The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Your source for pest management and pesticide news

February 2003/Volume 26, No. 2

Have you ever used your pesticide emergency card?

HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT

At the time of printing, the United States was under orange alert for terrorism; a web site can help you secure your pesticides
The newly issued National Pesticide Competency Guidelines for Medical & Nursing Education and the National Pesticide Practice Skills Guidelines for Medical & Nursing Practice will help schools develop programs and information concerning pesticides
The CDC has released their second report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals

NEWS YOU CAN USE

The hard-copy 2003 editions of the Georgia Pest Management Handbook (formerly the Georgia Pest Control Handbook) are available for purchase
Believe me when I say I feel your pain when it comes to fire ants, but new discoveries may help our struggle
If your business is termites, you might want to enquire about a new identification tool
If your business is flies, you may be interested in the PCT Fly Management Summit
Here are some useful new items from EPA about pest management and pesticides around homes and schools
The PESTICIDE.NET, a commercial firm, is offering two workshops that may interest pesticide registrants or dealers

FEDERAL NEWS

The U.S. federal government transmitted our formal request for critical use exemptions for methyl bromide

FOOD QUALITY PROTECTION ACT -- REREGISTRATION

The EPA has released the preliminary comparative ecological risk assessment for the rodenticide cluster
The EPA started a new, aggressive program to protect drinking water from atrazine

IPM NOTEBOOK

A new regulation in New Jersey will stop chemical sprays in schools except as a last resort

DON'T DO IT

Lentek International, Inc. agreed to pay EPA fines of $120,000 for selling and distributing misbranded pesticidal devices and pesticides

Have you ever used your pesticide emergency card? We would like to know if our work helps you. Since 1996, we have distributed more than 30,000 plastic cards with pesticide emergency telephone numbers on one side and informational numbers on the reverse. If you have a pesticide spill or poisoning, help is as close as your wallet. The cards seem to be popular, but are they useful? If you have ever used your card, please let us know at pguillebeau@bugs.ent.uga.edu or 706-542-9031. You may also have suggestions for improving the cards.

My daughter used a card one day when her younger brother swallowed some ink from a pen. Although the situation was not really dangerous, my son was frantic (guess he had heard of the "poison pen"). A quick call to Poison Control solved the crisis; he had to swallow 20 erasers and some White-Out (just kidding).

Health and the Environment

At the time of printing, the United States was under orange alert for terrorism; a web site can help you secure your pesticides. Refer to the EPA Pesticide Alert:  Pesticide Security http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/citizens/pest_secu_alert.htm It would not be difficult for someone to cause quite a bit of mischief with pesticides. You can find more advice at http://www.aradc.org/secureagribusinessguidelines.pdf  Keep an eye on your pesticides and report theft promptly.

The newly issued National Pesticide Competency Guidelines for Medical & Nursing Education and the National Pesticide Practice Skills Guidelines for Medical & Nursing Practice will help schools develop programs and information concerning pesticides. The guidelines will help schools develop programs on pesticide health. They will also provide guidance directly to nurses and physicians to advance their awareness and skill in recognizing and managing pesticide-related illness. In addition, this publication will be a model for faculty and administrators trying to integrate specific pesticide issues into education and training. You can find the guidelines at www.neetf.org/health/providers/index.shtm  Hard copies will available later this year.

For more information, contact The National Environmental Education & Training Foundation; National Strategies for Health Care Providers: Pesticides Initiative; 1707 H Street, NW, Suite 900; Washington, DC, 20006-3915; (202) 833-2933, x 535.

The CDC has released their second report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals. The first report, released about two years ago, sampled for 27 chemicals. The second report presents blood and urine levels for 116 chemicals, including quite a few pesticides. These studies are critical, but they are only the first step. It is not surprising to find pesticides and other environmental chemicals in humans. The next, more difficult, step is to determine what levels of what chemicals (or combinations) have implications for human health. For some chemicals, such as lead, we have good data on blood/urine levels that cause health problems. Unfortunately, we have little or no data for many chemicals and chemical combinations.

Some of the data are quite interesting. The pesticide DDT breaks down to a chemical called DDE. DDT was banned for use in the United States in the 1970s. Although the levels of DDT exposure are clearly lower, serum DDE was still found in the age groups from 12-19 years, even though they were born well after DDT was banned in this country. For Mexican-Americans, the serum level of DDE was three times higher than the levels found in non-Hispanic blacks or non-Hispanic whites. DDT is a very persistent chemical; we are probably being exposed to DDT residues from applications made decades ago.

