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

Your source for pest management and pesticide news

September 2005/Volume 28, No. 9

As their numbers build through the season, hornets, yellow jackets, bumblebees and other social wasps defend their nests and forage for food more aggressively

FEDERAL NEWS

Take time to participate in the upcoming fruit chemical use survey.
The EPA is taking a hard look at fumigants; you have until October 12 to comment on the risk assessments
The USDA has scheduled a meeting to discuss advancements, needs and USDA-CSREES support of biologically based pest management
The IR-4 program has $400,000 to support biopesticide research; the deadline for applications is November 18
The EPA has good news for people that need the herbicide 2,4-D

HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Under a proposed EPA rule, neither the agency nor pesticide companies could support pesticide registrations with data obtained by intentionally dosing children and pregnant women with pesticide
Estimating human risks is complex, but assessing environmental risks can be even more challenging

BIOTECHNOLOGY

Temperature was discovered to affect the efficacy of genetically engineered cotton against the old world bollworm
According to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian farmers could lose as much as $3 billion by the country’s stance against genetically modified crops

NEWS YOU CAN USE

Scientists with DuPont and Nihon Nohyaku report two new classes of insecticides with reduced risk to nontargets

FQPA

The EPA has released the revised risk assessment for dimethoate; good risk reduction ideas may help maintain the availability of dimethoate products

DON’T DO IT

What should happen to a terrorist who puts thousands of pounds of dangerous chemicals into our water supply?


As their numbers build through the season, hornets, yellow jackets, bumblebees and other social wasps defend their nests and forage for food more aggressively. Many people are afraid of wasps and bees, and they call us for advice. Although many wasps and bees can deliver a painful sting, they are usually not difficult to manage (if you need to). These tips will help you understand and cope with wasps and bees around the home.

  1. Are the wasps/bees a problem? It is best to do nothing unless the wasps/bees are a threat to your family. Keep in mind that the nest has been there through the summer. Also remember that many wasps/bees consume large numbers of pest insects. Paper wasps search the garden thoroughly for caterpillars and other soft-bodied insects.
  2. Teach your children to recognize stinging insects and their nests. Remember that paper wasps often nest in shrubs.
  3. Keep a sting-relief product handy; some of them are very effective if applied immediately after a sting. Oral antihistamines can also help relieve symptoms. More serious symptoms, such as shortness of breath, nausea or difficulty swallowing require immediate medical attention.
  4. Can you wait until cool weather? Except for honeybees and ants, nearly all other social wasps/bees die during the winter. The survivors are typically mated females that will try to start a new colony in the spring. The wasps/bees will not reuse the nest next season although a hole in the ground or a hollow in a tree may be colonized again.
  5. If you need to eliminate a wasp or bee nest, remember that they are least active at night. The best time for you to treat the nest is at dusk or early in the morning. It can be dangerous to approach a nest at night with a flashlight. The wasps/bees may be attracted to the light if they are disturbed.
  6. If you need to use a pesticide, look for a wasp and bee product that will spray 20-30 feet. Carbaryl (Sevin) is a common household pesticide that is effective against bees and wasps.
  7. Apply the product in and around the entrance hole. The insects will be poisoned as they enter or leave the nest.

This publication provides additional information http://www.ent.uga.edu/publications/protect_against_bites.htm

Federal News

Take time to participate in the upcoming fruit chemical use survey. The USDA-NASS will be contacting growers in Georgia during October and November. Providing real-world data is the best thing growers can do to protect valuable pesticides.

The EPA is taking a hard look at fumigants; you have until October 12 to comment on the risk assessments. Fumigants are a difficult case. In many cases where fumigants are used, there is no effective substitute. However, fumigants can pose serious risks to human health and the environment. The agency needs information to balance the risks and benefits.

