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

Your source for pest management and pesticide news

November 2001/Volume 24, No. 11

KNOW YOUR FRIENDS

A good relationship with your local extension agent could mean money in your pocket

NEWS YOU CAN USE

FEDERAL NEWS

The EPA has posted their pesticide/water models on the Web
Look for the EPA Registration Division's Workplan for 2002 on the Web
Under certain conditions, EPA may not need to issue a tolerance

CANCELLED

The EPA has released the final report concerning the future of azinphos-methyl and phosmet

FOOD QUALITY PROTECTION ACT - REREGISTRATION

The Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) requires EPA to conduct a cumulative assessment of the risks posed by similar pesticides

HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Have you wondered whatever happened about Foot and Mouth Disease
PANUPS reports that pesticide use in California has decreased for the second year in a row
A new book challenges many of the doomsday predictions made by activist groups

BIOTECHNOLOGY

There are several news items related to biotechnology and Bacillus thuringiensis
The USDA Agricultural Research Service has developed a website to summarize the questions and information about the risks of Bt to monarch butterflies
Key cotton producing countries are split over whether to use Bt cotton
Bt corn may not be the best choice for some farmers
Research indicates that Bt is useful for reducing mycotoxins in corn ears
The American Society of Plant Biologists commissioned a series of viewpoint articles focused on biotechnology and genetically modified crops

Know Your Friends

A good relationship with your local extension agent could mean money in your pocket. First of all, you can obtain a tremendous amount of free information through the Cooperative Extension Service. Your local office is a gateway to nearly all of the resources of the University. Second, many people consult their extension office when they plan to purchase pest control services. Get in touch with your extension agent and ask about the resources they can provide. Also make sure they know what you do. Keep in touch.

We included this little story because a pest control company recently did exactly the opposite. This particular extension agent and the pest control company had been a part of the IPM in Schools program. Part of the company's responsibility was to complete a survey of their pest control activities at the school. We included a laundry list of pesticides in the checklist including some materials that can no longer be used legally. Because we have seen some odd things in the IPM program, we are concerned that some schools may be using obsolete pesticides. Hence, the inclusion of some materials that no one should be using.

The former management of this company seemed willing to cooperate with the voluntary program. However, the relationship changed for the worse when new management came on board. The new boss looked at the survey, called the extension office, and began to berate the survey in no uncertain terms. This person did not call to discuss the survey or suggest improvements. He called the author of the survey (me, unfortunately) an idiot, and he was very rude to the extension agent.

This shortsighted outburst could have some unfortunate economic consequences. More intelligent people have called me an idiot before, so I am unconcerned about the insult. However, when the school asks me about the IPM progress for their school, I will tell them the company took a dim view of the program and is unlikely to cooperate further. If the school plans to continue the program, they will probably change companies. Additionally, the extension agent is unlikely to recommend this particular company for new business.

Many companies and/or schools may not be participating in the IPM in Schools program because they feel that their pest management program already applies IPM principles to minimize pesticide risks. Most of the companies are probably right. However, one of our goals is to identify schools and companies that are already applying IPM. Being labeled an IPM company or school could be a valuable asset to gain additional accounts.

Only good things can happen by joining the IPM in Schools program. It is completely voluntary. If you need help, we can show you how to implement IPM principles. In cooperation with the Georgia Pest Control Association (GPCA), we can provide training and resources. Finally, implementing the program will cost you little or nothing. Not bad for an idiot, eh?

To become part of the IPM in Schools program, contact GPCA (800-465-9827) or us (706-542-9031 or pguillebeau@bugs.ent.uga.edu ). We will be glad to work with you.

News You Can Use

Ed Duskin, Executive President of the Southern Crop Protection Association (SCPA), identified these items as hot-button issues in CropLife (Vol. 164, No. 10 - October 2001, p. 26). They are listed as "efforts" that face the crop production industry. You will notice that most of them are related to pesticides or pesticide regulation.