The study provides baseline data for exposure to chlorpyrifos, the active ingredient in Dursban/Lorsban and a number of other products. Until recently, chlorpryrifos was registered for use around the home and on dozens of food crops. The EPA canceled the home uses. Urine samples showed that children had chlorpyrifos levels that were twice as high as levels in adults. This result will trouble some people, but it is not surprising. Children eat, drink, and breathe at a much higher rate than adults for the body weight. How many adults do you know that can still run around like a 2-year old? Additionally, children may be more likely to be exposed because they spend more time on the floor/ground, and they are more likely to put things in their mouth. No one knows if the levels of chlorpyrifos found have health implications for children or adults.

The CDC plans to do additional studies at two-year intervals. Those data will show us if exposures to specific chemicals are increasing or decreasing.  You can read the summary report at http://www.cdc.gov/exposurereport/pdf/nersummary.pdf

News You Can Use

The hard-copy 2003 editions of the Georgia Pest Management Handbook (formerly the Georgia Pest Control Handbook) are available for purchase.  The hard copy of the Homeowner edition ($15) is available through your local Extension office as a Print-on-Demand publication.  We expect delivery of the Commercial edition ($20) hard copies today. You can order them through the UGA Ag Business Office, Room 203, Conner Hall, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602 (706) 542-8999.

You can refer to the internet version for free (homeowner and commercial editions are not separate) at http://entomology.ent.uga.edu/

Believe me when I say I feel your pain when it comes to fire ants, but new discoveries may help our struggle. The red imported fire ant (RIFA), Solenopsis invicta, was accidentally introduced into the United States in 1929 from South America. South America only has about 1/5 of the RIFA we have, probably because North America lacks natural enemies of the ant. About 40 percent of people in infested areas are stung by RIFA each year, and the ants change the ecology dramatically as they greatly reduce populations of native ants, other insects, and ground-nesting wildlife. In addition, RIFA damage crops and electrical equipment. RIFA damage and control costs exceed $6 billion a year. In the South, our only consolation is the little #$!%$! are spreading North.

Scientists with USDA-ARS are working with several diseases that infect fire ant colonies. Thelohania solenopsae is a single-celled protozoan parasite that reduces the queen's weight, and she lays fewer eggs. Colonies die out after 9 to 18 months. Fire ants will accept brood (larvae and pupae) from other colonies, and researchers discovered they could infect colonies by introducing brood that carry the pathogen. Unfortunately, the transfer of live larvae and pupae is very tedious and not entirely effective. However, a T. solenopsaespore type may be able to initiate infection. Another pathogen, Vairimorpha invictae, is more lethal but less common. This disease is hard to keep alive in the laboratory, so the scientists have infected colonies sent from Argentina. A newly discovered disease is called yellow-head because it causes the head and other body parts to turn a yellow-orange. Although the disease causes extreme changes in appearance, scientists do not know if it will be a useful control agent.

The USDA team is also looking at insects that can help control fire ants. Ironically, one is an ant that is a parasite of fire ants. The parasitic ant queen just hangs around laying eggs, and the fire ant colony cares for the parasite brood. Mound densities were reduced 33 percent in sites with the parasitic ant, and the number of fire ant queens in parasitized colonies was reduced 47 percent.

Believe it or not, the fire ants seem to be scared of something, phorid flies. The flies lay an egg in a fire ant. The egg hatches, and the larval feeding causes the ant's head to drop off. Needless to say, the ants hate it. The presence of the flies makes the ants reluctant to leave the mound. The fire ants change their foraging behavior, giving native ants a competitive advantage. There are about 20 phorid species that attack fire ants, so we have a lot of potential weapons. So far, two phorid fly species have been established in the United States, and a third species has been approved for release. One species is expanding its range 10 to 20 miles a year; it is being used in Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

An ongoing area-wide project is intended to demonstrate how to keep fire ant populations at very low levels with a combination of phorid flies and fire ant pathogens. Diverse demonstration sites up to 300 acres were established in five states. The project, begun in 2001, will last up to five years. (Agricultural Research, 2-03)

If your business is termites, you might want to enquire about a new identification tool. The PCT Media Group is selling a new CD-ROM that uses high-resolution photography and 3-D imaging to illustrate the finer points of termite identification and control. The CD contains images of 21 commonly encountered termite species, and 3-D technology enables users to rotate and zoom in on images. Other program features include a fully searchable glossary of technical terms, printable homeowner fact sheets, an interactive taxonomic key, and a termite identification testing component. If you want to order one, call 800-456-0707. It will cost you about $50.

