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

Your Source for Pest Management and Pesticide News

February 2001
Volume 24, no. 2

KEEP GPMN COMING!

If your address changes, let us know

FOOD QUALITY PROTECTION ACT/REREGISTRATION

The comment period for the malathion risk assessment closes February 12
Changes in administration may bring about changes in FQPA implementation

HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT

More than 120 countries have agreed upon treaty language that would ban twelve persistent organic pollutants
People who are overexposed to pesticides often need immediate medical assistance
The National Pesticide Telecommunications Network is a toll-free telephone and internet service that provides information about a wide range of pesticide issues
The National Antimicrobial Information Network provides similar information about antimicrobials
Rabies may not be in the ordinary scope of our newsletter, but this notification could save a life

NEW TOOLS

For many people, the Asian lady beetle is a plague
Now available at the EPA web site, every pesticide label for every product that has a Section 3 registration

FEDERAL NEWS

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the EPA gave Monsanto experimental use permits to plant thousands of acres of an experimental, genetically engineered corn without public notification required by law
New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman has been approved as the new administrator for EPA
An interesting combination of pesticide fee events could occur in 2001
The EPA has issued new guidance for first aid instructions on pesticide labeling

BIOTECHNOLOGY

A scientist with the University of Wisconsin discovered a molecular barrier that can block foreign genes from corn
Soon, extension scientists and consultants will have a new tool to correctly identify mites
Lichens may be the source of new herbicides

DON'T DO IT!

Don't fall for the pitch of the pesticide shysters that seem to come calling every year
If your small business violates an environmental regulation, you can receive more lenient treatment if you report the violations yourself

Keep GPMN Coming!

If your address changes, let us know. We drop quite a few people from our mailing list because the newsletter is returned.

Food Quality Protection Act/Reregistration

The comment period for the malathion risk assessment closes February 12. The EPA's current risk assessment indicates that malathion is not a concern from dietary exposure or malathion applications for mosquito control. However, the Agency had some concerns associated with worker exposure and children's exposure associated with malathion applications around the home. The risk assessment is posted at www.epa.gov/pesticides

Changes in administration may bring about changes in FQPA implementation. The Agency may begin the process of the cumulative risk assessment in 2001. This process would estimate the cumulative risks of all pesticides with a similar toxic mode of action (e.g., organophosphate insecticides). We are nervous about this process. I went to a technical briefing on the EPA's initial ideas, and the process needed work and data. If EPA pushes forward, they may be overly reliant on assumptions that overestimate the risks. The Agency may decide to wait for the cumulative assessment. According to Pesticide & Toxic Chemical News (1-8-01), FQPA requires the cumulative assessment, but FQPA does not specify when the cumulative assessment must start. The Agency could continue with individual assessments of organophosphates, carbamates, or other pesticides.

Do not look for Congress or the White House to make sweeping changes regarding FQPA. Pesticide law is a tricky, thankless business.

Health and the Environment

More than 120 countries, including the United States, have agreed upon treaty language that would ban 12 persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Nine of the chemicals will be banned in about five years when the treaty is scheduled for signing. The POPs are of particular concern because their persistence allows them to migrate far from the original use site, and many of them accumulate in fatty tissue. POPs have been linked to a number of diseases including birth defects and cancer.

Many of the POPs scheduled for a ban are pesticides, including aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, mirex, and toxaphene. These names will be familiar to many agricultural producers because all of the pesticides were widely used on a variety of crops. Some of these pesticides are used in countries around the world. For example, DDT is an important mosquito control in poor countries where malaria remains a scourge. Under the treaty, DDT use will be permitted until other inexpensive alternatives can be discovered.

Although the United States and many other countries have banned these pesticides, they remain of concern. According to the Pesticide Action Network, POPs are common in almost all food products. You can read their report at www.panna.org/resources/documents/nowhereToHideMedia.dv.html
(Pesticide & Environmental News, 12-14-00)

This report will affect many people in one of two ways. One group will not worry or even acknowledge a problem. The other group will suffer a great deal of anxiety over the effects of chlordane that was applied to their home more than two decades ago. As with many things, the best course of action is somewhere in the middle.

It is true that many older homes and millions of agricultural acres have been treated with DDT, chlordane, aldrin, and other POP pesticides. However, the pesticides have been covered with soil over the years or the pesticide was applied in or under the house foundation. In these circumstances, human exposure is very small, but exposure could be greatly increased by disturbing the soil or foundation in an attempt to remove the chemical entirely.