(thanks to Bob Bellinger)

Federal News

The EPA has posted their pesticide/water models on the Web. The Agency often depends on mathematical models to help them evaluate pesticide risks. The EPA scientists build the models based on the information they have, such as the solubility of the pesticide, average rainfall, etc. Then, they use the models to predict the fate of pesticides. You can take a look at the models that EPA uses to estimate pesticide concentrations in water. If you see problems or have ideas for improvements, the EPA would like to hear from you. http://www.epa.gov/oppefed1/models/water/index.htm

These models calculate estimated environmental concentrations (EECs) using laboratory data that describe how fast the pesticide breaks down to other chemicals and how it moves in the environment. For drinking water assessments, the Agency uses FIRST (FQPA Index Reservoir Screening Tool) as a Tier 1 screening model to estimate pesticide concentrations in surface water. EPA uses SCIGROW (Screening Concentration in Ground Water) as a Tier 1 screening model to estimate pesticide concentrations in ground water.

For aquatic exposure assessments, OPP uses GENEEC2 (Generic Estimated Environmental Concentration) to estimate pesticide concentrations in surface water and SCIGROW to estimate pesticide concentration in ground water. For Tier 2 (more refined) surface water screening assessments, OPP uses the linked Pesticide Root Zone Model (PRZM) and the Exposure Analysis Modeling System (EXAMS) models which better accommodate the specific characteristics of the chemical and which include more site-specific information regarding the application method and impact of daily weather on the treated field over a period of 36 years.

For more information regarding this Web site and these water exposure models, please contact Karen McCormack, Environmental Fate and Effects Division, by phone at 703-308-1835 or by e-mail at McCormack.Karen@epa.gov. (EPA Pesticide Program Update 11/07/2001)

Look for the EPA Registration Division's Workplan for 2002 on the Web. The work plan comprises the candidate pool for the division's goals. The new chemicals portion of RD's Work Plan identifies 16 new active ingredient (A.I.) candidates and 3 imports for registration decision making during this fiscal year. Of those candidates, 7 have been granted conventional "reduced-risk" status and 3 have been granted organophosphate alternative status. The new uses portion of RD's Work Plan includes 378 potential new uses for 50 already-registered conventional chemicals; and the inerts portion includes 16 inert (other) ingredient actions. The work plan will give you an idea of what new pest management tools might be coming on the market. http://www.epa.gov/opprd001/workplan/ (USDA Newest News, 10-26-01)

Under certain conditions, EPA may not need to issue a tolerance (the amount of pesticide that can remain on food). The Agency is seeking public comments on draft guidance for registrants. The report indicates how registrants may submit requests and how EPA will process the requests. On October 27, 1999, EPA issued a policy stating that there would be no need for a tolerance or tolerance exemption under FFDCA if: (a) using a reliable and appropriately sensitive analytical method to measure residues in the commodity, no residues are detected in the commodity under expected conditions of use when the commodity enters interstate commerce; and (b) using reasonably protective criteria, the estimated potential risk of any theoretically possible residues in food is not of concern. The Agency would continue to regulate qualifying pesticide uses under FIFRA. EPA must receive comments on this draft notice by December 4, 2001, identified by docket control number OPP-00725. The Federal Register notice and documents are available at http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/EPA-PEST/2001/October/

Cancelled

The EPA has released the final report concerning the future of azinphos-methyl and phosmet, although additional information may dictate some modifications.

For azinphos-methyl, 28 crop uses are being canceled, seven crop uses are being phased-out over four years (almonds, tart cherries, cotton, cranberries, peaches, pistachios, and walnuts) and eight uses (apples/crab apples, blueberries, sweet cherries, pears, pine seed orchards, Brussels sprouts, cane berries, and nursery quarantine uses) will be allowed to continue "time-limited" registration for another four years. Prior to the expiration of the four-year period, EPA will conduct a comprehensive review of these eight crop uses, based on the latest scientific information, to determine if it should continue to allow registration. For the 28 crop uses being canceled, there will be no phase-out period since there are viable alternatives.