If your business is flies, you may be interested in the PCT Fly Management Summit. I am not sure that "summit" is the term I would use for a fly meeting, but I know it is tough to come up with different names for meetings. Anyway, you can get the details at http://www.pctflysummit.com/seminar.asp

Here are some useful new items from EPA about pest management and pesticides around homes and schools. Free copies of the Spanish version of "Help Yourself to a Healthy Home" (Contribuya a Tener un Hogar Sano) are now available. This booklet, developed by the University of Wisconsin's Home*A*Syst program, is geared for the consumer and answers important questions about the home and how you live in it. By answering the questions, the reader can find out if their home is "healthy," or if they need to make some changes. There are nine sections in the booklet, including one on pesticide safety. Every chapter provides basic information about a particular environmental issue, e.g. indoor air quality, pesticides, carbon monoxide, lead, mold and moisture, etc.; questions to help readers decide whether any of these are issues of concern in their homes; and simple "action steps" to address these concerns. Interested in copies of this booklet? E-mail Kathy Seikel at seikel.kathy@epa.gov or call 703-308-8272.

  1. Pest Control in the School Environment, the popular 1993 EPA publication designed to acquaint readers with IPM as a potential alternative to scheduled spraying of pesticides
  2. Who Wants to be an IPM Super Sleuth? Integrated Pest Management Activities and Resources for Kids of All Ages developed by the IPM Institute of North America
  3. Neato Mosquito, the CD developed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) which contains a 4th grade curriculum designed to teach kids about mosquito biology through the use of animation, video images, interactive games, and student projects
  4. A CDC-developed video about mosquito biology.

All four items are available on CD from Henry Rupp at rupp.henry@epa.gov or call 732-906-6178.

Free copies of posters and stickers (bumper sticker size) urging consumers to use pesticides safely are available in both English and Spanish.

  1. "Learn to Use Pesticides Safely" (posters or stickers)
  2. "Pesticides Are Meant to Poison These... [BUGS] Not These" [KIDS] (posters)

Call EPA at 703-305-5017 to order. You could create a uniquely themed birthday party on the cheap.

The PESTICIDE.NET, a commercial firm, is offering two workshops that may interest pesticide registrants or dealers.  "FIFRA Boot Camp for Pesticide Registrants" is scheduled for April 23 & 24. "Stopping Unfair Competition from Illegal Pesticides and Misleading Claims" will be held Thursday, February 27th. You can find more information at www.pesticide.net/workshop I know nothing about PESTICIDE.NET, but I have not seen this kind of training offered before. Check it out carefully before you spend any money.

Federal News

The U.S. federal government transmitted our formal request for critical use exemptions for methyl bromide. The United States is submitting a two-year exemption starting in 2005. The first year's request is 39 percent of our 1991 baseline use; the 2006 request is for 37 percent of our baseline. The U.S. baseline is 25,528 metric tons (about 56 million pounds). In 1999, U.S. consumption was about 17,400 metric tons (about 38 million pounds). If we get our entire request for 39 percent of our baseline, the United States will be allowed 9956 metric tons (21.9 million pounds). There is also a provision to use leftover methyl bromide, so the amount available for use will be somewhat greater.

The U.S. request has been submitted to the Ozone Secretariat of the United Nations.  The Ozone Secretariat will now forward the nomination package to the Methyl Bromide Technical Options Committee (MBTOC), an advisory group that provides technical expertise on methyl bromide to the Parties. MBTOC will review the nomination requests received and make recommendations to the Parties. In November 2003, the Parties to the Protocol will meet and review the MBTOC recommendations and authorize the continued production and import of methyl bromide after 2005 to meet authorized critical needs. Mix with a liberal dose of international politics; serve cold. Voila, methyl bromide surprise.

