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

Your source for pest management and pesticide news

January 2004/Volume 27, No. 1

We are looking for ways to serve you better in 2004
We are looking for public libraries and extension offices to participate in our new IPM education project
The 2004 pesticide workshop scheduled for February 6 is cancelled
Extension agents need to review any old publications you have on hand that contain pesticide recommendations

HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT

According to a study from India, chronic exposure to endosulfan may interfere with male sexual development

FEDERAL NEWS

The EPA Office of Pesticide Programs met near the end of last year to discuss their priorities
The newspaper USA Today (10-05-03) reported that a new policy adopted by the Bush administration is intended to limit your ability to sue pesticide and herbicide makers when pesticides do not work as promised on their labels
The future of methyl bromide is still undecided
Facilities that produce pesticides are required to report to EPA by March 1

BIOTECHNOLOGY

The estimated global area of transgenic crops for 2003 was more than 167 million acres grown by 7 million farmers in 18 countries
According to PANUPS (1-09-04), the widespread use of transgenic crops has increased the use of agricultural pesticides
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization released a new publication on genetically modified fish

NEWS YOU CAN USE

The Pest Control Technology Ant Management Summit is scheduled for March 10-12 in Atlanta
Are you looking for an easy way to locate UGA information on the Internet?
The EPA has several publications that might interest you
If you are interested in registering pesticides, this workshop is for you
Here are two possibilities for grant money

CANCELLED

Registrants have officially asked EPA to cancel all diazinon home and garden end-use products

DON'T DO IT

William C. Murphy of Glencoe, Ala., pled guilty on Jan. 5 to 17 counts of violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act and 11 counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods


We are looking for ways to serve you better in 2004. If you have suggestions for products that make your life easier, contact us. My new e-mail address is bugman@uga.edu

We are looking for public libraries and extension offices to participate in our new IPM education project. The USDA gave us a grant to educate the public about the benefits of integrated pest management. We are developing displays, brochures, and promotional items to help people understand how IPM can reduce pesticide risks and effectively manage pests. The project will explain the benefits of IPM in agricultural and urban settings, as well as teaching people how to apply IPM principles around the home to reduce pesticide risks. There will be no cost to the libraries or local extension offices. If you want to participate, please contact us right away.

The 2004 pesticide workshop scheduled for February 6 is cancelled. We apologize for any inconvenience to you. Attendance was down in 2003, and expenses have increased. It seemed like a good time to use some resources for other types of recertification activities. Look for workbooks, web activities, videotapes, and other opportunities to get the credits you need. We will also try to target training materials more closely to categories. A lack of focus was a common complaint regarding the satellite workshop; broad topics were inevitable since we were offering credits to nearly every category. Please let me know if you have ideas for recertification materials or if you need resources to develop some product. We would be glad to work with you.

Extension agents need to review any old publications you have on hand that contain pesticide recommendations. A caller reported that an extension bulletin about squirrel control recommended burial of pesticide wastes, an option that is no longer legal or recommended. I have not seen that old squirrel publication, but I suspect that it may also contain pesticide recommendations that are illegal today. If you find bulletins with out-of-date information, you can either thoroughly mark out the obsolete language, or you can throw away the publications. If you need a replacement, let us know.

Health and the Environment

According to a study from India, chronic exposure to endosulfan may interfere with male sexual development. Endosulfan is an organochlorine insecticide that is widely used in the United States (more than one million lbs applied in 2001) and other countries. It is reported to be the third most commonly used pesticide in India.

In the southern Indian town of Padre, many people take irrigation water and fish from streams that run through a cashew plantation. Until December 2000, the cashew growers sprayed the trees with endosulfan several times a year. Habibullah Saiyed of the National Institute of Occupational Health and his colleagues collected blood from Padre residents and village -- water samples 10 months after the last spray.

The team examined 117 Padre schoolboys between 10 and 19 years old and a comparable group of boys from a town 20 kilometers away, where there had been no endosulfan spraying.

Blood tests indicated the pesticide's presence in more than three-quarters of the boys in the Padre group, whereas less than a third of the control group's blood samples showed endosulfan. The results demonstrate the overall environmental prevalence of this pesticide.