For phosmet, three uses are being voluntarily cancelled, nine crops are being authorized for use under specific terms for five years, and 33 crops are being approved for continued use. The three voluntary cancellations include use on: domestic pets, household ornamentals, and household fruit trees (phosmet is rarely used for these purposes). Growers will be able to use phosmet for five years on nine crops: apples, apricots, blueberries, crab apples, grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears and plums/dried plums.

Additionally, a variety of stringent new precautions are being implemented for both pesticides to reduce worker exposure. The reentry intervals will be increased; the number of applications will be limited; and aerial application will be prohibited for nearly all uses. During this period, EPA will also require studies on the potential health effects on workers. If new information shows unreasonable risks, the Agency could take immediate action to remove any of these uses.

EPA will accept comments on these interim decisions for 60 days. You can find the information at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides (EPA Press Release, 10-31-01)

Food Quality Protection Act - Reregistration

The Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) requires EPA to conduct a cumulative assessment of the risks posed by similar pesticides. The Agency has begun the cumulative assessment for the organophosphate pesticides. Because this type of assessment is new, the EPA is seeking public input to develop the best process and model for the cumulative assessment.

Toward this end, the Agency is posting the toxicology studies that will be considered in assessing the hazard posed by cumulative effects of organophosphate pesticides in the public docket. This cumulative assessment is being conducted as required by the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA). EPA has reached an agreement to settle a lawsuit brought by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) regarding implementation of the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA). This consent decree requires that EPA place toxicology studies that form the basis of the hazard portion of the cumulative assessment of the OPs in the public docket. Copies of the studies may be viewed in the docket and are available on request in microfiche or CD-ROM format. The docket is called "Toxicity Studies Considered in the Organophosphate Cumulative Risk Assessment." The pesticide docket is located in Room 119, Crystal Mall 2, 1921 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, Virginia, and is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is 703-305-5805. (EPA Pesticide Program Update 11/07/2001EPA)

Keep in mind that the cumulative process established for the organophosphates is likely to set the rules of the game for all other groups of pesticides. Ignore this part of the process at your own peril.

Health and the Environment

Have you wondered whatever happened about Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD)? For those of you with short memories, an outbreak of FMD in Europe caused great concern for all of the countries (like the United States) that do not have FMD. You probably remember some news footage that looked like Great Britain was having the world's biggest BBQ. It appears that Great Britain's monumental efforts paid off.

Since the original outbreak on February 19, 2001, there have been 2,030 confirmed cases of FMD in Great Britain. The last case was diagnosed September 30, 2001; 30 days now without a confirmed case; the British government had indicated that 3 weeks without a confirmed case would indicate the outbreak had ended. Exportations of some products are beginning to occur in some locations.

In all, Great Britain had to destroy 3,913,000 animals (>7% of livestock population), including more than 3 million sheep, 600,000 cattle, and nearly 140,000 pigs. Indemnities paid for animals alone currently total over $178M.

PANUPS (10-26-01) reports that pesticide use in California has decreased for the second year in a row, but this information may not be as promising as it seems. The ongoing problem is that use and risk are not interchangeable. Suppose you exchange your current pesticide for another that is used at 0.1 of your current rate. You have reduced pesticide use by 90 percent. Suppose the new pesticide is ten times more toxic than your former pesticide. The risk has not changed.

This controversy has been going on for years, and it may never be resolved. The problem is simple. Pesticide use is relatively easy to measure and report. Pesticide risk, however, can be impossible to measure or report. Additionally, different types of risks cannot be easily compared. What if you reduce risks for fish but increase risks for birds? What if you reduce acute risks but increase the risk of cancer?

A new book challenges many of the doomsday predictions made by activist groups. Depending on your source, you may worry about overpopulation and world famine, running out of petroleum or global warming. Bjorn Lomborg, a Danish scientist and teacher and former member of Greenpeace does not think the sky is falling.

Bjorn Lomborg and his team of academicians report that the factual foundation for environmental catastrophe is often exaggeration or just plain lies. Although Lomborg still hopes that we will strive for a cleaner, healthier world, he thinks that creating public panic through misinformation is counterproductive.

