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

Your Source for Pest Management and Pesticide News

July 2001/Volume 24, No. 7



The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bill that would regulate how schools can use pesticides


The EPA is moving forward to establish a process to assess the cumulative risks of pesticides with a similar toxic mode of action
The EPA and a key registrant met to discuss risk mitigation for tetrachlorvinphos
The current cancellation scenario for benomyl is for DuPont to stop sale of their product, Benlate, at the end of June 2001


Produce washes that claim to remove bacteria and pesticides are becoming more popular, but do they work?
If you are concerned about West Nile virus, here is a web site for you


Believe it or not, the EPA wants greater public involvement
The EPA held a public meeting to improve the information available to consumers about the safe use of wood that has been pressure treated with chromated copper arsenate


September will mark the end of conditional registrations for crops that contain genes that encode for Bacillus thuringiensis protein
Insect resistance to Bt crops is also a major concern
The USDA has authorized nearly 29,000 field tests of genetically engineered organisms between 1987 and 2000


The EPA and FDA have been investigating illegal us of zeta-cypermethrin (Fury and Mustang) on wheat
Aldicarb is moving into Phase I of the FQPA/Reregistration process

Health and the Environment

Regulatory activities and public concern has recently focused on pesticide residues on peaches, but residue levels on peaches are typically very low. Peaches are big business in the Southeast, and minimizing pesticide residues is a major goal. However, tests repeatedly show residues to be 500 to 1,000 times below the tolerance set the EPA. Many times, residues are undetectable.

Scientists discovered that peach fuzz could hold tiny amounts of pesticide residue. Removing the fuzz reduces the pesticide load by 65 percent. A chlorinated-water bath reduces the residues further. Progressive growers intend to stay in the peach business for many years to come. They regularly work with university scientists to identify sources of pesticide residue and work to reduce the pesticide load even more. Even though current pesticide residues are far below EPA tolerances, peach growers want to stay ahead of the regulatory curve and to assure consumers that peaches are safe. (Joe Courson, Georgia Extension Service)

As part of its efforts to monitor the West Nile Virus, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has been making an intensive effort to investigate the death of birds and mammals found in the state. In the past year, New York state has submitted reports on 72 incidents of pesticide-related poisoning for 219 birds and 6 mammals. Many of these incidents involved only 1 animal, and all but 4 of the incidents involved bird kills. The majority of incidents have been attributed to the use of the avicide 4-aminopyridine (AvitrolŪ), the rodenticides brodifacoum and bromadiolone, and the insecticide diazinon, as well as persistent residues of banned organochlorine pesticides. Most of the kills were located in urban or suburban areas, especially around New York City and Albany. These reports indicate that residential use of pesticides in urban and suburban settings causes small but frequent incidents of wildlife mortality. These incidents go largely unreported in other states and may be grossly under-represented in the Office of Pesticide Program's Ecological Incident Information System database. ('The Newest News' from Wilfred Burr USDA Office of Pest Management Policy, 6-19-01)

The USGS recently released water quality reports on its assessment of 16 additional major river basins and aquifers in the United States. These reports bring the total number of river basin and aquifer assessments to 36 (the first 20 were released in 1998). 1) in the Mississippi Embayment study area, concentrations of DDT in streams and rivers were often higher than national norms; 2) in 14 major urban centers across the Nation, including San Antonio and Dallas, Texas, PCB's and DDT are decreasing, while clycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and zinc are increasing in watersheds experiencing urban growth; 3) fish and aquatic invertebrate communities are commonly impaired in the urbanized parts of New Jersey due to increased development; 4) diazinon was frequently detected in urban streams in Puget Sound and Sacramento River Basins, often exceeding the Office of Water's Aquatic Life Criteria; 5) concentrations of alachlor and cyanazine have decreased in the Illinois River since 1991 because of decreased use of these pesticides; 6) some herbicide degradation products were found at 10 times the concentration of parent compounds in Iowa; 7) insecticide concentrations in streams of the Central Arizona Basins were among the highest in the Nation and exceeded OW's Aquatic Life Criteria; and 8) in the Lake Erie-Lake Saint Clair Drainages, several heavily used herbicides and insecticides were detected in spring and summer at or above drinking water standards or Aquatic Life Criteria. In addition, contamination of river sediments by persistent and bioaccumulative contaminants was prevalent. For more detailed information, refer to the USGS website.

