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

Your source for pest management and pesticide news

March 2002/Volume 25, No. 3

IPM IN SCHOOLS

Pennsylvania plans to make IPM education a major curriculum priority
A bill in the Georgia legislature would mandate IPM for Georgia schools and day care centers

FEDERAL NEWS

All uses of methyl bromide will end in the United States on January 1, 2005, except for uses that are recognized as critical

FOOD QUALITY PROTECTION ACT/REREGISTRATION

The EPA released its final decision for phosmet
The registrant and EPA have finalized a decision to cancel all registrations for benomyl
All residential uses of dimethoate (Cygon) are being canceled at the request of the registrants
Most residential uses of acephate (Orthene) are also being canceled at the request of the registrant
If you care about lindane, it is time to comment on the revised risk assessment released by EPA
March 30, 2002 is the deadline for comment on the revised risk assessment of oxyfluorfen

WPS NOTEBOOK

Based upon a recent meeting with county extension agents, there is still a lot of confusion regarding the Worker Protection Standard training requirements

HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Peanuts are good for you; aflatoxins are not
Epidemiological studies linking pesticides and disease usually depend upon the applicator's memory
Would you eat irradiated beef, or would you prefer pasteurized beef
A U.S. company will market a line of organically produced flowers

DON'T DO IT

BIOTECHNOLOGY

The Scotts Company wants to market the first genetically modified grass
Some groups claim that the United States is using strong-arm tactics to make other countries accept our genetically modified exports
Canadian producers of organic canola are suing Monsanto and Aventis for damages caused by genetically modified canola pollen

NEWS YOU CAN USE

There is a great deal of interest in alternative ways to control pests in products destined for shipping

IPM in Schools

In a departure from our regular definition for IPM in Schools, Pennsylvania plans to make IPM education a major curriculum priority. Students will learn to identify different types of pests. Additionally, the multi-year program will include modules on pesticides, environmental concerns, and IPM programs. (Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News, 2-4-02)

A bill in the Georgia legislature would mandate IPM for Georgia schools and day care centers. The Safe Schools Act (HB 1242) contains provisions concerning notification, prohibited pesticides, etc. If you are concerned about the ramifications of IPM legislation, you should review the bill and contact your legislators if you see problems. You can review the bill at www.ganet.org/services/newleg I am not against IPM legislation, but this bill has some language that could make it difficult to avoid business and/or increase liability of pest control operators. Do not hide your head in the sand. If IPM legislation is inevitable, participate in the process.

Federal News

All uses of methyl bromide will end in the United States on January 1, 2005, except for uses that are recognized as "critical." The big question: what separates a "critical" use from a merely "very important" use? If you consider methyl bromide to be a critical component of your operation, you need to get busy. The United States is developing a package for submission to the Secretariat of the Montreal Protocol in January of 2003; this package and subsequent negotiation will establish the U.S. allocation of methyl bromide. Before that time, U.S. stakeholders will have to work with EPA and other federal agencies to define "critical" (Where is Clinton when you need him?) and to identify critical uses of methyl bromide. For more information, call Amber Moreen at 202-564-9295. (Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News, 30:8 via Chemically Speaking, 1-02)

Food Quality Protection Act/Reregistration

The EPA released its final decision for phosmet (Imidan). The Agency allowed a five-year, time-limited registration for apple, apricot, blueberry (highbush), crab apple, grape, nectarine, peach, pear and plum/prune. Apparently, the EPA thinks that the benefits outweigh the risks for these crops in the current situation. The situation may change if a safer alternative becomes available or if the risks are revised upward.

The decision established the following rates for phosmet use on peaches.

During the time-limited registration, the registrant will: 1) perform a biomonitoring study to evaluate phosmet effects on blood levels of cholinesterase, 2) provide updated information on usage/benefits of phosmet, and 3) investigate the feasibility of additional protective equipment (i.e., gloves for re-entry workers).

Registrations were canceled for household fruit trees, household ornamentals, and domestic pets. The decision did not affect current registrations for cotton, lowbush blueberry, ornamental nursery stock, pea and pecan.

