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

Your source for pest management and pesticide news

May 2003/Volume 26, No. 5

DON'T DO IT

This month's dunce cap goes to a pesticide company with accounts for schools in several counties.

HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT

The Georgia Clean Day program helped the town of Stapleton dispose of 48,000 pounds of material contaminated with 5 tons of DDT and toxaphene.
According to a report by the National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy, herbicides help protect the environment.

IPM NEWS

A new Bacillus thuringiensis protein is being introduced for Bt cotton.

BIOTECHNOLOGY

Seventy-three varieties of biotech crops are approved for human and animal consumption in North America:

NEWS YOU CAN USE

Heavy spring rains across the country make the world a giant mosquito nursery;
Pest control companies should see opportunities when weather conditions favor mosquitoes.
Scientists with USDA-Agricultural Research Service report a new virus that may help in the battle against mosquitoes.

FEDERAL NEWS

An agreement between EPA and pesticide registrants eliminates most residential uses of wood treated with chromated copper arsenate (CCA).
The EPA has begun a pilot program to make the pesticide emergency process more efficient.
The EPA seeks comments regarding their Guidelines for Carcinogen Risk Assessment and the Draft Supplemental Guidance for Assessing Cancer Susceptibility from Early-Life Exposure to Carcinogens.

FOOD QUALITY PROTECTION ACT -- REREGISTRATION

The EPA is asking for comments on the Preliminary Comparative Ecological Assessment document for nine redenticides:

Don't Do It

This month's dunce cap goes to a pesticide company with accounts for schools in several counties. A child told his mother that the "bug man" had been in school that day; the mother reported the incident to pesticide regulators at the Georgia Department of Agriculture. Company records clearly show a regular pattern of misuse that illegally exposed thousands of children to pesticides. Georgia regulators want to impose a huge fine and additional penalties; their goal is to force the company out of business. In addition, the company and schools are exposed to tremendous liability.

Most of the charges involve pesticide applications made when children were present or when they were expected in the treated area. Georgia regulations prohibit commercial applicators from spraying pesticides if people are present or expected within 3 hours after application. The pesticide labeling may require a longer period before re-entry into the treated area. Although school personnel are not subject to the state regulation, they must follow pesticide labeling directions regarding re-entry.

In a similar case, the contract between the school and the pest control company stated that pesticides would be applied only when school was not in session. However, this stipulation meant that a school employee would have to be on hand to unlock the doors, disengage the alarm system, etc. As the school budget tightened, administrators decided they could no longer afford to pay the school employee to be present after hours. The school asked the pest control company to treat during normal school hours, and the company agreed. The Georgia Department of Agriculture imposed a substantial fine on the company.

Both the school and the company are responsible for this incident. The company wants to please the customer, but they should never have agreed to illegal pesticide application. On the other hand, the school should not pressure a company to apply pesticides when children might be exposed.

Imagine this court scene. A small child has a health problem that is consistent with pesticide exposure, or some existing health problem has gotten worse. The parents claim the pesticide company and the school are responsible. The records prove that the pesticide company repeatedly misused pesticides in the school, and the school did nothing to stop them (or even asked them to do it). The company and the school may feel fortunate to reach an out-of-court settlement that is only several hundred thousand dollars.

The Georgia Department of Agriculture and we are concerned that these misuse incidents are not isolated. Many schools and daycare facilities do their own pest control. School employees are not required to have a pesticide license or any training to apply pesticides unless they are using a restricted-use pesticide. Additionally, the Georgia Department of Agriculture has little authority or resources to inspect pesticide applicators who are not required to have a pesticide applicator's license. Untrained applicators may be unintentionally expsosing many children to pesticides.

The Cooperative Extension Service and the Georgia Department of Agriculture are teaming up to address this situation. We are going to send a letter to every school superintendent and every private school in Georgia. The same letter will go to every licensed daycare center. We will alert every county extension office. Many extension offices have regular programs (e.g., 4-H) that take them into the schools. The extension service also has an ongoing program to introduce Integrated Pest Management into schools. The department of agriculture has authority over all pest control companies. They are going to remind companies that it is imperative for them to follow pesticide regulations, particularly when pesticides are used around children.

Health and the Environment

The Georgia Clean Day program helped the town of Stapleton dispose of 48,000 pounds of material contaminated with 5 tons of DDT and toxaphene. Inspectors reported that the pile of pesticide wastes was 3 to 4 feet deep in some areas. Decades ago, this mix of fertilizer and pesticide was intended for agricultural use. Eventually, the material was forgotten in an abandoned warehouse. The building and the surrounding land were recently donated to the town (spare me that kind of gift). The town could not afford to clean up the mess and called the Clean Day program for help. Clean Day and the town teamed up to prevent these materials from endangering human health and the environment.

