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Cooperative Extension Service
The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Your source for pest management and pesticide news

April 2004/Volume 27, No. 4

The cicadas are coming

HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT

The new USDA Pesticide Data Program (PDP) report indicates that nearly 60 percent of food sampled in 2002 had no detectable residues of pesticides

FEDERAL NEWS

The United States will be allowed 8,942 metric tons of methyl bromide for 2005

BIOTECHNOLOGY

Iowa State University established the Biosafety Institute for Genetically Modified Agricultural Products (BIGMAP) to conduct risk/benefit evaluations of genetically modified agricultural products
It is clear that the future of biotechnology hinges on consumer acceptance

IPM NOTEBOOK

The Southern Region Integrated Pest Management Center has issued their first newsletter
Need some money to promote organic production?
What do you do when an insect gets sick?

NEWS YOU CAN USE

The Insecticide Resistance Action Committee (IRAC) has developed an insecticide mode-of-action table
Just in. Eating improperly cooked spiders can be hazardous to your health
Valent Corporation has a new label for their Valor and Valor SX that can help cotton growers control postemergent weeds
USDA researchers have developed an acoustic device that can hear weevils in nursery crops

DON'T DO IT

According to the School Pesticide Monitor (March/April 2004), a company may face criminal charges for their misguided attempts to control mold in a school


The cicadas are coming. Cicadas come in several different varieties. The most familiar types appear every summer to serenade us with an endless song (noise?) in the trees. However, other types of cicadas only appear every thirteen years. The one we will see in May emerges every 17 years. These periodical cicadas only spend a few weeks of their life above ground.

When periodical cicadas emerge, the results can be spectacular. It is common for periodical cicadas to occur in hundreds of thousands of individuals per acre. Considering that an acre is 43,560 square feet, there could be an average of ten or more cicadas per square foot. There are even reports of more than one million periodical cicadas per acre.

The emergence in May is called Brood X (a good name for a band) because there are a number of different broods across the United States. Every brood emerges at seventeen year intervals, but they do not come out at the same time. Brood X is huge, stretching from northern Georgia to New York and Illinois.

Cicadas are not considered to be an important pest, but their sheer numbers can cause problems for air and water intakes. Young trees could also be damaged. Be on the lookout for unscrupulous operators who may try to sell you a service to control cicadas. In nearly every circumstance, it is not necessary to control cicadas. If you have a problem, contact your local Extension Service office.

This web site has a ton of information about cicadas, including maps that show where they are likely to emerge. http://insects.ummz.lsa.umich.edu/fauna/Michigan_Cicadas/Periodical/Index.html#Magicicada%20broods

Health and the Environment

The new USDA Pesticide Data Program (PDP) report indicates that nearly 60 percent of food sampled in 2002 had no detectable residues of pesticides. The program also reported detection of low levels (measured in parts per trillion) of pesticides in drinking water. For individual foods, the proportion of samples with detectable pesticides ranged from 0 percent to more than 90 percent.

These statistics are simple to understand on the surface, but scholars and citizens alike will debate their importance. If 60 percent of the food samples had no detectable residues, you can reach two other conclusions. A sizable proportion (40%) of the food must have detectable pesticide residues. Additionally, "undetectable" does not mean absent. A pesticide residue below the level of detection is not zero.

A more important question is the significance of the residues. The presence of a pesticide on food does not mean that there is enough of the pesticide to cause a health effect. Carbamates and organophosphates are two of the most maligned groups of pesticides. Overexposure to these insecticides can have profound effects, including death. At very low doses, however, these compounds are valuable pharmaceuticals http://www.emedicine.com/neuro/byname/organophosphates.htm

The arguments become even more complex when you consider specific examples and throw in some emotion. Many people consider the apple to be the symbol of good health. Ignore the apple a day and physicians will crowd the doorstep. In the PDP samples, more than 90 percent of the fresh apples had detectable residues; nearly 20 different pesticides were detected on fresh apples. Many children love apples.