The registrant and EPA have finalized a decision to cancel all registrations for benomyl (Benlate). The cancellation order was final January 15, 2002. Existing stocks can be sold until the end of 2002.

All residential uses of dimethoate (Cygon) are being canceled at the request of the registrants. The cancellation order is expected to include home gardens, buildings, recreational facilities and playgrounds. Some agricultural uses will also be canceled, including housefly treatments in farm buildings, farm animal quarters, and manure piles.

Most residential uses of acephate (Orthene) are also being canceled at the request of the registrant. The cancellation order is expected to include all residential indoor uses and most turfgrass sites. Acephate will still be available for golf courses, sod farms and fire ant mound treatments. The analysis of methamidaphos, another OP, may affect the acephate decision. Methamidaphos is a breakdown product of acephate.

At last count, chlopyrifos, diazinon, dimethoate or acephate will no longer be available for pest management around the home. These requests for cancellation are probably the result of registrants trying to improve their position for the upcoming cumulative assessment of the organophosphate insecticides. Registrants want to minimize the nonoccupational exposure associated with their favorite OP insecticide. The potential exposure for children is obviously much greater for residential uses. Additionally, exposure studies and risk mitigation are much easier (and cheaper) for occupational settings.

Our book of pesticide recommendations for residential uses is being whittled down to a half sheet of paper written on just one side. Our recommendations for residential insecticides can almost be summed up in one line, "Use a pyrethroid, imidacloprid, carbaryl (Sevin) or malathion." All four of these options have serious disadvantages. Pyrethroids exacerbate problems with mites and scale insects. Additionally, some groups are already calling pyrethroids "endocrine disruptors." Using the words "endocrine disruptor" and "children" in the same sentence will become as bad as handing out cigarettes in day care centers.

Imidacloprid seems to have a strong potential for pest resistance, and it is very mobile in water. Carbaryl is very toxic to honeybees, and it is a carbamate insecticide (the group next in line for the FQPA guillotine). Malathion simply does not provide satisfactory control for many pests.

Finally (if things were not already dismal enough), the loss of the popular organophosphate insecticides will trigger increased residential use of the remaining options. Increased use will translate directly into greater potential exposure. Therefore (finally my logic class paying off), risk estimates for the remaining insecticides based on the new exposure parameters may also exceed EPA levels of concern, which will trigger additional regulatory activity against the remaining alternatives. In other words, we are not out of the woods yet. If everybody substitutes a pyrethroid for every current OP use, children could be exposed to increased levels of a group of chemicals labeled by some as "endocrine disruptors."

On the positive side, people may begin to understand how farmers feel to have chemical tools snatched away. Perhaps people will learn that an effective IPM program may depend upon a key pesticide. And maybe, just maybe, a few people will understand that adequate pesticide management is not always possible without pesticides.

If you care about lindane, it is time to comment on the revised risk assessment released by EPA. The comment period ends April 1, 2002. You can read the revised assessment at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides

March 30, 2002, is the deadline for comment on the revised risk assessment of oxyfluorfen. Oxyfluorfen is an herbicide that is registered for use on a wide range of crop and noncrop uses. The biggest uses are cotton, grapes and some nuts. The EPA has some concerns about oxyfluorfen because the Agency considers the chemical to be a possible human carcinogen. The registrant does not agree with EPA's assessment of the compounds carcinogenicity. (Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News, 2-4-02)

WPS Notebook

Based upon a recent meeting with county extension agents, there is still a lot of confusion regarding the Worker Protection Standard training requirements. Here are the basics for WPS training.