Georgia Clean Day is a stellar example of cooperation between state agencies. The program is a joint effort of the Georgia Department of Agriculture and the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service. Funding is provided by the state legislature. Without this program, unwanted pesticides would be forgotten and abandoned to threaten human health and the environment. Since its inception, Clean Day has disposed of more than a million pounds of unwanted pesticide! I can think of no better use of state resources.

According to a report by the National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy, herbicides help protect the environment. In 1938, soil erosion from cropland in the United States was about 3.8 billion tons. Soil erosion from cropland was only 1 billion tons (still a lot of mud pies) in 1997. Most of the decrease can be attributed to the reduction in tillage. Herbicides make no-till agriculture possible. Without herbicides, this report contends that cropland erosion would increase 15 percent. Erosion has two serious consequences. The loss of soil reduces out ability to produce crops, and the eroded soil degrades our waterways.

In addition to environmental savings, herbicides help the U.S. economy. This report examined the loss of herbicides for 40 crops. If cultivation and hand weeding were substituted for herbicides, the cost of controlling weeds would increase by nearly $8 billion, and crop losses would exceed $13 billion. Increased cultivation would also cause additional air pollution caused by operating farm equipment for longer hours. You can read the entire report at this web site: http://www.ncfap.org/benefits.htm

This story is not intended to advocate the increased use of pesticides. Everyone is concerned about the presence of herbicides in drinking water, and it is not difficult to point out environmental damage caused by pesticides. However, every technology offers benefits if we can manage the risks, and pesticides are no different.

IPM News

A new Bacillus thuringiensis protein is being introduced for Bt cotton. The new exotoxin is reported to be structurally, functionally and biochemically different from Bt delta-endotoxins currently incorporated into Bt cotton. Vip cotton (for "vegetative insecticidal protein") is said to offer broad spectrum, full season control of major lepidopteran pests and, potentially, Spodoptera species. However, selected field testing in 2002 produced mixed results, with a report of excellent control of several key insects and unsatisfactory control of others.

Extensive field testing is planned for 2003, perhaps including head-to-head comparative trials between current Bt-cotton and Vip cotton. The new cotton is expected to hit the market in 2004. (IPMnet NEWS, 5-03)

Biotechnology

Seventy-three varieties of biotech crops are approved for human or animal consumption in North America: 56 different types in the United States, 54 in Canada (including those developed with mutagenesis) and 3 in Mexico.

Each of these crops has been enhanced in one or more of the following ways:

Canola, corn, cotton and soybeans accounted for more than 99 percent of worldwide biotechnology crops in 2001. In 2001 in the United States alone, these four crops plus biotech papaya and squash reportedly produced an additional 4 billion pounds of food and fiber, increased farm income by $1.5 billion, and reduced pesticide use by 46 million pounds.

You can find out a lot more at http://www.whybiotech.com/index.asp?id=2837

News You Can Use

Heavy spring rains across the country make the world a giant mosquito nursery; these tips will help you protect your family.

toys the cat bowl an empty bottle
flowerpots a tree hole an old shoe
the open top of a basketball pole the gutter a birdbath
a tire swing a garbage can an empty bag that once held pork rinds
a grill top a wheelbarrow an old toilet
(my brother is supposed to come get it)

Before you get the wrong impression, the entomologist found all of this old junk in my friend's yard, not mine.

Mosquitoes may complete development in the water in 4-5 days. If the water cannot be changed, buy a product that contains Bacillus thuringiensis israeliensis (often available as "Mosquito Dunks). The bacteria kill mosquito larvae but are safe for everything else. Goldfish can control mosquitoes in small ponds. I started a small school of goldfish in my ornamental pond with feeder goldfish from the pet shop at a total cost of about $2.00 (40 goldfish @ 5 cents each).

Mosquitoes are less attracted to light clothing than dark. Certain types of mosquitoes prefer pregnant women. Some types of mosquitoes prefer human skin temperatures over 90 degrees F. If you are attending an outdoor party, be cool, wear light clothes and chat with pregnant women who prefer Gothic styles. Be aware, mosquitoes can bite through T-shirts and other lightweight, tight-fitting clothing. I guess another option would be to attend outdoor summer parties wearing a heavy, loose coat. (You won't be invited to many outdoor summer parties, but maybe you and the pregnant Gothic woman will hit it off.)

Use insect repellents wisely. Look for products that contain DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide). See our April issue for more information about using DEET products appropriately.

