The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Your source for pest management and pesticide news

December 2003/Volume 26, No. 12

Happy Holidays!
Mark your calendar for the 2004 pesticide workshop!

HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT

The Prior Informed Consent (PIC) treaty became official in November

FEDERAL NEWS

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has ruled that citizens may file lawsuits alleging violations of the Clean Water Act
The National Association of Counties and USDA-CSREES have created a unique opportunity for county extension agents

BIOTECHNOLOGY

Whether you like it or not, the biotechnology revolution continues to evolve
The University of Hawaii (UH) and the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center received federal approval to conduct open-field trials of a pineapple modified with genes from rice

NEWS YOU CAN USE

The CBS Evening News recently took aim at the termite control industry
If you are considering the market for organic commodities, these offerings from PANUPS (12-10-03) might be useful

DON'T DO IT

Seven quail plantations in south Georgia were fined more than $300,000 for misusing pesticides
Initial Health Care, Inc., a subsidiary of Rent-to-Kill, was fined more than $14,000 for allegedly producing an unregistered, misbranded pesticide

Happy Holidays!  We thank you for your support of GPMN. As always, send us your suggestions for serving you better. As a holiday tip, remember that even grownup boys (sometimes referred to as men) like toys more than clothes and grownup girls (best referred to as ladies) do not like to receive kitchen appliances as gifts. I learned this the hard way when I called our new dishwasher an early Christmas present and even had my beloved wife's name engraved on the front. She did not complain out loud, but, fortunately, a dishwasher will not operate when someone's head is forcibly held inside.

Mark your calendar for the 2004 pesticide workshop! The 2004 event will be February 6th from 8:30 to 4:00. As always, we will broadcast via satellite and downlink with a site in your area. Look for the details on the Internet in the early part of January at http://www.ent.uga.edu/. The workshop will provide five hours of recertification credit for applicators with a commercial pesticide license in any category except the structural categories (Categories 28, 29, and 30); private applicators will receive two hours of credit.

Health and the Environment

The Prior Informed Consent (PIC) treaty became official in November as the 50th country ratified it.The treaty (yes, the United States is a party) requires that an importing country be informed when a pesticide or other chemical is banned in other countries for health or environmental reasons, and gives the receiving country the right to refuse importation of such chemicals. It other words, the treaty is supposed to keep countries from dumping unwanted chemicals on some other nation.

Of the 32 chemicals on the PIC list, 27 are pesticides. Adrin, Binapacryl, Captafol, Chlordane, Chlordimeform, Chlorobenzilate, DDT, Dieldrin, Dinoseb and dinoseb salts, 1,2-dibromoethane (EDB), Ethylene dichloride, Ethylene oxide, Fluoroacetamide, HCH (mixed isomers), Heptachlor, Hexachlorobenzene, Lindane, Mercury compounds, Pentachlorophenol, 2,4,5-T, Toxaphene, Methamidophos, Methyl-parathion, Monocrotophos (soluble liquid formulations), Monocrotophos (all formulations), Parathion, Phosphamidon, Crocidolite, Polybrominated biphenyls, Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), Polychlorinated terphenyls (PCT), and Tris (2,3-dibromopropyl) phosphate.

(PANUPS, 11-26-03)

Federal News

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has ruled that citizens may file lawsuits alleging violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA) in the application of pesticide, even if the application is not in violation of the pesticide label approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A lower court had dismissed the case because the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), unlike the CWA, does not allow citizens to file enforcement lawsuits. The appeals court held that the absence of citizen suit authority in FIFRA does not affect the exercise of the citizen suit authority to enforce the CWA.

The appeals court would not consider whether application of a pesticide in a manner consistent with FIFRA must be deemed in compliance with the CWA as well. The lower court must now consider this question.

These court decisions could have far reaching implications. It may no longer be enough to follow the labeling to protect yourself from liability. We will follow developments closely and keep you up to date. Unless we hear otherwise, following the pesticide labeling is still the best way to stay out of court.