  1. WPS applies to row crops, nurseries, greenhouses, and forestry operations involved in commercial production. Animal operations, hay production and pastures are not subject to WPS. Golf courses and landscape operations are not subject to WPS.
  2. There are two groups of agricultural employees under WPS: agricultural workers and pesticide handlers. The training requirements are slightly different. We recommend that all employers train everyone to be a pesticide handler. The training is similar, and the employee's job responsibilities may change.
  3. You must train your employees. Anyone with a pesticide applicator's license is qualified to do WPS training. WPS pesticide handlers are qualified to train WPS agricultural workers.
  4. We can provide videotapes (in English or Spanish) that can be used for WPS training. If you show the video and answer any questions, you have fulfilled WPS training requirements. If your employees do not speak English, you must have someone that can answer their questions in their language.
  5. You must keep a record of the training. Record the date, the participants, and the trainer(s). The employer should keep these records. Inspectors will ask for them.
  6. Employees are not required to carry WPS cards to verify training. If you want WPS cards, contact your extension office or Steve Cole at the Georgia Department of Agriculture (404-656-4958).

Health and the Environment

Peanuts are good for you; aflatoxins are not. There may soon be a new product to help growers avoid aflatoxin contamination. Aflatoxins are very serious carcinogens that are produced by Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus. These fungi occur naturally in the soil and infect peanuts when the pods are damaged by insects, cultivation, etc. Aflatoxin contamination can cost growers millions of dollars because peanuts that are contaminated at 15 parts per billion or more cannot be used for edible products.

Over the past 14 years, USDA scientists have identified other Aspergillus species that can compete with A. flavus and A. parasiticus for space and resources in the soil. Field tests showed that the beneficial Apergillus can reduce alfatoxin levels 70-90 percent. A private company has applied for the license to develop the beneficial fungi into a commercial product.

The advantage of this new biocontrol could be two-fold. Peanut growers apply soil insecticides to prevent pod damage. In part, the insecticides are used to reduce the risk of aflatoxin because the fungi can colonize the pods damaged by insects. (ARS Magazine, 1-02 via Chemically Speaking, 1-02)

Epidemiological studies linking pesticides and disease usually depend upon the applicator's memory; a new study investigates the reliability of that information. If you ask an applicator if they have "ever" or "never" used a particular pesticide or practice, the "real" data and the memory match from 70-90 percent. Agreement was reduced to about 50 percent when the questions asked more specific questions about practices like duration or frequency of use. Similar agreement (around 50%) was reported when the questions related to years or days/year of mixing or applying a particular pesticide. The results are not very surprising. Most people could answer whether or not they had ever been to a baseball game, but few could tell you exactly how many games they had attended. (Epidemiology 13:1, via Agromedicine Program Update, 2-15-02)

Would you eat irradiated beef, or would you prefer pasteurized beef? Scientists have known for many years that irradiating beef would safely kill E. coli and other bacteria that can cause serious human illness. Many people, however, automatically label radiation as "bad" and assume irradiating beef will cause cancer or birth defects. Departments of health and industry groups have developed educational campaigns to overcome public fears. One tool is simply to replace the word "irradiated" with "pasteurized."

For the first time, a U.S. company will market a line of organically produced flowers (Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News, 2-4-02). The company recites the usual litany for offering the organic line of flowers. It is also a useful marketing tool to differentiate your product from others. The bottom line will be economics. The value of greenhouse flowers is astronomical, and there is no market for flowers that are not perfect. In the cases I have witnessed, greenhouse producers turned to IPM and nonchemical control methods because the pesticides did not work well enough. Additionally, the greenhouse market for pesticides is not large. They will be particularly vulnerable to pesticide losses related to FQPA and reregistration.

Don't Do It!

The EPA and Alabama officials are investigating the alleged misuse of aluminum phosphide that possibly caused the deaths of two people in their home. Aluminum phosphide is a product that releases highly toxic phosphine gas when exposed to moisture; it is used to fumigate stored grains and transport facilities. A similar incident in Georgia resulted in the death of a child about one year ago. (EPA Region 4 Press Release, 1-23-02 via Pesticide Notes, Jan-Feb-02)

Obviously, anyone who uses aluminum phosphide in a home is making a foolish and potentially tragic mistake. There are also other lessons to be learned. How did these people obtain aluminum phosphide, a restricted-use pesticide? A dealer may have sold it to them illegally. A friend may have given it to them. Or they may have stolen it from work. You may also have other possibilities. The point is that we must close these loopholes for two critical reasons. 1) A terrorist may obtain aluminum phosphide via the same avenues and place it in a public building. 2) If we cannot close these loopholes, the EPA may be forced to cancel the registration for a critical pesticide for which we have no alternative.