Reproductive development of each boy was evaluated using a sexual-maturity rating based on the size of the penis and testes and the development of pubic hair. After taking age into account, the researchers found that boys in Padre scored significantly lower on all three measurements than boys from the other village did. They also found that the blood concentration of testosterone was lower in the Padre boys.

According to the Indian research team, these finding suggest that we should use endosulfan very cautiously or not at all. Some other scientists think the results may represent natural variations in sexual development. A larger study would be needed to prove that endosulfan caused this effect. (Science News, 12-13-03)

In any case, this report raises additional concerns about endosulfan. People have other concerns about health and/or environmental risks associated with endosulfan. Frankly, I am somewhat surprised that endosulfan is still registered in the United States. These latest findings may mean the end of endosulfan. If you depend on endosulfan, you would be wise to document the importance of endosulfan to your industry. If EPA reevaluates endosulfan, it would be useful to have information on both the risks and the benefits.

Federal News

The EPA Office of Pesticide Programs met near the end of last year to discuss their priorities.

Pesticide Worker Safety -- One of the Agency's primary goals under its Strategic Plan is to assure safe workplaces and communities by reducing harmful exposure to pesticides.

The EPA list of priorities gives us insight into a couple of important areas. WPS is not going away, and the Agency seems determined to ensure compliance. Agricultural producers will ignore WPS at their peril. If you need help with WPS compliance, the Cooperative Extension Service can help.

Be on the alert for regulatory changes related to pesticide spray drift and/or endangered species. We need to make sure that any decisions are based on an appropriate balance of the risks and benefits.

Do not condone the misuse of pesticides. The Agency is concerned about the use of agricultural pesticides in urban areas. The quickest way to lose a valuable pesticide is to misuse it. Do not give people pesticides unless you know they will use them safely.

Look for grant money in these priority areas. If you have an idea, write it down or send it to us. We will be glad to work with you.

The newspaper USA Today (10-05-03) reported that a new policy adopted by the Bush administration is intended to limit your ability to sue pesticide and herbicide makers when pesticides do not work as promised on their labels. The new policy was not announced publicly, and it is a reversal of longstanding federal support of a citizen's right to sue pesticide companies. The Bush administration believes that federal law bars this type of lawsuit. The new interpretation will have significant impact in court. If you file suit for pesticide damages, you will have to convince the court that the federal government is wrong.

The administration's reversal is based on a reinterpretation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Under FIFRA, EPA establishes labeling requirements for pesticides, and states are typically not allowed to regulate pesticides with stricter rules. Although court rulings have been mixed, many judges have ruled that pesticide companies who comply with federal rules are protected from claims that they did not disclose all potential risks.

Reaction to the policy change has been mixed. Pesticide companies are happy because they typically must defend themselves against millions of dollars in lawsuits each year. The money the companies spend on defense could be spent on research and development of new pesticide products. Farm groups generally acknowledge that the pesticide companies need some protection, or they may hesitate to develop new products. On the other hand, if a pesticide kills a farmer's crop, he may lose a year's income.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group, says the change immunizes pesticide-makers from legitimate damage claims. They contend that the new policy could help pesticide companies argue that federal labeling insulates them from suits alleging health and environmental injury.

I think there should be some middle ground. A couple of the high profile cases in this area were based on pesticide mixtures. In one case, the growers sued because they mixed together two pesticides and damaged their orchard. Their case was based on the fact that the label did not warn against this mixture. The growers lost the case (appropriately, I think). In the other case, the label recommended a pesticide mixture that damaged the crop. In that instance, the growers seem to deserve compensation.

The future of methyl bromide is still undecided. At the conclusion of the 15th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, the delegates could not reach agreement on these four basic issues.

* Nominations for Critical Use Exemptions (CUEs)
* Conditions for granting CUEs
* Further specific interim reductions of methyl bromide for developing countries
* Consideration of the Methyl Bromide Technical Options Committee's work procedures regarding the future evaluations of CUE nominations.

These items will be addressed in another meeting in Montreal in March.

Additionally, a bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives that would ensure that the United States gets all the methyl bromide we want. If this bill becomes law, the United States would get all the methyl bromide requested as critical use exemptions even if the amount is not approved under the Montreal Protocol. I do not think the bill has much of a chance, but we are moving toward the Presidential election. California and Florida are the two states that need methyl bromide the most; Florida put Bush in the White House last time.