The National Association of Counties and USDA-CSREES have created a unique opportunity for county extension agents to serve a one-year fellowship in Washington, DC. The program is intended to: 1) provide insight into the workings of Congress and federal agencies, 2) enhance the relationship between the Association and USDA-CSREES, and 3) apply agent expertise to the other 3,000 + counties in the United States. It would be an educational experience that could greatly enhance an agent's career. You can find the details at http://www.neafcs.org/events.asp?P=320

Biotechnology

Whether you like it or not, the biotechnology revolution continues to evolve. At least 16 countries produce genetically modified crops, and more countries are accepting them.

The main countries growing GM crops continue to be the United States, Canada, Argentina, and China. For the first time, more than half of China's cotton crop is an insect-resistant biotech variety. In 2002, more than one-fifth of the global crop area of soya, corn, cotton, and rape was producing biotech varieties. For the first time, more than half of the world's population lives in countries growing biotech crops.

The use of GM crops is increasing in other countries. Of the 16 countries now growing GM crops, nine are from the developing south. India, Colombia, and Honduras began growing biotech crops last year, and the Philippines has recently approved the cultivation of insect-resistant corn. The possible approval of GM soya by Brazil, the subject of long-running legal action, would result in significant growth in the soya market. The global market for GM crops is expected to grow from $3.8 billion in 2001 to about $5 billion by 2005.

(Crop Biotech Update, 11-28-03 and Organic Producers Association, 1-16-03)

The University of Hawaii (UH) and the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center received federal approval to conduct open-field trials of a pineapple modified with genes from rice. Maui Pineapple Co., Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc., and Dole Food Co. Inc. supported a project to develop a pineapple resistant to mealybugs and nematodes. They also wanted a pineapple that would flower uniformly so the entire field could be picked at one time.

Although the project commenced in 1995, the results are reported to be years away. However, this project illustrates where biotechnology is heading . . . everywhere. When traditional plant and animal breeding techniques were developed, people realized that nearly every domestic plant or animal could be improved to better suit human needs. The results are obvious and astounding. We have hundreds of very different dogs, cats, cows, horses, etc., that have only passing resemblance to their forebears. In relative time, biotechnology makes breeding instantaneous and allows us to combine traits from almost any two living organisms.

The three companies supported UH in 1995 to design a pineapple resistant to nematodes and mealybugs, that would flower uniformly so fields would not have to be picked repeatedly. "Right now it's going well, but there have been some difficulties," said Robert Paull, chairman of the Department of Tropical Plants and Soil Sciences at UH-Manoa.

Doug Schenk, president of Maui Pineapple and of the Pineapple Growers Association of Hawaii, acknowledged the image of GM crops in some countries, but he said that not proceeding with GM research could also be risky, if traditional means of controlling pests become ineffective or unavailable. Researchers at the University of Hawaii said they have not yet field-tested the genetically modified pineapples, although they have permission from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to do so. "This stuff is years and years away. It's all about technology and research into problems that in the future we may need to call upon," Schenk said.

For more information on GM pineapple research contact Robert Paul at: paull@hawaii.edu. (Crop Biotech Update, 11-28-03)

According to the consultant firm Kline and Company, farmer spending for crop protection chemicals for corn, cotton, and soybeans will decline more than $1 billion in the next five years. The company contends that adoption of genetically modified crops that resist insects and herbicides will drive the reduction. The corn market for insecticides is predicted to decline by more than $200 million. If you need more information, visit the Kline & Co. website at http://www.klinegroup.com/

News You Can Use

The CBS Evening News recently took aim at the termite control industry. The news segment was a "Consumer Alert" entitled "getting rid of termites -- why many companies don't deliver what they promise." This publicity may generate some pointed questions for pest control companies.

The National Pest Management Association produced these questions and answers. You may find them useful to develop responses from your customers.

The premise of the story is that the pest control industry does shoddy work, does not make good on their contracts, and writes contracts with loopholes so the consumer has no recourse but to hire a lawyer to get their work completed.

Is it a common practice in your industry to mislead the consumer with contracts that require consumers to hire a lawyer in order to be satisfied?