IPM Notebook

The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bill that would regulate how schools can use pesticides. Under the School Environment Protection Act of 2001 (SEPA), schools would be required to take the following actions.

  1. Implement a school pest management policy considering sanitation, structural repair, mechanical, biological, cultural and pesticide strategies that minimize health and environmental risks as developed by the state and EPA approved;
  2. Universal notification 3 times per year (at the beginning of the school year, midyear, and once for summer session) of school pesticide use;
  3. Provide parents and school staff access to health and toxicity information on all pesticides used in schools;
  4. Establish a registry for parents and school staff to sign-up to receive 24 hour pre-notification of a pesticide application;
  5. Provide information on the pesticide's adverse health effects on the notice provided via the registry;
  6. Post signs 24 hours prior to the pesticide application and remain posted for 24 hours;
  7. Ensure the area where a pesticide application is to take place is unoccupied;
  8. Record keeping of pesticide use and disclosure;
  9. 24 hour reentry period for pesticide applications made via baseboard spraying, broadcast spraying, tenting or fogging, unless the label specifies a specific reentry interval.

Antimicrobials, baits, gels, and pastes are exempt from the notice via registry and posting requirement, and states or local governments/schools may adopt more stringent policies.

I think we can live with the Act as it appears now. If it passes in the House, the bill may undergo significant changes. This legislation is additional evidence that we need to stay ahead of the curve on IPM in Schools.

Food Quality Protection Act -- Reregistration

The EPA is moving forward to establish a process to assess the cumulative risks of pesticides with a similar toxic mode of action. Once the protocol is established, the Agency will put all of the organophosphates into one risk cup. Until now, EPA has considered the organophosphates individually, and some pretty drastic pesticide decisions have been the result.

PAY ATTENTION to the cumulative risk process! Examine the reports and take the time to comment. These discussions will establish the rules for the organophosphates and all other pesticide groupings (e.g., the carbamates) that will follow. A meeting of the Committee to Advise on Reassessment and Transition (CARAT) is scheduled for June 28. We will probably see the results of that meeting in the next month. Stay tuned to GPMN.

The EPA and a key registrant met to discuss risk mitigation for tetrachlorvinphos. Tetrachlorvinphos is widely used in animal operations and for pet treatments. Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica is the registrant for livestock products, and Hartz Mountain is the registrant for pet products. All crop uses for tetrachlorvinphos have been canceled.

Boehringer met with EPA to discuss risk and plan mitigation strategies. Occupational uses on poultry using backpack sprayers and low-pressure hand wands are areas of concern. Mitigation options were proposed and could possibly be implemented in the near future. Tetrachlorviphos is used for livestock and pet treatments.

A meeting with Hartz to discuss residential uses will be held in two weeks. Tetrachlorvinphos, an organophosphate, is currently in phase 6 of the public participation process.

The current cancellation scenario for benomyl is for DuPont to stop sale of their product, Benlate, at the end of June 2001. This will be followed by a cessation of sales by distributors by the end of 2002. Benomyl products in the hands of users or dealers can be sold or used until exhausted. However, EPA will revoke the tolerances for benomyl as some, yet undetermined, date. Since this cancellation decision was voluntary and not risk related, the period before revocation of tolerances will likely be generous, probably three years or more. It must be stressed that this was not a risk mitigation decision, but rather it was a business decision by DuPont based upon costs incurred through litigation.

Benomyl is a critical fungicide for a number of crops. Minor crops are particularly vulnerable because they are less likely to have other alternatives. The following crops/uses are considered critical; these uses would be good candidates to request an EPA emergency exemption (Section 18) for another pesticide if benomyl is not available.