Facilities that produce pesticides are required to report to EPA by March 1. The Agency mailed out the "EPA Pesticide Report for Pesticide Producing Establishments" (EPA Form 3540-16) in December. You must respond even if you did not produce any pesticide in 2003. You can get more information at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/regulating/establishments/est_forms.htm, or you contact Carol Buckingham buckingham.carol@epa.gov (202-564-5008).

Biotechnology

The estimated global area of transgenic crops for 2003 was more than 167 million acres grown by 7 million farmers in 18 countries. Since 1996, the global acreage for transgenic crops has increased 4000 percent (yes, four thousand)! About one-third of the acreage was in developing countries.

In 2003, six countries and four crops dominated acreage for transgenic crops. About 99 percent of the global transgenic crop area was in six countries: the United States (63% of global acreage of transgenic crops), Argentina (21%), Canada (6%), Brazil (4%), China (4%), and South Africa (1%). Transgenic soybean accounted for 61 percent of global acreage planted to transgenic crops, followed by maize (23%), cotton (11%), and canola (5%). Herbicide tolerance is the dominant trait followed by insect resistance.

Transgenic varieties are an increasing fraction of global production for several crops. Approximately 55 percent of the global soybean acreage (188 million acres) was planted to transgenic varieties in 2003. More than 20 percent of the global cotton acreage (84 million acres) was planted to transgenic cotton. Canola growers planted 16 percent of the global acreage to transgenics; 11 percent of the global corn acreage was planted to transgenic varieties. In total, 25 percent of the global area for these crops combined (2.4 billion acres) was planted to transgenic varieties (more than 600 million acres). Whether you favor or condemn transgenic crops, these numbers should get your attention. (Crop Biotech, 1-14-04)

According to PANUPS (1-09-04), the widespread use of transgenic crops has increased the use of agricultural pesticides. Two types of genetic modification comprise nearly all transgenic crops. Some crops have a gene from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) inserted that allows the plants to make their own insecticide. Other crops are genetically engineered to make them tolerant of herbicides. In the United States, the use of Bt crops has reduced insecticide use by nearly 20 million pounds in the last eight years. However, herbicide tolerant crops have triggered a 70 million pound increase in herbicide use. The full report is available on Ag BioTech InfoNet website at http://www.biotech-info.net/technicalpaper6.html.

Although a 50 million pound increase in herbicide use should spark discussion, it may not mean that we have increased environmental risks. When growers plant herbicide tolerant crops, they can apply a broad-spectrum herbicide over the top of the crop to kill weeds. This option facilitates no-tillage or reduced-tillage agriculture. Less tillage means less erosion. The EPA considers erosion to be the greatest threat to surface water. Erosion causes a reduction in topsoil and concomitant loss in land productivity. Additionally, the lost soil chokes waterways and carries contaminants (e.g., pesticides) from the field into rivers and streams.

We should not focus pesticide discussions on the amount of pesticide applied. Instead, we need to evaluate the overall changes in risks to the environment. This situation is much more complex, but a simple discussion about pesticide usage is of little value. Suppose we make the herbicides twice as concentrated. Instantly we have reduced usage by 50 percent, but the risk scenario remains unchanged.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization released a new publication on genetically modified fish. Genetically modified organisms (GMO) and aquaculture reviews the nature of GMOs, the range of aquatic species in which GMOs have been produced, the methods and target genes employed, the benefits to aquaculture, and the problems attached to use of GMOs and the regulatory and other social frameworks surrounding them. You can read the report at ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/006/y4955e/Y4955E00.pdf The best modification might be a fish with a modified jaw that can be used to open bottles.

News You Can Use

The Pest Control Technology Ant Management Summit is scheduled for March 10-12 in Atlanta. You can find the details at http://www.pctantsummit.com/

Are you looking for an easy way to locate UGA information on the Internet? Instead of wading through web sites, simply use a search engine to search for "UGA" and the item of interest. For example, if you need information about azaleas, use the terms "UGA" and "azalea."