Methyl Bromide -- Fumigant Uses -- EPA extends to October 12, 2005, the deadline for the submission of public comments on its July 13, 2005 Federal Register Notice announcing the availability of the Agency's human health and environmental fate and effects risk assessments and related documents for the fumigant - EPA notes that " ... Methyl bromide is a broad-spectrum fumigant chemical that can be used as an acaricide, antimicrobial, fungicide, herbicide, insecticide, nematicide, and vertebrate control agent. The most prevalent use pattern is as a soil fumigant; however, it is also used as a structural fumigant and for post harvest treatment of commodities ..." -- Publicly available documents are to be posted in EPA docket identification (ID) number OPP-2005-0123 at http://docket.epa.gov/edkpub/index.jsp -- EPA OPPTS OPP Contact: Susan Bartow, Special Review and Reregistration Division at 703-603-0065; fax: 703-308-8041; e-mail: Bartow.Susan@EPA.gov -- EPA September 9 Federal Register: http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20051800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2005/05-18009.htm

1,3-Dichloropropene (trade name, Telone), a Fumigant Pesticide -- EPA Extends to October 12, 2005, the deadline for the submission of public comments on human health risk assessment and related documents -- Publicly available documents are to be posted in EPA docket identification (ID) number OPP-2005-0124 at http://www.epa.gov/edocket/ -- EPA OPPTS OPP Contact: Diane Sherman, Special Review and Reregistration Division at 703-308-0128; fax: 703-308-8041; e-mail: Sherman.Diane@EPA.gov -- EPA September 12 Federal Register: http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20051800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2005/05-18074.htm

Dazomet, a Fumigant Pesticide -- EPA extends to October 12, 2005, the deadline for the receipt of public comments on human health risk assessment and related documents -- EPA OPPTS OPP Contact: Dirk Helder, Special Review and Reregistration Division at 703-305-4610; fax: 703-308-8041; e-mail: Helder.Dirk@EPA.gov -- EPA September 12 Federal Register: http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20051800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2005/05-18075.htm

Metam Sodium, a Fumigant Pesticide -- EPA extends to October 12, 2005, the deadline for the receipt of public comments on human health risk assessment and related documents - EPA OPPTS OPP Contact: Dirk Helder, Special Review and Reregistration Division at 703 305 4610; fax: 703 308 8041; e-mail: Helder.Dirk@EPA.gov -- EPA September 12 Federal Register: http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20051800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2005/05-18076.htm

The USDA has scheduled a meeting to discuss advancements, needs, and USDA-CSREES support of biologically based pest management. The first part of the meeting will be presentations and a round table discussion with the National Program Leaders. This dialogue will solicit stakeholder input on new and emerging issues in biologically based pest management and help plan for future program needs.

Some important decisions could be made. You should consider attending. Biologically based pest management is becoming the buzzword for the next few years at least. If you plan to seek funding for this type of project, you should attend. 

The workshop is planned for Saturday, November 5. It is free, but seating is limited to 100 people. If you would like to register for the meeting, contact Leslie Gilbert at LGilbert@csrees.usda.gov

The IR-4 program has $400,000 to support biopesticide research; the deadline for applications is November 18. The program is particularly interested in how biopesticides could be used in conjunction with conventional pesticides to manage resistance to pesticides. Projects can be in early, advanced, or demonstration stage. The program focuses on minor crops or minor uses in major crops.

You will find the details at http://ir4.rutgers.edu/Docs/2006callforproposals.htm.

The EPA has good news for people that need the herbicide 2,4-D. In their latest comprehensive assessment, EPA scientists conclude that 2,4-D does not pose risks of concern for human health if the herbicide is used according to the EPA Reregistration Eligibility Document (RED).

There has been some concern in the past that 2,4-D could be linked to cancer in humans. The Agency scientists concluded that epidemiological studies do not show that 2,4-D causes human cancers.

This herbicide is one of the world’s most widely used pesticides, and economists predict a billion dollar impact on the U.S. economy if 2,4-D were not available.

The good news is that 2,4-D will be available for some time to come. The bad news is that we still do not for sure if 2,4-D could cause cancer in humans. Unfortunately data about chronic illnesses can rarely support a definitive statement like “this product does not cause cancer.” Epidemiologists look at people with a particular illness, and they look for things (e.g., pesticides) that might be linked to the illness. People are exposed to many different chemicals throughout their life, and there are little or no data on how chemical combinations affect the human body. Epidemiological reports typically present conclusions as probabilities rather than absolutes. For example, “There is little evidence to show that killabugorathroid causes cancer.”

You do not want an epidemiologist knocking on your door in 20 years to ask you about a chronic illness.

Health and the Environment

Under a proposed EPA rule, neither the agency nor pesticide companies could support pesticide registrations with data obtained by intentionally dosing children and pregnant women with pesticide. At first glance, such a rule seems unnecessary. Are people really dosing children and pregnant women with pesticides? This rule of one of the early steps by EPA to establish regulations that define how human data can be used to support or refute pesticide regulatory decisions. This early rule will probably move through without much opposition. Most pesticide company attorneys are not comfortable exposing children or pregnant women to pesticides.

