It is K-State Research and Extension Pesticide Safety and Integrated Pest Management Coordinator Frannie Miller's mission to educate the public about her field of expertise, a challenge that led her to compete for a grant from to create a special deck of cards.
"Integrated pest management can be so widespread that people don't understand that they're using it," Miller said. "You can use it in crop production, schools, nursing homes or your lawn and garden."
Raised on a farm near Lebo, Miller's background includes knowledge of agronomy and horticulture.
"I've always been interested in insects," Miller said. "In 4-H, I did entomology and had bug collections."
Miller has worked for K-State Research and Extension for nearly 19 years. In the last 10 years, she has focused on getting informational resources about the most effective types of pest management out to the public.
When she learned about an educational grant for integrated past management available from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Miller sent in her idea for an integrated pest management card deck.
"We decided we should develop something unique and innovative, so we came up with the idea of making a card deck that was educational," Miller said.
Miller wanted to create a standard card deck with integrated pest management information so that people could use the item for both regular card games and educational purposes.
"Integrated pest management promotes four different types of control measures — physical/mechanical, biological, cultural and chemical," Miller explained.
Each control option is represented as a different suit in the card deck.
"The four aces have the definition of what the control options are, so people know what it is we're talking about," Miller said.
Each of the other card faces have examples integrated pest management control measures, sorted by suit, with a short paragraph of text that Miller composed.
"Physical/mechanical is anything you do to prevent the pests from getting in, like having screen on your house or having a tree shelter around your tree to keep the rabbits from eating it," Miller explained.
Biological control methods for pests include competitors and predators, such as cats.
"Tillage is a cultural control, because you're altering the environment to make it easier to manage pests," Miller said.
Pesticides, herbicides and insecticides are examples of chemical controls for pest management.
K-State Research and Extension printed 600 integrated pest management card decks that it will sell for $5 each.
Miller said she would like to see the decks make their way into the hands of master gardeners and science teachers to be used as a learning tool.
"It might also be a neat gift for your science-loving friends," Miller said.
To request a deck of cards, email email@example.com or call 620-241-1523.
Contact Patricia Middleton by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her stories on Twitter at @MiddleSentinel.