Food Quality Protection Act -- Reregistration

The EPA has released the preliminary comparative ecological risk assessment for the rodenticide cluster, including brodifacoum, bromadiolone, bromethalin, chlorophacinone, diphacinone, zinc phosphide, warfarin, difethialone, and cholecalciferol. If you care about rodenticides, you should take a look and submit comments to EPA. You can find the assessment at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/rodenticidecluster/ Comments are due March 31, 2003.

The EPA started a new, aggressive program to protect drinking water from atrazine.  Atrazine is the most heavily used pesticide in the United States; the primary uses are corn, sugarcane, and residential lawns. Atrazine has been of concern because it has been widely detected in drinking water, particularly in the corn belt. At times, the detected levels exceeded EPA safety standards for atrazine. The Agency strategy calls for intensive, targeted monitoring of raw water entering certain community water systems in areas of atrazine use. If atrazine is detected above the Agency standard, use in that watershed may be prohibited.

The principal registrant, Syngenta, agreed to conduct a specialized testing program in vulnerable watersheds on a weekly basis to monitor drinking water during high-use periods for this pesticide. If the Agency's regulatory safety standards are exceeded in raw drinking water, atrazine use is cancelled in that geographic area. The weekly monitoring is more stringent that testing required by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), which required monitoring of drinking water coming out of the tap. The new plan tests the water as it enters the community system.

In areas that are not labeled as 'vulnerable,' monitoring for atrazine will continue as required by SDWA. Detections of atrazine approaching the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for atrazine will trigger additional monitoring and regulatory oversight. If the MCL is violated, the pesticide manufacturer is required to take the steps necessary to assist the community water system return to compliance with the atrazine MCL.

Finally, EPA has not forgotten that atrazine is a suspect in the widespread deformities found in amphibians. An independent scientific panel will review the available data later in the year.

You can find details on the web http://www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/reregistration/atrazine/

IPM Notebook

A new regulation in New Jersey will stop chemical sprays in schools except as a last resort. If state-approved pesticides are used, school officials must notify each parent and staff member 72 hours in advance, and students will not be allowed onto school grounds until seven hours after their use. A similar Pennsylvania law will take effect Jan. 1, allowing school districts to choose to notify all parents about pesticide use, or just those who have requested it. The New Jersey Pest Management Association, a coalition of professional exterminators, worked with environmental groups and the bill's sponsors to craft the legislation. (Philadelphia Inquirer,12-13-02)

This type of regulation is moving across the country. We need to do two things. First, get the IPM in Schools programs rolling. We reached a disappointing plateau, with a lot of lip service and little action. I will take my share of the blame, and we will do our share to get the program cooking again. Secondly, we need to be sure that pest management professionals and schools are involved in crafting legislation. A poorly written law could do great harm and little good.

If you are interested in an IPM in Schools program, you know where to find us.

Don't Do It!

Lentek International, Inc. agreed to pay EPA fines of $120,000 for selling and distributing misbranded pesticidal devices and pesticides. The company makes ultrasonic mosquito repelling devices, other pest repelling and electronic devices, and pesticide pads. Violations included the use of the EPA emblem on their product labeling, making safety claims not allowed under FIFRA, failure to identify the facility in which the product was manufactured on the product label, and denial of entry of state inspectors to the facility.  (Alphabet Soup, 1-03)

A few weeks ago, I was shopping near another man in a warehouse shopping club. I watched him place about $60 worth of ultrasonic pest control devices in his cart.  As I am wont, I stuck my nose into his business. I advised him that my colleagues and I had little confidence in ultrasonic control devices for spiders or other household pests. Incredibly perceptive, the man recognized my genius and placed the items back on the shelf. After a few moments, he retrieved the ultrasonics and put them back in his cart.

Seeing my confusion, he explained, "I believe you when you say these contraptions won't drive spiders out of the house. However, my wife hates spiders, and she drives me crazy with her complaints about them. These devices may not help control spiders, but they will give me some peace and quiet. I think they are well worth the price."

His philosophy gave me a different perspective about pest management and the value of "worthless" pest control devices. Since then, I have recognized similar stories from pest control operators and school administrators facing pressure to do something about a perceived pest problem. Sometimes, there is no practical solution, but doing nothing may not be an option.

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, just call us at 706-542-2816

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:

Dr. Paul Guillebeau, Associate Professor & Extension Entomologist