The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Your source for pest management and pesticide news
August 2004/Volume 27, No. 8
Send us your stories about unusual methods that people use to control insects
FOOD QUALITY PROTECTION ACT AND REREGISTRATION
The EPA revised risk assessment for thiram is available for comment
HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT
of our most common calls during the late summer concerns stinging
Childhood allergy treatments for insect stings help prevent dangerous reactions later
The widely used herbicide atrazine may be more likely to kill amphibians at lower concentrations
Mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases continue to be a problem across the United States, but you can greatly reduce your risks
NEWS YOU CAN USE
Research suggests that flies may introduce campylobacter bacteria into chicken houses
EPA has released a list of pesticides with the Agency’s evaluation
of their potential to cause cancer
The EPA has extended the comment period on pesticide containers
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said that genetically modified (GM) wheat made by Monsanto Co. was safe for human and livestock consumption
battle is brewing over green space and the tools we use to maintain
The Fifth National IPM Symposium, "Delivering on a Promise," will be held in St. Louis , Missouri, on April 4-6, 2006
Send us your stories about unusual methods that people use to control insects. Some of my friends recently asked me how to control flies in their garage. After listening to my usual advice, they asked me if I could refer them to someone who knew something about insects. Then, they asked me if I thought a sealed plastic bag containing water would repel flies. I expressed skepticism but replied that the price was right. A few days later, they told me that the flies were gone. Coincidence? Apparently, this same technique has been spotted in other areas. My colleagues and I are still not convinced, because we cannot think of any possible way that a bag of water would be distasteful to flies. And we know everything about insects.
Here is an unidentified man hanging a bag to repel flies at a picnic. The practice seems to have originated in South America.
Here is an interesting USDA website with a lot of information about flies.http://www.sel.barc.usda.gov/Diptera/flies.htm
Another interesting technique is covering the opening of a yellow jacket nest with a clear glass bowl. If the insects cannot escape under the edge of the bowl, the nest seems to die out in a few days. I have used this technique twice in my own yard, sealing any gaps with sand. In both cases, the yellow jackets were gone in less than a week. This small sample is not enough to support any scientific conclusions, but it seemed to work.
Send us your tales of unconventional ways to control insect pests.
The EPA revised risk assessment for thiram is available for comment until August 31, 2004. Thiram is registered for a number of uses, but it most important as a seed treatment. The EPA has concerns about dietary, ecological, and worker risks from thiram. The Agency is expected to resolve the dietary concerns by eliminating thiram use on apples and strawberries.
Ecological risks will be reduced through voluntary cancellation that eliminates the uses of thiram for turf applications to parks, athletic fields, and commercial landscapes; and all homeowner and retail uses as for animal repellency on residential lawns or turf, turf being grown for sale or other commercial use such as sod.
To address the risk concerns for workers, an option would be to add additional levels of personal protection (e.g., the use of a respirator) or to eliminate certain application methods (e.g., high pressure handwand), or use sites (e.g., on-farm seed treatment). In relation to addressing these risk concerns, the technical registrant has submitted a voluntary letter of cancellation that eliminates the on-farm seed treatment of peanuts.
The final area of risk is associated with the greatest benefit of thiram. Birds and other wildlife may be exposed to thiram through the treated seed. The EPA is investigating additional risk reduction options to mitigate ecological risks of concern posed by the seed treatment uses of thiram. Commenters are encouraged to discuss the feasibility of restricting the broadcasting of treated seed and means to ensure that spillage from drilled seeding applications is removed from the field or buried, as has been required by the European Union. Alternatively, restrictions could be placed on which types of seed are treated, the areas of the country where thiram-treated seed could be planted, and/or the time of year it is planted. The Agency encourages stakeholders to submit risk management proposals.
Comments are to be limited to issues directly associated with thiram and its benefits raised by the risk assessments, potential risk reduction options, or other documents placed in the docket.
You can find all of the details at http://cfpub.epa.gov/pesticides/comments.cfm
One of our most common calls during the late summer concerns stinging insects. The nest of most social wasps and bees (yellow jackets, hornets, bumblebees, etc.) grows from one or a few queens that survived the winter. During the spring and early summer, the nest only contains a few individuals, and the insects are usually not very aggressive. The nest becomes larger and more aggressive as the warm season progresses. By the end of the summer, a nest may have thousands of individuals, and they are usually very aggressive. Just imagine how you would feel if you had to share a nest with a thousand sisters all summer. My wife and daughter can just barely share a bathroom.