What's a concerned parent to do? It depends on whom you trust. Do you trust EPA? The EPA establishes a tolerance for pesticides used on foods; the tolerance is the amount of pesticide that can legally remain on a food. The tolerance includes other ways that children could be exposed to the same pesticide (e.g., on your lawn). The insecticide azinphos-methyl was detected on about 37 percent of the apples. The detections ranged up to 0.3 ppm; the tolerance for azinphos-methyl is five times greater at 1.5 ppm. [ppm = 1 pound of sugar dissolved in 125,000 gallons of water. A swimming pool that is 30 ft x 60 ft and 7.5 feet deep holds 87,750 gallons.] Clearly, researchers detected only a very small amount of azinphos-methyl on apples. If you trust EPA to establish safe tolerance, then you believe the apples are safe to eat.

Do you trust the grocer that stocks produce labeled "organic"? How does your local grocer know that they really purchased organic apples? You could grow your own apples, but you would increase your risk of skin cancer because you would be out in the sun so much. You could stop eating apples altogether, but health professionals (if you believe them) strongly encourage you to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.

The truth (if you believe it) is that we cannot produce food with zero risk, and many foods contain small amounts of naturally occurring toxins. The majority of health evidence indicates that you are protecting your health be eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and that pesticide residues on food are not a significant health risk. Even though the U.S. food supply is the safest in the world, we should continue to clamor for reducing risks even more. Public demand is the force that pushes governments and industries forward.

Believe it or not, you can read the PDP report on line at http://www.ams.usda.gov/science/pdp/

Federal News

The United States will be allowed 8,942 metric tons of methyl bromide for 2005. This amount is about 35 percent of our 1991 baseline use. The United States received about 67 percent of the total exemption allowance for 12 countries including (in addition to the United States) Australia (145 metric tons), Belgium (47 metric tons), Canada (56 metric tons), France (407 metric tons), Greece (186 metric tons), Italy (2,133 metric tons), Japan (284 metric tons), Portugal (50 metric tons), Spain (1,059 metric tons), and the United Kingdom (129 metric tons) according to the U.N. Environment Program.

Also during the final negotiations, the United States agreed to limit its 2005 production levels for methyl bromide to 7,659 tons (equal to 30 percent of its baseline, as compared with 35 percent for its exemption). The remaining 5 percent is expected to come from draw-downs from existing stockpiled inventory, the state department said. Similarly, the eight EU countries will supply 100 tons of their combined 4,011-ton exemption from existing stockpiles, according to the commission.

We still do not know how the U.S. allocation will be divided among commodities and growers.

Biotechnology

Iowa State University established the Biosafety Institute for Genetically Modified Agricultural Products (BIGMAP) to conduct risk/benefit evaluations of genetically modified agricultural products. The assessments should lead to ideas for industry and regulators to minimize risks. Genetic engineering holds tremendous promise for society, but it is an area where technology is moving faster than regulation. We need independent analysis of the potential risks balanced against the benefits. You will find more information here: http://www.isaaa.org/kc/bin/cbtupdate/CBT_recent.htm

It is clear that the future of biotechnology hinges on consumer acceptance. Genetically modified potatoes are no longer grown because major potato consumers (e.g., McDonalds, Frito-Lay) did not want them. The companies refused genetically modified potatoes because they did not think their customers wanted chips or fries that were made from genetically modified ingredients. However, the big M and F-L use soybean oil and/or cottonseed oil. I wonder if they can avoid genetically modified components.

Consumers are reluctant to accept genetically modified foods because they do not see any personal benefits in exchange for perceived potential risks. Soy protein, soybean oil, and other soy products from genetically modified crops are widely used in hundreds of products. I cannot point out any example in which the consumer benefits in lower prices or a better product. One could point out environmental savings that benefit all of society, but for consumers that criterion is not usually part of the grocery selection process unless they have a coupon for it.

IPM Notebook

The Southern Region Integrated Pest Management Center has issued their first newsletter http://www.sripmc.org/newsalerts/newsletter/April04.pdf The Southern IPM Center is part of a national USDA program to help coordinate IPM activities and grants.

Need some money to promote organic production? Check out the USDA organic program: http://www.csrees.usda.gov/fo/fundview.cfm?fonum=1142

The Integrated Organic Program seeks to solve critical organic agriculture issues, priorities, or problems through the integration of research, education, and extension activities in two program areas: (1) the Organic Transitions Program (ORG); and (2) the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI). ORG funds the development and implementation of research, extension and higher education programs to improve the competitiveness of organic producers. OREI funds research and extension programs that enhance the ability of producers and processors who have already adopted organic standards to grow and market high quality organic food, feed, and fiber.

