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D.B. Pest coming to Hughesville

By Staff | Mar 9, 2010

Kerry Richards from Penn State University and Helen Grosso, a Master Gardener from Hughesville demonstrate D.B. Pest during a visit to Lycoming County's Co-Op Extension Office. The robot will be coming to Hughesville in June.

Since March is national Poison Prevention Month, Penn State’s DB Pest control robot paid a visit to the county’s Penn State Co-op Extention office last Wednesday. Kerry Richards, acting director of the Pesticide Education Program with Penn State University brought D.B. Pest to Lycoming County in a trailer to demonstrate what he can do to help kids learn to identify good and bad pests and different pest control methods including poisonous pesticides.

Helen Grosso. a Master Gardener from Hughesville volunteered to operate D.B. Pest which stands for Dung Beetle, and bring him to Hughesville in June. “I first saw him at the Farm Show in Harrisburg and I thought this would be a great program to show the kids in the summer in the Hughesville and Muncy areas,” said Grosso enthusiastically. Over 10,000 youth saw him at the show in January when he was there. He is the only robot of its kind in the state according to Richards and he is scheduled to be back in Lycoming County for two weeks in June. In the meantime, he travels all across Pennsylvania visiting schools, libraries, scout troops and children’s events.

D.B. Pest is six years old and he comes with an interactive miniature golf game that requires a 20 by 40 square foot area. He was made by an outside company for $10,000 and his mission is to teach children and adults about toxins and poisons. He also comes with his own activity booklet with pest management activities for grades K through 4.

“This is a wonderful integrated program that kids enjoy about pest management said Richards. She informed the group that there are only two poison control centers set up in the state of Pennsylvania, one in Philadelphia and one in Pittsburgh. When calling the poison control hotline number (1-800-222-1222), calls will be routed to the closest center.

The program also teaches children how to read labels, identify toxic pesticides and storing foods in proper containers. D.B. Pest likes to hand out Mr. YUK stickers to mark on dangerous containers. “This is a hole in one educational experience for engaging students and parents,” explained Richards who has been with the Pesticide Education Program at Penn State for twenty years.

For more information about Integrated Pest Management and Pesticide Safety around the home, catch D.B. Pest at www.pested.psu.edu/youth.shtml