It's been claimed that the world has lost two-thirds of its forests since the dawn of agriculture. According to Lomborg, the real loss is around 20 percent, and this figure has hardly changed since World War II. Tropical forests are declining at a small annual rate of 0.46 percent, but this is offset by growth in commercial plantations, which should be encouraged, as their products take the pressure off the tropical forests. In fact, the world's wood and paper needs could be permanently satisfied by tree plantations amounting to just 5 percent of the world's forest cover.

Lomborg also addresses pesticide issues. Suppose minute pesticide residues have the potential to cause cancer in a tiny number of cases -- one estimate would have it around 20 cases per annum in the United States (not very many in a country where 300 people drown in bathtubs every year). So we ban the pesticides. This in turn, Lomborg points out, would sharply drive up the price of cancer-preventing fruits and vegetables. By reducing consumption, especially among the poor, the pesticide ban in the end would cause more cancer (perhaps 26,000 cases annually) than the pesticides would have caused in the first place. Sometimes, as with toothbrushes, the best thing to do about a "problem" is exactly nothing.

To view the entire article, go to http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A12789-2001Oct18.html

I think these kinds of books have both advantages and risks. It is certainly to the advantage of society to consider both sides of the issue. Otherwise, policy will be established upon fear rather than science. However, we must not use books like this one as an excuse to do nothing. Even if our demise is not eminent, it is imperative for society to face problems like pollution before things get out of hand. Rachel Carson's book, Silent Spring, has been widely criticized for scientific inaccuracies. Even with its flaws, the book forced us to look realistically at the risks associated with pesticides. The world today is improved because of Ms. Carson's efforts.

Biotechnology

There are several news items related to biotechnology and Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). As you may already know, Bt is a microorganism that produces a toxic protein that kills some types of insects. Scientists have transferred these genes from Bt to a variety of crops, including cotton, corn, potato, etc. The crops are widely grown in the United States and in a few other countries. Bt crops have been quite controversial. The issues have ranged from nontarget (e.g., monarch butterfly) risks to global economics. All of the following Bt stories come to you from IPMnet NEWS, 11-01.

The USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) has developed a website to summarize the questions and information about the risks of Bt to monarch butterflies. There was some troubling data that suggested that Bt corn might threaten the U.S. population of monarch butterflies. The overall conclusion from USDA is that Bt corn is not a significant risk to monarchs. Other people do not believe them. Visit www.ars.usda.gov/is/br/btcorn/ to examine the USDA evidence and make up your own mind.

Key cotton producing countries are split over whether to use Bt cotton. Australia, China, and the United States (where Bt cotton accounts for more than 30 percent of the total crop now) are among the major adopters. India is experiencing a combination of misgivings about commercial release centering around concerns over seed costs, seed ownership, and environmental concerns.

Bt corn may not be the best choice for some farmers. The modified crop helps growers manage European corn borer. However, Bt corn seed is more expensive than other corn, so the technology can result in an economic disadvantage when corn borer infestation rates are below a certain level. A recent economic analysis found that low infestation rates in the U.S. state of Indiana made traditional corn varieties a better choice than Bt corn, unless Bt corn was viewed as a way of avoiding risk.

Research indicates that Bt is useful for reducing mycotoxins in corn ears. Mycotoxins, produced by mold, can be a dangerous contaminant. Insect injury can provide an opening for mycotoxin organisms to become established in the grain. You can see the research in the October 2001 issue of the Journal of Economic Entomology.

The American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) commissioned a series of viewpoint articles, published in the journal Plant Physiology focused on biotechnology and genetically modified crops. The authors, 13 international scientists, expressed a range of views and wrote with their fellow scientists in mind. The result was Genetically Modified Crops: What Do the Scientists Say? This provocative and far ranging collection can be read online www.aspb.org/publications/plantphys/gmcpub.cfm or ordered as a single publication from: ASPB (301-251-0560.)

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