Beyond this relatively easy step, however, the situation becomes more difficult to resolve. Any research supported by federal funds must follow a set of ethical standards referred to as the “Common Rule.” However, research funded and conducted by a pesticide company or other third party is not currently subject to this standard. One could certainly argue that the best data concerning pesticide effects on humans would come from human data. Drug companies expose people to their new chemicals. However, a sizable contingent of people think that testing pesticides on people is wrong, particularly if the test subjects are more likely to be poor and uneducated.

As rulemaking proceeds, the agency will have to deal with other thorny contingent issues. Is it proper to use data that have already been generated if the research did follow modern standards of conduct? What if the data came from another country? Suppose a new rule would forbid the use of any data if humans were exposed. Is it proper for health scientists to ignore good quality data if they know it exists? What if the decision would be completely different if the human data were included?

You will find more information at http://www.epa.gov/oppfead1/guidance/human-test.htm.

Estimating human risks is complex, but assessing environmental risks can be even more challenging. It is difficult to know how many animals are exposed. How much pesticide is transferred from plants to the animals? How much pesticide can an animal be exposed to without ill effects? Do animals avoid pesticide treated areas?

The EPA is opening the curtain a bit and sharing their model for estimating pesticide exposure risk to birds and mammals. The Terrestrial Residue Exposure (T-REX) Model automates the calculations needed for estimating pesticide residues on foliage, seeds, and fields, and the potential acute and chronic risks to birds and mammals based on these exposures. T-REX has been designed to be easy to use, yet maintains the level of flexibility needed for the multitude of chemicals and use patterns encountered by risk assessors.

T-REX (the federal office of acronyms earned their tax money with this name) allows the user to calculate dose- and dietary-based risk quotients, loadings or pesticide per unit area (LD50ft-2) for broadcast and banded (liquid and granular) pesticide applications, and seed treatment exposures to birds and mammals. Risk quotients, which are a prediction of risk, are calculated by dividing the estimated exposure to a pesticide by an effects or toxicity endpoint such as an LC50 (the concentration of a chemical where 50 percent of the exposed organisms die). For various size birds and mammals and each type of pesticide application, the model presents the results by weight class. Have a look http://www.epa.gov/oppefed1/models/terrestrial/index.htm.

Question: What if a pesticide helps U.S. farmers make $2 million per year, but the pesticide kills 1,000 fish?
Answer (from somebody not as smart as you): What’s a thousand fish, more or less? Are we talking about a good eatin’ fish or some kind of mud sucker?

Q: Suppose it is 100 bald eagles that are killed instead of 1,000 fish. Does that change your mind?
A: It don’t matter. You ain’t supposed to hunt bald eagles. They are difficult to clean, and they taste terrible.

Although presented with tongue in cheek, this Q&A gives you an idea of how difficult EPA’s job can be. How many dead fish should we accept to give agriculture a $2 million boost?

Biotechnology

Temperature was discovered to affect the efficacy of genetically engineered cotton against the old world bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera). Inconsistent control makes it more likely that the insect will develop resistance to this control strategy. Both consistently different temperatures and short-term temperature changes affected efficacy. Aphid injury to the plant did not cause changes in efficacy.

This insect is not a pest in U.S. cotton, although it has been detected in shipments of plants coming from the old world. However, discoveries like this one should keep all cotton entomologists on their toes. You never get a panacea with a free lunch, or something like that.

You can read the abstract for this article at http://www.bioone.org/bioone/?request=get-abstract&issn=0022-0493&volume=098&issue=04&page=1382

According to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian farmers could lose as much as $3 billion by the country’s stance against genetically modified crops. As Asian and South American countries adopt the new technology, the study contends that Australian farmers will face reduced profitability and lower market shares for conventional crops. Australia has approved transgenic canola, but moratoriums from states and territories have prevented planting of modified canola.

You can read the report at http://www.abareconomics.com/. (Crop Biotech Update, 9-23-05)

The dire predictions for Australia are based on the assumption that consumers will embrace genetically engineered foods and will not pay a premium for foods that do not contain genetically engineered ingredients. Until now, the market indicates that most consumers do not distinguish between genetically engineered foods and their conventional counterparts. However, I do not think that the market has been decided, and a substantial number of people will pay a premium for organic food products. The official definition for “organic” in the United States precludes genetic engineering.

