy garden.

"We're all home gardeners, myself and one of the other Master Gardeners who are on this time, “ said Roger Arnold a Master Gardener. “We were actually one of the first ones to find squash bug in the valley. So we were the ones who were able to put out that alert so people could actually start watching for them and taking care of them."

To sign up for alerts, click here.