In other situations, I am very concerned about these POP pesticides, and we are taking action. There are millions of pounds of these pesticides lying around in old farm buildings and abandoned businesses across the United States. Many times, the current owner of the property is not aware of the pesticide or the potential risks.

In Georgia, the UGA Cooperative Extension Service and the Georgia Department of Agriculture have teamed up to collect and dispose of POP pesticides and other unwanted pesticides. Georgia Clean Day has already collected more than 500,000 pounds of pesticides in Georgia. The pesticides are safely disposed of or destroyed.

If you discover old pesticides, do not assume the pesticides have lost their toxicity. NEVER pour them down the drain or on the ground. Never throw large amounts of pesticide into the trash. Store the pesticides safely. Place old pesticide containers into secure metal or plastic drums. Seal the drums tightly and keep them away from children. Contact your county Extension agent about the next Clean Day event in your area. Many other states have similar programs. If your state does not have a pesticide disposal program, show this article to your state legislator and ask them to contact me. The cost of this type of program is very cheap when you consider the risks to human health and environment associated with abandoned pesticides.

Upcoming Georgia Clean Days are scheduled for February 21 in Spalding County and February 22 in Tattnall County. If you live in these areas, contact your local Extension office for details.

People who are overexposed to pesticides often need immediate medical assistance, but be sure to protect yourself as well. An emergency room patient had intentionally swallowed two insecticides. The patient presented vomiting along with profuse oral and bronchial secretions (you may not understand the medical terms precisely, but you know what was going on). Three nurses also required treatment for pesticide poisoning; two were hospitalized. One nurse came into contact with the secretions. The other two only shared breathing space with the patient. Eventually, the patient and the nurses recovered, but this incident underscores the importance of appropriate protective clothing for rescue workers and emergency personnel. (Agromedicine Program Update, 1-15-01)

The National Pesticide Telecommunications Network is a toll-free telephone and internet service that provides information about a wide range of pesticide issues. This service of EPA and Oregon State University can answer questions about toxicology, poisoning, environmental impacts, etc. You can contact them from 9:30a.m. to 7:30p.m. (Eastern time) seven days a week (1-800-858-7378). You can also ask questions via e-mail nptn@ace.orst.edu or visit their web site http://nptn.orst.edu/

The National Antimicrobial Information Network provides similar information about antimicrobials. Contact them if you have questions about toxicology, effectiveness, regulation, etc., of antimicrobial chemicals. 1-800-447-6349 or nain@ace.orst.edu or http://ace.orst.edu/info/nain

Rabies may not be in the ordinary scope of our newsletter, but this notification could save a life. In October 2000, a Georgia man developed unexplained nausea and vomiting. Over-the-counter medications did not help, and he was admitted to the hospital by the late afternoon. His condition worsened, and he was placed on a ventilator within the next two days. The man's condition improved temporarily, but he died about a week later.

The man had been renting a room in an old house; he told coworkers that he had discovered bats in his room on several occasions and once under the bedclothes. He said nothing about a bite. Unknown to this man, he had contacted rabies from the bats. Bats are small mammals, and their bites are often undetected or considered insignificant. However, nearly 60 percent of the 37 U.S. human rabies cases from 1981-1999 were transmitted to humans from bats.

If a rabid animal bites you, the treatment is very effective IF you are treated in time. Otherwise, rabies is nearly always fatal. Rabies is rare in the United States, but follow these guidelines to protect yourself and your family.

  1. Exclude bats from your home. Do not let them nest in the attic. In addition to the rabies risk, bat guano carries the risk of histoplasmosis, another serious disease.
  2. If you have a bat population in your home, contact your local Extension office for advice. It is illegal to kill bats in Georgia; you may need professional help to remove bats.
  3. Never handle bats directly with your hands, and never try to keep a bat for a pet.
  4. Keep the rabies vaccinations current for all of your pets.
  5. Consult a physician in any case when a bat is discovered in the room with a child or a person that is sleeping, mentally impaired, or intoxicated. The bite may go unnoticed or undetected.
  6. Ask your physician about post-exposure prophylaxis treatment. Rabies cannot be ruled out by testing the bat.
  7. Within the next two weeks, we will publish more information about controlling bats and other common household pests.
    (Georgia Epidemiology, 12-00)

Sorry if this story seems inappropriate for GPMN. We watched Old Yeller over the weekend.