A few pointers may help you avoid a painful experience.
If the sting victim exhibits serious symptoms (e.g., shortness of breath, throat swelling, dizziness), it is time for emergency medical treatment. Keep in mind that a person may have a serious allergic reaction to an insect sting even if they have not shown severe symptoms in the past.
If you need to eliminate a wasp or bee nest, it is safer to take action at dusk. Apply pesticide in and around the nest opening. There are many products available that will spray 20-30 feet. Unless the nest is threatening your family, leave it alone. Wasps and bees can provide important natural control of other insects. NEVER try to eliminate a wasp/bee nest with gasoline. We usually hear a sad story about this time of year about a person who burned their car, their home, or themselves using gasoline to down wasp/bee nests. Ironically, gasoline does not work as well as insecticide.
These publications will give you more information about protecting your family from insects.
Childhood allergy treatments for insect stings help prevent dangerous reactions later. For most of us, an insect sting means temporary pain and swelling. For some people, however, an insect sting can cause breathing difficulty, throat swelling, nausea, and worse. Severe allergic reactions to insect stings kill more than 40 people in the United States each year.
Some children receive allergy shots for insect stings when their parents discover the child is severely allergic. Scientists have discovered that childhood allergic shots can provide long-lasting protection. In one study following children with severe reactions to insect stings, about 3 percent of adults had a severe reaction to an insect sting if they had received insect allergy shots as children. About 17 percent of adults had a severe reaction to an insect sting if they received no allergy shots as children.
Adults can also be protected against insect stings with allergy shots. The shots provide temporary protection for 95-98 percent of adults. (Science News, 8-14-04)
The widely used herbicide atrazine may be more likely to kill amphibians at lower concentrations. This observation is somewhat counterintuitive, but it does help explain inconsistent amphibian toxicity observed in earlier tests with atrazine.
Scientists reared frog and toad embryos and tadpoles in water containing atrazine at 3 parts per billion (ppb), 25 ppb, and 65 ppb. The most amphibians died before maturity at the lowest concentration of atrazine. Other tests also reported that two other herbicides, dicamba and mecoprop, were more damaging in lower concentrations. (Science News, 7-10-04)
These studies have been criticized because no one can explain why a lower concentration should be more deadly to the amphibians. Until a plausible mechanism can be presented, some people will question the results.
In the meantime, these results may be cause for concern. Atrazine is one of the most widely used herbicides in the United States, with estimated usage of more than 75 million pounds per year. Atrazine is commonly detected in water. The lowest level tested in this study (3ppb) is legally permitted in U.S. drinking water.
Mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases continue to be a problem across the United States, but you can greatly reduce your risks. Mosquito IPM is based upon a key fact of mosquito biology; mosquitoes have to breed in water. Eliminate standing water around your home, and you can minimize your mosquito problem.
A friend of mine is a mosquito expert, and he recently visited some homes in response to mosquito complaints. These houses were near a swampy area, and the residents were convinced the mosquitoes were coming from there. The brave mosquito men ventured into the swamp, and they found some mosquitoes. However, the scientists received few mosquito bites. When they returned to the area near the homes, the men encountered clouds of Asian tiger mosquitoes. This type of mosquito most commonly breeds in containers holding a little water, like tires, flowerpots, toys, etc. The residents had the key to control most of their mosquitoes if they were willing to do some work.
This picture shows what mosquito larvae look like in water. The larvae (wrigglers) are very active. The pupae (tumblers) also move, but they are less active. During warm weather, you can count on mosquitoes occurring in almost any standing water. There are even reports of mosquito larvae in bottle caps and the finger holes of a bowling ball. The larvae mature into adults in about five days in warm weather.
For more information about
controlling mosquitoes around your home, visit these web sites. http://www.ent.uga.edu/publications/control_mosquitoes.htm
Research suggests that flies may introduce campylobacter bacteria into chicken houses. Campylobacter does not harm the chickens, but it can cause illness in humans that handle raw chicken or eat undercooked poultry. In the United States, it is common for 80 percent of a flock to carry the bacteria.
There is strong evidence that growers spread campylobacter among the chickens. Many Scandinavian farmers began to put on fresh clothes and disinfect their shoes before entering a chicken house. This technique dramatically reduced the incidence of salmonella, but it had little effect on campylobacter rates.