As an industry, we do over 60 million service calls in one year. The amount of claims are minute. However, even that is not good enough for us. The federal and state governments vigorously regulate pest control companies. In addition, the industry is regulating itself. We want our customers to be satisfied. Programs like the industry's version of the "good housekeeping seal" -- QualityPro -- are just another example of our professionalism and commitment to the customer.

Are these types of allegations routine?

We are a highly regulated and highly trained industry of professionals. According to market research conducted by the National Pest Management Association, consumers rank us as the highest in home service industries. We were measured against other service industries such as plumbing and carpet cleaning. We value this reputation and do whatever we can to satisfy our customers. Again, as an industry we do over 60 million service calls a year with a minute amount of claims.

Why are termites so difficult to control, resulting in consumer claims?

Termites are living creatures, which are virtually invisible. They live behind walls, underground and are unpredictable. Doing termite work is not a precise science. There is no magic bullet. Every home, every colony, every job is different. That is why our industry spends so much time and invests so heavily in training. The products and materials we use are approved for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency only after they have demonstrated that they are safe and effective. After a PCO performs a termite treatment, they will work with the consumer until the problem is solved.

We have countless examples of difficult homes where pest control professionals continue to work with their customer until their termite infestation has been solved.

Why do some consumers complain about termite work not being done correctly in their homes?

The consumer has a responsibility to understand any contract they may sign, and the pest control professional has a responsibility to explain it to the customer's satisfaction. There are essentially two types of termite contracts -- one for retreatment only and one for damage repair and retreatment. Given the unpredictable nature of termites, our industry has a remarkable record in controlling them and protecting the homeowner's most important asset, their home. Our industry enjoys a high satisfaction rate from homeowners who rely on us to protect not just their homes, but their food and health as well. As protectors of public health and property, we take our role very seriously and continue to strive for complete consumer satisfaction.

(PCT Online, 12-12-03)

As with many other industries, the media tends to dwell on the bad players. After all, the "good guys" are hardly news. Unfortunately, people often paint an industry with a wide brush. It is only natural that bad publicity about doctors and lawyers makes people distrust medicine and the justice system.

Even if the media never approach your company, you and your employees should be able to answer questions from your customers. Suppose a concerned parent approaches one of your technicians preparing to treat a school. How would your technician answer these questions?

        What kind of chemical will you be spraying?
        What kinds or risks are associated with this chemical?
        What kinds of safeguards do you employ to make sure the children are not exposed to pesticide?
        What kind of pest are you treating for?
        Are there ways to control this pest with fewer chemicals?

If you do not know what your technician would say, it is time for training. You may also consider a handout that would answer most common questions. Your technician could provide one to clients or other people who enquired. If you need help developing a handout, contact our office. The Extension Service can provide or direct you to a tremendous amount of information.

If you are considering the market for organic commodities, these offerings from PANUPS (12-10-03) might be useful. Your first stop should be your Extension Service. The following books and websites can provide valuable background, but the solutions they offer may not be suitable for your unique situation.

The Organic Research website http://www.organic-research.com/ provides subscribers access to a database of over 120,000 scientific documents on organic agriculture in both temperate and tropical climates. The site also offers research opportunities to non-subscribers, including links to farming education courses, farm web sites, and organic farming legislation. A free email newsletter updates subscribers to the latest news and research in organic agriculture. Subscription rates range from $150 for personal subscription to $890 for four user corporate subscription. Contact, Customer Services, CABI Publishing, CAB International, Wallingford, Oxfordshire, OX10 8DE, UK; phone (44 14 9) 183-2111; fax (44 14 9) 182-9292; email orders@cabi.org.

Opportunities in Agriculture: Transitioning to Organic Production, 2003 provides an overview of considerations to be made before and during a transition to organic agriculture. Outlines the key characteristics of a successful organic farmer and includes stories of transitions to organic. Summarizes organic farming certification, transition approaches, farming methods, and economic considerations associated with transition to an organic production model. 32 pages. Available for free download at: http://www.sare.org/bulletin/organic/. Contact UC SARE Program, 1 Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616; hone (530) 752-7556; fax (530) 754-8550; email sarep@ucdavis.edu; Web site http://www.sarep.ucdavis.edu/.