What do you do when an insect gets sick? Releasing beneficial insects is an important part of many IPM programs. They can be especially important when we are trying to control an introduced pest. Two South American weevils have been used since the 1970s to control water hyacinth, an exotic weed that clogs waterways.

Microsporidian diseases can substantially decrease weevil survival and reproductive capacity. USDA scientists are trying to devise practical methods to control the diseases in weevil colonies. The Pasteur method attempts to remove the diseased individuals before the disease spreads. Heat shock is another method that can cure some insects of disease, but it is not effective against all types of microsporidia. Cold treatments can also help because the healthy weevils develop more quickly than the infected insects in the cooler conditions. (Agricultural Research, 4-04)

News You Can Use

The Insecticide Resistance Action Committee (IRAC) has developed an insecticide mode-of-action table that will take some of the guesswork out of managing insecticide resistance. This type of organized information has been sorely needed. Check it out at http://www.irac-online.org/. Their web page has a lot of other useful information as well.

Just in. Eating improperly cooked spiders can be hazardous to your health. Certain kinds of tarantulas have hairs on their abdomen that cause itching and eye irritation in humans. Some people consider tarantulas a delicacy, and we have a report concerning some diners who were enjoying a meal of batter-dipped, deep-fried Chilean rose-haired tarantula. (Many of our readers will no doubt think that even a spider might be good if batter-dipped and deep-fried). However, the cook had ignored the advice of using a blow-torch or hot fire to destroy the irritating abdominal hair (on the spiders not the humans) before cooking. As a result, many of the diners who partook of the arachnidal treat complained of tingling in the throat. Before you snatch up the nearby spider for a snack, be sure to consult and follow a reliable recipe.

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Figure 2 - courtesy of Mr. Steven Nagiewicz (http://www.explorers.org/)

 

You can read all about it at http://www.ijmt.net/4_5/4_5_40.html. Thanks to Dr. Nancy Hinkle.

Valent Corporation has a new label for their Valor and Valor SX that can help cotton growers control postemergent weeds. The labeling permits a reduced rate of Valor (alone or in combination with glyphosate) applied with shielded/hooded sprayers (or applied at lay-by). Consult your local Extension Service office or your pesticide dealer for more details.

USDA researchers have developed an acoustic device that can hear weevils in nursery crops. Black vine weevil is a serious pest in some parts of the country for the damage it causes and for the quarantines enforced in states that do not have black vine weevil. A single weevil is enough to stop an entire shipment.

Nurseries use scouts to find weevil-infested plants, but even the best scouts can only inspect eight pots per hour. With this new device, the scout can cover up to 25 pots per hour. The equipment can pick up a distinctive clicking noise made by the weevils. (Agricultural Research, April 2004)

Don't Do It

According to the School Pesticide Monitor (March/April 2004), a company may face criminal charges for their misguided attempts to control mold in a school. The company claimed to have extensive experience with a product called Microb Shield. Regulators said that the company was not licensed to spray this chemical, and the product manufacturer stated that they had not sold the product to the accused company.

If your company treats schools or other public areas with pesticides, watch your step. Maintain the proper MSDS for every product you use. Be sure that your company and your employees have the proper certification. And NEVER misrepresent your company, your experience, or your products.

The appearance of any trade name in this newsletter is not intended to endorse that product nor convey negative implications of unmentioned products.

Dear Readers:

The Georgia Pest Management Newsletter is a monthly journal for extension agents, extension specialists, and others interested in pest management news. It provides information on legislation, regulations, and other issues affecting pest management in Georgia.

Do not regard the information in this newsletter as pest management recommendations. Consult the Georgia Pest Management Handbook, other extension publications, or appropriate specialists for this information.

Your input in this newsletter is encouraged.

If you wish to be added to the mailing list, send an e-mail to tall@bugs.ent.uga.edu

Or write us:

Department of Entomology
University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602

E-mail: mailto:bugman@uga.edu

Or visit us on the Web. You will find all the back issues there and other useful information. http://pubs.caes.uga.edu/caespubs/entomology/pestnewsletter/newsarchive.html

Sincerely:

Paul Guillebeau, Associate Professor & Extension Entomologist