Ace employees receive special training in pest management

A number of Northern California Ace Hardware stores are participating in a new program that guides shoppers toward less toxic choices to control garden pests. Starting last month, employees in 13 hardware stores and retail garden centers are putting into place what they learned from rigorous training with experts from the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UCIPM) and professionals in the nursery industry.

The volunteer experts spent nearly one year with store managers, buyers and retail associates training and guiding them toward effective pest management products and techniques with the least impact on the environment. The program was funded by a Pest Management Alliance grant from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, and the program is getting a boost from new funding from the U.S EPA’s San Francisco Bay Water Quality Improvement Fund.

Grand Lake Ace Hardware, a Piedmont, Calif., store, is one of the locations participating in the program.

"We have a big opportunity here to have our neighborhoods reduce their use of toxic pesticides," said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA's Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest.

“The Integrated Pest Management Advocates program is really about helping the consumer. It can be overwhelming to make choices at the store because of the breadth of products on the market,” explained Geoff Brosseau, executive director of the Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association (BASMAA). “Home and garden pests can be managed with less-toxic methods. With trained managers and employees, consumers can now get more support in finding less-toxic products. These products effectively manage pests with the least impact on the environment.”