New Tools

For many people, the Asian lady beetle, Harmonia axyridis, is a plague because the beetles may enter homes by the thousands as they seek hibernation sites. A new USDA web site can help. The site includes fact sheets and directions for building an indoor trap to captures beetles that enter the home. You will also find commercial sources for the traps. Companies that build traps should visit the USDA site to register their company as a vendor.
www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2000/001030.beetlefacts.htm

Now available at the EPA web site (www.epa.gov/pesticides ), every pesticide label for every product that has a Section 3 registration. This system can be very useful, particularly when you need to see an obscure label. The database is organized by EPA registration number. Because the labels are pictures, not text, you must have the registration number to find a particular label. If you do not have the registration number, you can search all federal registrations by product name, active ingredient, or company name at www.cdpr.ca.gov/dprdatabase.htm You can obtain the registration number from this database.

If you need a label for a common product or a product from a major company, it is usually easier to search for the product name or visit the company web site. All major pesticide companies and many smaller ones have a web site with all of the product labels.

Keep in mind that a pesticide must also be registered in the state where it is sold.

Federal News

According to the Chemical Regulation Reporter (vol 27: 47), the U.S. phase-out of methyl bromide has been extended until January 1, 2005. This revision puts the United States in accord with the international phase out defined under the Montreal Protocol. The production and consumption of methyl bromide must be cut by 50 percent of the 1991 level beginning January 1, 2001, and by 70 percent beginning January 1, 2003. You can find the details at www.epa.gov/ozone/mbr/ (Chemically Speaking, 11,12-00)

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the EPA gave Monsanto experimental use permits to plant thousands of acres of an experimental, genetically engineered corn without public notification required by law. Apparently, the Agency issued the experimental use permits in April 2000. The permits should have been noted in the Federal Register. However, the first public notice of the experiments occurred in the December Federal Register when Monsanto asked for an extension of one permit. Agency rules clearly direct EPA to publish the active ingredients, use patterns, quantity of pesticide, total acreage, and location of application when any experimental use permit is issued.

It is also unclear how much corn was planted. The experiments called for corn plantings in 27 states, but acreage estimates range from about 3,700 total acres to more than 95,000 total acres. (Pesticide & Environmental News, 1-15-01)

The most likely explanation is that EPA committed an honest error, but it could not have occurred at a worse time. Much of the public is still concerned about the StarLink debacle of just a few months ago. The announcement that pollen from Bt corn could kill monarch butterflies is still fresh. Now, this omission makes it appear that EPA is either intentionally hiding biotechnology experiments or that the Agency is asleep at the switch. Neither of these possibilities instills public confidence.

Ironically, these experiments could lead to corn varieties that could produce tremendous environmental savings. The corn in question is intended to control corn rootworm. Currently, corn rootworm control includes the application of soil insecticides over millions of corn acres. Additionally, the rootworm populations are unpredictable, and insecticide is applied to many acres unnecessarily.

New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman has been approved as the new administrator for EPA. Governor Whitman has made substantial environmental progress in New Jersey during her seven-year tenure. She has been a national leader for the preservation of green space. The governor's goal was the preservation of one million acres of farmland and forests; the state program has preserved 225,000 acres so far. New Jersey has a program in which the state government shares recovery costs of contaminated areas with developers. The program's dual intent is to restore the contaminated area and generate tax revenue from the area as soon as possible. In New Jersey, both environmentalists and industry have praised Whitman for her accessibility and balance in environmental issues.

On the other hand, Governor Whitman cut the Department of Environmental Protection by 738 staff and $32 million. The Campaign to Defend Our Clean Water Laws maintains the state has not implemented any federally mandated cleanup plans for the 1,042 waterways suspected of not meeting water quality standards. (Pesticide & Environmental News, 1-8-01)

An interesting combination of pesticide fee events could occur in 2001 as authorization for reregistration fees (maintenance fees) expires and prohibition of registration fees also expires. If maintenance fees are not renewed, the Agency could face a serious budget shortfall relative to reregistration and special review. If the maintenance fees are renewed, EPA could impose registration fees on top of maintenance fees on top of tolerance fees.

The Agency would like to increase the first-time, food-use tolerance fee from $65,000 to $504,000 (the increase is not a typo). The Office of Pesticide Programs promises better service for the inflated fee. (Pesticide & Environmental News, 1-8-01)

Understandably, the industry would prefer not to pay nearly 800 percent more for a first-time food tolerance. They may be skeptical that the EPA service would be 800 percent better, particularly if maintenance fees expire, causing a budget shortfall. My prediction is that the Bush administration will side with industry on this issue.