The EPA has several publications that might interest you. "Help Yourself to a Healthy Home: Protect you Children's Health" tells you what you need to know about environmental contaminants found in many American homes and how to protect your family from risks posed by carbon monoxide, unhealthy drinking waters, poor indoor air quality, lead poisoning, hazardous household products, pesticides, and much more. It has "Questions to Ask" that will help you learn if your home has hidden safety and health dangers, and suggests a wide range of actions. This booklet is also available in Spanish as "Contribuya a Tener un Hogar Sano." To order, call Kathy Seikel at 703-308-8272, or email seikel.kathy@epa.gov.

Join our Pest Patrol: A Backyard Activity Book for Kids on Integrated Pest Management" is a new publication geared at elementary school children in grades 3-5. It has 29 pages of fun activities that can easily be incorporated into reading, science, or even math and art classes. It provides kids - and teachers - with important information about pest identity and biology, and ecology. Even more important, it helps children understand the impact our personal choices - like whether or not to use chemicals to control pests -- can have on the environment. To order, call Kathy Seikel at 703-308-8272 or email seikel.kathy@epa.gov. Bulk orders accepted.

"Read the Label First! Protect your Household," "Read the Label First! Protect your Garden," "Read the Label First! Protect your Children," and "Read the Label First! Protect your Pets" encourage pesticide users to read the label before they apply pesticides. EPA's Consumer Labeling Initiative (CLI) offers a wealth of information and free promotional items to raise awareness about the importance of reading pesticide products labels. Promotional items available free of charge to the public include rulers, bag clips, and jar openers. To order, call 703-305-5017 or send an email request to lormand.mary-jean@epa.gov.

If you are interested in registering pesticides, this workshop is for you. The FIFRA Bootcamp for Pesticide Registrants will be held February 11-12 in northern Virginia. The workshop will include these topics and others.

To register online or to obtain more information on this and other workshops, go to http://www.pesticide.net/workshop/index.asp.

If you are interested in organic farming, here are several resources that may be helpful.

This web site 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.

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. Available for free at http://www.sare.org/bulletin/organic/
Organic Fruit Growing, 2003 presents a step-by-step guide to planning, cultivating, maintaining, processing, and marketing organic fruit. http://www.cabi-publishing.org/.
Selling Directly to Restaurants and Retailers, 2003 is 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.
Organic Farm Certification and the National Organic Program, 2002 provides a summary of organic certification based on the National Organic Program guidelines. Discusses the procedure necessary to achieve certification and the associated costs. Available for free at http://attra.ncat.org/organic.html. (PANUPS, 12-10-03)

Here are two possibilities for grant money. Pest Management Alternatives Research Program addresses Food Quality Protection Act issues. Proposals for this program are due February 20, 2004. Proposals for the Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program - Integrated Pest Management are due March 15, 2004. This program focuses on Crops at Risk (from regulatory changes), Risk Avoidance and Mitigation, and Methyl Bromide Transitions. To learn more, visit the CSREES Funding Opportunities web site at http://www.reeusda.gov/1700/funding/ourfund.htm.

Cancelled

Registrants have officially asked EPA to cancel all diazinon home and garden end-use products. This notice affects 75 diazinon product registrations held by 35 companies. The public has 180 days (until June 7, 2004) to comment on this notice. The EPA will grant the cancellation requests (effective December 31, 2004) unless someone provides some very convincing comments. (EPA Pesticide Program Update 12/18/2003)

Don't Do It

William C. Murphy of Glencoe, Ala., pled guilty on Jan. 5 to 17 counts of violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act and 11 counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods. Under the company name of Sierra Chemical, the defendant sold counterfeit, misbranded, adulterated and/or mislabeled pesticides to numerous municipalities in Alabama and Georgia. The municipalities used them to control mosquitoes and the spread of the West Nile Virus. Selling altered, counterfeit or improperly branded or labeled pesticides to cities to control mosquitoes and other insects can present a significant public health and environmental risk, either through contamination due to the unregulated application of potentially harmful chemicals, or by failing to protect the public from the diseases carried by the insects, such as West Nile Virus. In addition to the criminal charges, Murphy will probably be sued by many of the cities and towns he duped. (EPA Pesticide Program Update, 1-09-04)

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 tjall@uga.edu

Or write us:

Department of Entomology
University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602
E-mail:  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