Dealers and applicators are the key players. Dealers must never sell restricted-use products to unlicensed applicators. Regulators inspect dealers and their sales records, so most dealers play by the rules. Applicators must closely control access to aluminum phosphide, and they must make sure that no product ever "walks" because an employee takes it home or gives it to a friend.

Biotechnology

The Scotts Company wants to market the first genetically modified grass. According to the company, the grass will not need as much mowing, and it will tolerate repeated applications of herbicides. Some groups are already protesting that the environmental risks have not been fully evaluated. I think the protest groups are wasting their time. I think the U.S. public will break down the doors to buy a grass that needs less mowing and that you can simply spray to control weeds. Unlike genetically engineered foods on the market, the public will be able to identify a specific advantage for the consumer. Personally, however, I think the potential ramifications of an herbicide-resistant grass are worth considering. This new grass may move out of the yard and out to the farm.

The company says they will ask USDA for permission to sell the new grass, but I do not think there is much oversight in this area. If I am correct, only APHIS (in USDA) needs to give permission to release a new organism in the United States. Since grass is already abundant in the United States, I do not think that APHIS will have any strong objections. The company, in cooperation with Monsanto, hopes to also introduce other genetically engineered ornamental plants. (AP 2-3-02, via Chemically Speaking, 2-02)

Some groups claim that the United States is using strong-arm tactics to make other countries accept our genetically modified exports. The European Union has proposed tracking and labeling rules for genetically modified food and feed products. China, Korea and Thailand also plan labeling laws. The United States has reportedly prevented the passage of similar regulations in Croatia, Bolivia and Sri Lanka. (2-4-02)

This controversy has enormous implications for world trade. Clearly the United States has the strength to bully many countries into accepting products they do not want. On the other hand, the United States has the right to protect its trade interests abroad. The conundrum is drawing the line and determining motivation behind trade regulations. How do you know if a country fears genetically modified foods or if the government wants to use this opportunity as a de facto tariff or ban on U.S. goods? If U.S. growers can produce corn more cheaply with genetic engineering, U.S. exports may undermine another country's market for corn produced by their growers. There may be incentive for a country to strictly regulate genetically modified corn in order to keep U.S. corn from being imported.

Actually, this argument mirrors many of the points concerning pesticides banned in the United States. Farmers routinely grumble that foreign growers can produce certain crops more cheaply because they have access to pesticides that cannot be used in the United States. As a result, U.S. growers want to eliminate the import tolerance for any pesticide that U.S. growers cannot use. Are the growers concerned more about the pesticide's risk or the impact on the market for U.S. products?

The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture recently called the dispute over genetically engineered foods the biggest trade issue facing the United States. Only a small number of countries produce genetically modified crops. There may be a strong incentive to mitigate any advantage that these countries may have in the marketplace.

Canadian producers of organic canola are suing Monsanto and Aventis for damages caused by genetically modified canola pollen. Approximately 60 percent of the canola grown in the province is genetically modified. The pollen from those fields blew into the organic fields, which could make the canola unmarketable as organic. (Reuters, 1-10-02, via Chemically Speaking, 2-02)

News You Can Use

There is a great deal of interest in alternative ways to control pests in products destined for shipping. The future of some fumigants is in doubt, and fumigation is very expensive. However, some countries have very stringent regulations regarding produce shipped into their country, particularly when the United States has pests that are not established in their area.

USDA scientist Lisa Neven is investigating the efficacy of controlled atmospheres and temperature. She has discovered that high temperatures combined with a mixture of low oxygen and high carbon dioxide will kill codling moth and oriental fruit moth larvae inside of apples. People say they cannot tell the difference between the taste/quality of treated and untreated apples. (Agricultural Research, 2-02)

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