Blueberries -- Fusicoccum canker (Fusicoccum sp.), Phomopsis canker (Phomopsis vaccinii), and anthracnose fruit rot (Colletotrichum gloeosporioides) - this use was added to the list following the teleconference based on new information
Canola -- Sclerotinia stem rot (Sclerotinia sp.)
Citrus -- postbloom fruit drop (Colletotrichum acutatum)
Garlic -- Penicillium clove rot (Penicillium sp.)
Grapes -- Eutypa dieback (Eutypa lata)
Melons -- Damping-off (Acremonium spp.)
Mushrooms -- green mold (Trichoderma harzianum)
Pistachios -- Shoot blight (Botrytis cinerea & Botryosphaeria sp.)
Seed Treatment -- black leg of crucifers (Phoma lingam)
Tomatoes -- white mold or timber rot (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum)

Health and the Environment

Produce washes that claim to remove bacteria and pesticides are becoming more popular, but do they work? According to scientists at the University of Georgia, the answer is 'Yes and No.' Some products are no better than water, and some are as effective as high levels of chlorine for removing bacteria. A Proctor & Gamble product, 'Fit,' was named as an effective product if consumers are concerned about bacterial loads on produce. The scientists report that consumers should not be concerned with pesticide residues. "In the U.S., there very little produce with pesticide residues anywhere near the allowed tolerance levels." (Georgia Magazine, 6-01)

If you are concerned about West Nile virus, here is a web site for you. West Nile virus has not been detected in Georgia yet, but the virus has been found in some states just to the north. It has aroused considerable public concern, both about the disease and the pesticides applied to control vector mosquito populations. The National Pesticide Telecommunications Network has created a new web site with a wealth of information about West Nile virus.

Federal News

Believe it or not, the EPA wants greater public involvement. Here is your opportunity to work with EPA and panels of experts to improve public participation in EPA activities.

Over the course of 10 days (including a Saturday), the participants will discuss specific topics drawn from EPA's newly drafted Public Involvement Policy. EPA is now seeking your thoughts and ideas on how it should implement this policy. Because this will be a web-based discussion, you can select the topics that interest you and participate at your convenience.

A revolving panel of experts will discuss the main aspects of the draft Public Involvement Policy with each other and with approximately 500 participants. These topics will be discussed.

You can learn more and register to take part in the discussion at this web site.

Many people complain about the government, but very few try to participate in the process. This shortcoming has two unfortunate consequences. 1) The EPA and government agencies have no idea what people want or how regulations will affect them. 2) Small, active groups have a political voice that far exceeds the number of people they represent. In the case of pest management, small groups have successfully removed or restricted important pesticides.

Don't complain about the referees if you aren't even trying to get into the game.

The EPA held a public meeting to improve the information available to consumers about the safe use of wood that has been pressure treated with chromated copper arsenate (CCA), a wood preservative that contains arsenic. The American Wood Preservers Institute (AWPI) has made some suggestions to improve consumer awareness, including: 1) placement of individual tags with specific safe handling information on each piece of CCA-treated lumber before being sold to consumers, 2) in-store displays with stickers and signs, and 3) a toll-free hotline and a web site.

The EPA is currently conducting a comprehensive assessment of CCA-treated wood. As part of this review, EPA has begun an expedited assessment of children's exposure to CCA-treated wood in playgrounds. The Agency's evaluations will be based on all available scientific information and will undergo extensive scientific peer review in a transparent manner. By the end of the summer, EPA expects to complete its draft children's exposure assessment, which subsequently will undergo a scientific peer review process. EPA is currently planning the peer review and public participation processes that will be used to complete the children's exposure assessment. The overall reassessment of CCA-treated wood is part of the Agency's ongoing pesticide reregistration program which periodically re-evaluates older pesticides for compliance with current health and environmental safety standards. Following the thorough assessment of scientific data related to CCA-treated wood in a process that allows ample opportunity for public involvement, EPA will be able to make informed regulatory decisions about these products to ensure that Federal health and environmental safety standards are met. (Thanks to Bob Bellinger, Clemson U.)


September will mark the end of conditional registrations for crops that contain genes that encode for Bacillus thuringiensis protein. This toxic protein is an effective control for certain pests, but some people are concerned about the potential risks of genetically engineered crops. As a result, the EPA is reassessing the risks and benefits of Bt crops. The review document will include consideration of public comments, report of the SAP released in March from the October meeting, data from the monarch DCI, and additional scientific data and information that has come in since the preliminary reassessment was released last September. An option paper on recommendations for changes to the current registrations is also being developed.

Insect resistance to Bt crops is also a major concern. If pest populations do become resistant to Bt crops, they will probably be resistant to foliar sprays of Bt as well. For many organic operations, Bt sprays are a major tool for controlling caterpillar pests.