Flies may the most common animal around poultry farms. A Danish study showed that the flies, the chickens, and nearby sheep all carried the same strain of campylobacter. The scientists estimated that 30,000 flies entered the chicken house every six weeks; 8.2 percent of the flies carried viable campylobacter. These findings also support the epidemiology of the bacteria in the United States; poultry infection rates are higher during warm weather when flies are more active.
It may be possible to reduce campylobacter rates with better screening. However, effective ventilation is essential for poultry production. Additional screening will make ventilation more expensive and less efficient. Scientists are investigating the impact of more screening. The results are too preliminary for poultry farmers to change production practices, but additional investigation may indicate a way to reduce or eliminate campylobacter infection. (Science News, 8-7-04)
The EPA has released a list of pesticides with the Agency’s evaluation of their potential to cause cancer. Carcinogenicity is difficult to predict because many factors are involved, and animal data do not conclusively show what will happen in humans. Because of the uncertainties, pesticides are placed in groups, such as “carcinogenic to humans,” “possible human carcinogen,” “not likely to be carcinogenic,” and “insufficient data.” The EPA is still in the process of standardizing the language, so you may notice some variety in the specific terminology.
Here are the categories for some commonly used pesticides.
Captan (fungicide) – probable human carcinogen
Carbaryl (insecticide) – likely to be carcinogenic to humans
Chlorpyrifos (insecticide) – evidence of non-carcinogenicity for humans
DEET (insect repellent) – not classifiable as to human carcinogenicity
Glyphosate (herbicide) - evidence of non-carcinogenicity for humans
You will find the whole list here http://www.pestmanagement.rutgers.edu/NJinPAS/postings/EPAcancerevalchem704.pdf
The availability of this list will not change my behavior. I minimize my use of pesticides with integrated pest management. When I need to use a pesticide, I follow the pesticide label directions carefully, and I wear the prescribed protective gear. If exposed to pesticide, I wash promptly. I wash my hands after I use a pesticide. In short, I treat every pesticide as if it were dangerous, and I minimize my exposure to all pesticides.
I do not worry about pesticide residues on foods, but I usually wash produce because I am concerned about the possible bacterial load. If you are not worried about bacteria on food, just watch how many people handle that apple before you put it in your cart.
The EPA has extended the comment period on pesticide containers until September 15, 2004. This area of pesticide regulation could have important implications for all users. You probably want to take a look. http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/regulating/containers.htm
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said that genetically modified (GM) wheat made by Monsanto Co. was safe for human and livestock consumption. Monsanto had earlier announced that it would shelve plans to introduce the world's first GM wheat. It withdrew submissions for its biotech wheat from all regulatory agencies except the FDA. (Crop Biotech Update, 7-30-04)
Monsanto reportedly withdrew the RoundUp Ready wheat because of widespread opposition from growers and consumer groups. There is some research that links the GM wheat to increased risk of fusarium, an important disease of wheat. (National Farmers Union, Canada press release, 5-10-04)
Although the company has FDA approval, it is unlikely that the new wheat will be marketed in the United States in the near future.
A battle is brewing over green space and the tools we use to maintain it. Most people want their lawns, golf courses, and parks to be unnaturally perfect. Pesticides, leaf blowers, mowers, and other tools are often required to achieve this level of green nirvana. However, states and communities are passing laws restricting the use of pesticides, power implements, and other tools.
The industry is trying to fight back. Project EverGreen is an alliance of green industry end-user associations, suppliers, distributors, media companies and other organizations. "Our mission is simple: raise awareness of the environmental, economic and lifestyle benefits of landscapes and promote the significance of those who preserve and enhance green spaces at home, work and play," said Den Gardner, executive director of Project EverGreen. "The consumer marketing campaign that we are developing is designed to support that mission statement while defending the green industry from unwarranted attack."
I hope that the message from this alliance will help consumers understand their choices. It is unrealistic to expect the perfect lawn, park, or golf course unless you are willing to allow the use of pesticides and power equipment. Consumers will have to decide what they really want and what they are willing to pay for.
The Fifth National IPM Symposium, "Delivering on a Promise," will be held in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 4-6, 2006, at the Adams Mark Hotel. Symposium sessions will address state of the art strategies and technologies to successfully solve pest problems in agricultural, recreational, natural and community settings.
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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.
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Paul Guillebeau, Associate Professor & Extension Entomologist