Pest control companies should see opportunities when weather conditions favor mosquitoes. You should not try to scare people or offer services you cannot provide, but many people are not able to scout their property for mosquito breeding sites, and other people would rather pay for that service than using their time. Some companies may also be able to offer community programs in areas where government is not providing that service.

Scientists with USDA-Agricultural Research Service report a new virus that may help in the battle against mosquitoes. The mosquito genus Culex is known to transmit West Nile Virus and St. Louis encephalitis. The ARS researchers have patented a baculovirus that kills Culex mosquitoes but not other animals or plants.

Baculoviruses are not common in mosquitoes, but ARS scientist J. Becnel discovered a novel baculovirus in 1997. CuniNPV is very stable and persistent and is a promising candidate to develop into a larvacide. The baculovirus is activated when it's mixed with magnesium. This mixture can kill 85-95 percent of mosquito larvae, and magnesium reportedly will not harm the water.

The ARS is looking for partners to help them bring the technology to the market. If your company is interested, contact the ARS Office of Technology Transfer at: http://ott.arsusda.gov (ARS News Service, 4-23-03)

Federal News

An agreement between EPA and pesticide registrants eliminates most residential uses of wood treated with chromated copper arsentate (CCA). After December 30, 2003, CCA-treated lumber cannot be sold for use as play structures, decks, picnic tables, landscaping timbers, residential fencing, patios or walkways/boardwalks. Wood treated with CCA can still be used in permanent wood foundations and fence posts for agricultural uses. Consumers who have CCA wood may use the wood for any purpose.

This cancellation agreement may create some problems. Some consumers have been concerned about the availability of adequate replacements. Other, safer materials are already available to treat wood. Residential consumers may not notice the slight price increase, but commercial consumers may feel the pinch from higher-priced materials.

Disposal of CCA wood may be a greater problem. Current federal pesticide regulations do not require schools or residences to replace playscapes, decks, etc., made from CCA-treated wood. Even without a regulatory mandate, there will be considerable pressure for schools to remove CCA wood from school grounds. According to the Georgia Department of Agriculture, CCA wood will have to be disposed of as hazardous waste. Legally, you cannot burn, bury or dump hazardous wastes; you cannot deposit hazardous wastes in an ordinary landfill. Legal disposal of hazardous wastes can be expensive, and many schools are already strapped for cash. The best option for disposal of CCA wood is to give it away. In most situations, it will not be difficult to find someone who can use structural timbers and other wood from playscapes.

The EPA has begun a pilot program to make the pesticide emergency process more efficient. Pesticide emergency exemptions are allowed under section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). If a state or federal agency can document an emergency, the EPA will permit the application of a pesticide for some unregistered use. The agency evaluates the request to determine if there is a pest management emergency and to ensure the product can be used safely to remedy the situation.

The pilot process will allow a continued exemption for up to three years without submitting additional data to the EPA. States and federal agencies will be allowed to certify the emergency for the second and third seasons. Additionally, the pilot relaxes some of the requirements for economic data. Only pesticides that the EPA has previously determined to be "reduced-risk" are eligible for consideration in the pilot program. For more information, see http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/EPA-PEST/2003/April/Day-24/p10169.htm

The EPA seeks comments regarding their Guidelines for Carcinogen Risk Assessment and the Draft Supplemental Guidance for Assessing Cancer Susceptibility from Early-Life Exposure to Carcinogens. For years, the agency has struggled with the best way to evaluate cancer risks associated with pesticides. Do children face elevated risks of cancer if they are exposed to certain pesticides? Are some particular groups at greater risks from cancer associated with pesticide exposure? Is there ever a "safe" level of exposure to a chemical that can cause cancer?

The agency has prepared a document that will establish EPA procedures for evaluating pesticide risks. The public can provide comments until June 2, 2003. Read the guidelines at http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/EPA-MEETINGS/2003/March/Day-03/m4912.htm

Food Quality Protection Act -- Reregistration

The EPA is asking for comments on the Preliminary Comparative Ecological Assessment document for nine redenticides: brodifacoum, bromadiolone, bromethalin, chlorophacinone, diphacinone, zinc phosphate, warfarin, difethialone and cholecalciferol. The agency is concerned that the use of these products may pose risks for birds and other nontarget animals. You can find more information at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/rodenticidecluster/ The comment period closes May 30, 2003.

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 has 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 back issues there and other useful information.
http://pubs.caes.uga.edu/caespubs/entomology/pestnewsletter/newsarchive.html

Sincerely,

Dr. Paul Guillebeau, Associate Professor & Extension Entomologist