The EPA/Office of Research and Development/National Risk Management Research Laboratory hosted the first in a series of small expert group workshops on Bt corn insect resistance management (IRM) on June 4 and 5 in Washington, D.C. The focus of the first workshop was on pest simulation model design and validation. Important outcomes of the workshop: standardization of model outputs (time to resistance), i.e., for spatially-explicit stochastic models -- resistance would be defined as when 5 percent of the fields would have a resistance allele frequency of 0.50 and for deterministic models -- resistance would be defined as when the resistance allele >frequency is 0.50, corn root worm-protected Bt corn models will be compared, biological parameter uncertainty is important and should be better described, biological processes underlining models should be well-defined, and stacked gene models should be developed and examined for IRM. OPP/BPPD participated in the development of this workshop and will participate in the development of the other three workshops. This type of OPP and ORD working relationship has been very successful and should be the model for other research issues related to pesticides. ('The Newest News' from Wilfred Burr, USDA Office of Pest Management Policy, 6-21-01)

According to State Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) and Genetically Engineered Food Alert, the USDA has authorized nearly 29,000 field tests of genetically engineered organisms between 1987 and 2000. Monsanto (or a now wholly owned subsidiary) applied to conduct the greatest number of field tests every year, totaling nearly 2,000 applications. Since 1995, seven of the top 10 companies seeking to conduct field tests have merged into two companies: Monsanto and DuPont. As of January 2001, the ten states and territories that have hosted the greatest number of field test sites are: Hawaii (3,275), Illinois (2,832), Iowa (2,820), Puerto Rico (2,296), California (1,435), Idaho (1,060), Minnesota (1,055), Nebraska (971), Wisconsin (918), and Indiana (886).
(PANUPS, 6-16-01)

Depending on your point of view, this report is good news of progress or bad news that is more evidence that biotechnology is being implemented too quickly with too few safeguards.

Don't Do it

The EPA and FDA, in cooperation with EPA Regional Offices, USDA and the State regulatory officials, have been investigating illegal us of zeta-cypermethrin (Fury and Mustang) on wheat. Reportedly, the pesticide has been illegally applied to 6,458 acres of wheat in Arkansas and 18,271 acres in Mississippi to control a serious outbreak of armyworms. However, this pesticide is not registered for use on wheat, and no tolerance is established.

Preliminary reports indicate that a company representative allegedly recommended that if zeta-cypermethrin were applied to wheat at one-half the rate on the cotton label (it is registered for use on cotton) no residues would be detected. The States, however, investigated these reports and found residues well above the tolerance for cotton. In the past two weeks, EPA has participated in numerous meetings and conference calls to determine the dimensions of the misuse, to coordinate a response within EPA and with the other concerned federal agencies, and to work with States and regional and field offices of FDA to make sure the adulterated wheat does not move off the farms. On June 11th, a letter co-signed by EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance and Assurance (OECA) and FDA was sent out to EPA Regions and the States for distribution to farmers warning them not to move the contaminated wheat into the market or feed it to animals.

This is not the first time that pyrethroids have been illegally applied to small grains, and some people may not see any harm in it. After all, pyrethroids are registered for a number of food crops. Isn't this problem just a technicality? You are making a big mistake if you adopt this attitude. 1) Contaminated grain or other commodities cannot be sold or used as animal feed. The growers in Arkansas and Mississippi are simply out of luck unless they can prove a company representative told them to apply the product illegally. 2) More importantly, public trust in agriculture is our most valuable commodity.

Aldicarb is moving into Phase I of the FQPA/Reregistration process, and growers are making the continued availability of aldicarb uncertain. This pesticide is widely used on cotton, peanuts, pecans, and other crops. It is critical for control of some pests. So, why do so many people continue to intentionally use aldicarb to kill dogs, cats, and other animals? We may as well send EPA a petition to please cancel aldicarb. NEVER use any pesticide to kill unwanted animals. This type of gross misuse will not go unnoticed. NEVER give pesticides to anyone unless you are sure they will use it according to the label. Growers should restrict access to aldicarb or other pesticides that are highly toxic. In many cases, employees or other people are simply 'borrowing' a little aldicarb without the grower's knowledge or permission. The interim Reregistration Eligibility Document of aldicarb will be released next year. There is still time to save (or lose) aldicarb.

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.

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Department of Entomology
University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602


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Paul Guillebeau, Associate Professor & Extension Entomologist