Although the market for organic foods is relatively small, the growth figures are astounding. According to USDA, growth in the organic food market has increased 20 percent every year since 1990. In 2000, for the first time, more organic foods were purchased in conventional markets than in other venue. Organic foods are sold in 73 percent of all conventional supermarkets and an additional 20,000 natural food stores. Certified organic cropland doubled in the United States from 1992-1997. The USDA is predicting and supporting additional growth with nine agencies expanding organic programs.

Look a few years into the future. Imagine that the organic market has become a global gold mine. As genetic engineering begins to include genes from scorpions and other animals, more people may prefer non-engineered foods. Suppose farmers from Australia could advertise that genetically modified crops have never been grown on our continent, with the implication that their products must be more wholesome than products from other countries. This scenario is unlikely because Australian growers will utilize genetically modified crops as soon as they are allowed, but you must agree it could be worth a lot of money.

News You Can Use

Scientists with DuPont and Nihon Nohyaku report two new classes of insecticides with reduced risk to nontargets. Both classes of chemicals have activity similar to ryanodine. Ryanodine is extracted from some types of plants and used as a natural insecticide. The active molecule binds to a cell receptor that acts as a calcium gate. The loss of calcium triggers a loss of muscle control.

Insects have a single type of ryanodine receptor, but mammals have several different types. Another of the new chemicals binds to the insect receptor 500 to 2000 times more readily than to a mammalian receptor. As a result, the new pesticides have a much greater effect on insects than humans and other mammals. This report did not discuss risk to fish or birds.

Some of the new chemicals will be registered in Japan. Registration in the United States is not imminent. (Science News, 9-3-05)

FQPA

The EPA has released the revised risk assessment for dimethoate; good risk reduction ideas may help maintain the availability of dimethoate products. You will find the revised risk assessment (and how to comment) at http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/EPA-PEST/2005/September/Day-06/p17545.htm If you would like to speak with a real person, call Stephanie Plummer, Special Review and Reregistration Division (7508C), 7030305-0076; e-mail address: plummer.stephanie@epa.gov.

American agriculture and EPA have not made good use of stakeholder ideas to reduce pesticide risks. The people who need the pesticide have the most interest in keeping the chemical available. The registrant, obviously, would like to keep making a profit from the chemical, but a corporation often has to balance a particular decision against the other interests of the company. Expending large amounts of resources to maintain the full registration of an older product may not be the best way for a company to repay shareholders.

The pesticide registrants and the pesticide users need to share the burden of protecting pesticide registrations. The pesticide company should examine the validity of the EPA’s scientific risk assessment; their scientists should have the information and background to refute inaccuracies in the EPA report or supporting data. The pesticide users need to generate and review risk reduction strategies. Pesticide users often have insight into the practical applications of pesticides that may not be apparent to pesticide regulators or registrants. 

This case study will illustrate. The EPA assessment for Killaweed indicates an unacceptable aquatic risk. The primary risks seem to be associated with some minor uses, so the registrant has little profit motive to save the chemical. Additionally, there appear to be other pesticides registered for the same applications, but there are no data for the alternatives for this minor use. The growers know the alternatives are not effective; they need Killaweed. The agency and the pesticide registrant propose a 100-foot buffer if Killaweed is to be used around water. The growers cannot use the product with this restriction, but they know that Killaweed is commonly used as a spot treatment for a particularly noxious weed. The growers propose a 50-foot buffer along with a requirement that Killaweed can only be used as a spot treatment around waterways. The pesticide is saved; pesticide risks are reduced; all of American rejoices.

Nearly everyone thinks they know things that would never occur to the federal government or big companies. Now is your big chance to say what you know about dimethoate. The comment period closes November 7.

Don’t Do It

What should happen to a terrorist who puts thousands of pounds of dangerous chemicals into our water supply? Should the punishment be reduced if this miscreant had an army of accomplices? Each individual is only responsible for a small amount of the dangerous chemicals. Most people would favor a good swift kick in the pants or worse for each and every one of the accomplices.

If you use pesticides improperly or dispose of pesticides inappropriately, drop by our office for your kick. You are one of the millions of Americans who contribute to pesticide water contamination and environmental damage. An individual may not be responsible for much of the pesticide, but the total amount of pesticide contamination is tremendous.

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: 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:

Dr. Paul Guillebeau, Associate Professor  and Extension Entomologist