Organic Fruit Growing presents a step-by-step guide to planning, cultivating, maintaining, processing, and marketing organic fruit. 281 pages. US $100. Contact CABI Publishing, Wallingford OX10 8DE, United Kingdom; phone (44 01 49) 183-2111; fax (44 01 49) 183-3508; email cabi@cabi.org; Web site http://www.cabi-publishing.org/.

Selling Directly to Restaurants and Retailers, 2003 presents the proceedings of a November, 2002 workshop discussing successful direct marketing strategies for sustainable farmers. Provides a step-by-step guide to develop and maintain a sales relationship with restaurants and retailers and a list of resources. Available for free download at: http://www.sarep.ucdavis.edu/cdpp/farmersmkt.htm. Contact UC SARE Program, 1 Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616; hone (530) 752-7556; fax (530) 754-8550; email sarep@ucdavis.edu; Web site http://www.sarep.ucdavis.edu/.

The Organic Farm Certification and the National Organic Program provides a summary of organic certification based on the National Organic Program guidelines. Discusses the procedure necessary to achieve certification and the associated costs. 7 pages. Available for free download at: http://attra.ncat.org/organic.html. Contact Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA), National Center for Appropriate Technology, 3040 Continental Drive, Butte, MT 59701; phone (406) 494-4572; fax (406) 949-2905; email info@ncat.org; Web site http://attra.ncat.org//.

Don't Do It

Seven quail plantations in south Georgia were fined more than $300,000 for misusing pesticides. Under the terms of the settlement, KP, LLC (Kolomoki Plantation) and John Ray Stout will pay $100,000; Albemarle Plantation and Richard Roger Thomas will pay $40,000. The remaining $195,000 of the $335,000 penalty will be paid collectively by Nochaway Plantation and John L. Simms, Pinebloom Plantation, Ecila Plantation, and Wiley Jordan, J.W. Willis Property, and Pineland Plantation. A separate CAFO was filed against Nonami Enterprises (Nonami Plantation) on November 3, 2003, and assessed a penalty of $24,750.

Allegedly, the plantations injected the insecticide carbofuran into chicken eggs. The eggs were placed to kill quail predators. They reportedly killed hawks, songbirds, vultures, alligators, opossums, raccoons, skunks, coyotes, butterflies, and other insects, among others. The plantations certified that they would no longer use carbofuran to control predators.

In addition, criminal pleas have been filed in the U.S. District Court for misuse of a registered pesticide and "taking" (killing) a threatened species in the cases of Ecila Plantation, LLC, J. Wiley Jordan, John L. Simms, Richard Roger Thomas, and Fred Wenzel (former owner of Kolomoki Plantation). The Georgia Department of Agriculture had filed Orders of the Commissioner relating to the violations in the cases of B.F. Hodges, Bennett Supply Company (a restricted use pesticides dealer in GA), Ecila Plantation, L.L.C., Kolomoki Plantation, L.L.C., Nochaway Plantation, L.L.C., and Richard Thomas. (EPA Region IV Alphabet Soup)

Initial Health Care, Inc., a subsidiary of Rent-to-Kill was fined more than $14,000 for allegedly producing an unregistered, misbranded pesticide and other violations. The company made a product called the Sanitact Disposal Unit by mixing a registered antimicrobial with water and a deodorant. The mixture was poured into plastic trashcans and placed in restrooms in business facilities. (So that's what that smell is). The company agreed to pay the fine and discontinue the product. (EPA Region IV Alphabet Soup)

In the two cases above, why was the first fine $300,000 and the second only $14,000? In the first example, the defendants were thought to be deliberating misusing a pesticide with the specific intention of killing animals. In the latter situation, the company was using a registered product to make another, unregistered product. The company had no intention of creating a pesticide risk, and their active ingredient was a product registered with EPA (just by somebody else).

Never deliberately misuse pesticides, even if it seems like a good idea at the time. You put yourself and the environment at greater risk, and you jeopardize the continued registration of the product.

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: pguillebeau@bugs.ent.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