The EPA has issued new guidance for first aid instructions on pesticide labeling. As you may know, the 'first aid' section of a pesticide label is currently titled 'Statement of Practical Treatment' (maybe you always wondered what that section was about). The Agency wants the first aid section to be entitled 'First Aid.' There is also additional guidance for particular pesticides, placement of telephone numbers, and advice for contact lens users. Some medical organizations and doctors feel it advisable to rinse the eye, remove the contact lens, and rinse the eye more thoroughly.

Guidance documents from the EPA are not mandatory; they are intended to initiate dialogue about particular areas of concern. The Agency will welcome ideas and suggestions. Have a look at the new guidance document at www.epa.gov/pesticides If the advised language is not clear to you, it will almost certainly be confusing to other pesticide users as well.

Biotechnology

A scientist with the University of Wisconsin discovered a molecular barrier that can block foreign genes from corn. Some countries and companies want suppliers to ensure the product has no genes from genetically engineered corn. Currently, genes in pollen from bioengineered corn could contaminate non-engineered corn. This possibility is particularly troubling to producers who grow corn for the organic market.

A wild cousin of maize called teosinte has a barrier that enables the plant to block foreign maize genes. A single gene codes for the barrier. According to the scientists, this gene can be introduced into corn lines to ensure their genetic integrity. Hybrid corn with the genetic barrier should be available commercially within three years. www.news.wisc.edu

I understand the utility of this new gene, but this story raises some interesting points. Many people are concerned about genetically engineered corn because 'it isn't natural' and because of concerns about potential health effects of consuming this unnatural food. Obviously, the gene for the barrier will have to be introduced through traditional plant breeding. However, it is likely that that traditional breeding process will also introduce some unknown genes from teosinte as well. Is anyone concerned about consuming the products from those genes? What about the genetic barrier itself? Is anyone concerned about children consuming a protein that blocks out foreign genes?

I am not trying to create a public scare, and I think that this technology will have useful applications. I am simply pointing out the irony often associated with public fears and the crazy logic that determines what is 'natural = safe' and 'not natural = dangerous'.

Soon, extension scientists and consultants will have a new tool to correctly identify mites. One of the basic tenets of pest management is proper identification of the pest. Correct identification and knowledge of the pest biology/ecology are critical to implementing an effective IPM program.

Mite ID is often a problem because of their small size and the lack of experts who can quickly identify mites. Scientists with USDA have applied low-temperature scanning electron microscopy to produce clear, three-dimensional images of mites magnified more than 50,000 times. Under this magnification, even minute details of mites are revealed. Contact Dr. Ronald Ochoa for details at rochoa@sel.barc.usda.gov (ESA Newsletter, 12-00)

Lichens may be the source of new herbicides. Lichens are not one organism but two living symbiotically. An alga provides sugars for itself and its partner, a fungus. The fungus provides the home and protection for the alga. One common lichen metabolite, usnic acid, blocks photosynthesis. This discovery could lead to new types of herbicides. You can find more details at http://www.nps.ars.usda.gov/ (Agricultural Research, 1-01)

Don't Do It!

Don't fall for the pitch of the pesticide shysters that seem to come calling every year. The pesticide peddlers usually call commercial pesticide users, but homeowners may also be targeted. The scams are always similar. They have a 'miracle' product that is not available at your dealer, or they offer pesticides at prices so low 'they must be crazy.' The actual products usually fall in two categories. Either the product is something commonly available under another name or the concentration is so low that the price is no bargain.

These callers may not be doing anything illegal, but 'misrepresentation of the product' is certainly part of their game. However, the purpose of the entire scam may be to obtain your credit card number. NEVER give anyone your credit card number if they call you. ONLY buy pesticides from a reputable dealer.

The latest report came to us from the Extension office in Dahlonega (thanks Shep). The caller claimed to work for Center States Supply in Springfield, Ill. The products were called 'Triple Threat' and 'Turf King.' I am not accusing Center States Supply of anything illegal, but I have never heard of a satisfied customer that purchased pesticides from a telephone solicitor.

If your small business violates an environmental regulation, you can receive more lenient treatment if you report the violations yourself. Under the EPA small business (less than 100 employees) policy, the EPA can waive penalties for eligible businesses if they promptly report the violation and correct the violations. You can read more about the policy at www.epa.gov/oeca/smbusi.html

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 Control 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, just call us at 706-542-1765

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://www.ces.uga.edu/Agriculture/entomology/pestnewsletter/newsarchive.html

Sincerely:

Paul Guillebeau, Associate Professor & Extension Entomologist