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

Your source for pest management and pesticide news

September 2000/Volume 23, No. 9

IPM NOTEBOOK

We need your help to compile an integrated pest management IPM report for Georgia

RECORDKEEPING

It is becoming more important for applicators to maintain complete records of restricted-use pesticides

FOOD QUALITY PROTECTION ACT

The EPA Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) is trying to sort out the ongoing cancer risk assessment for malathion
Chlorpyrifos-methyl (Reldan) has been widely used to control insects in oats, rice, wheat, and other stored grains; the manufacturer has requested cancellation
State pesticide regulators were outraged over the EPA handling of chlorpyrifos

HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT

The June issue of the American Journal of Public Health reported a study that assessed acute hazards of pesticides to young children
The Government Accounting Office has released their findings on pesticide use in schools
Many schools and parents expose children to unnecessary pesticide risk because they do not understand how to control head lice
Look out for the Asian Longhorned Beetle!
In December 1997, the USDA released a new rule to regulate organic production that infuriated many stakeholders; a revised rule is now available

PESTICIDE USAGE

USDA has released the 1999 Summary of Agricultural Chemical Usage for Fruits & Nuts

TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES

The SE Georgia Conference Center will conduct training to help you prepare to take the exam for a commercial pesticide applicator's license in Category 24
Would you like to know exactly what pesticide inspectors are looking for when they come to your facility?
Have you checked your address with the Georgia Department of Agriculture lately?

BIOTECHNOLOGY

USDA scientists are exploring the advantages of genetically engineering an egg protein into corn
The controversy surrounding the impacts of Bt corn on monarch butterfly populations is heating up following tests that suggest the corn pollen kills monarchs in the field

IPM Notebook

We need your help to compile an integrated pest management IPM report for Georgia. Much of our IPM program is funded by federal and state funds, and it is important for us to show the value of those investments. After all, many other programs and states are competing for the same money.

As the IPM coordinator, it is my responsibility to compile an IPM report, and I can readily gather information about UGA research and extension programs with help from my colleagues. However, it is also important for us to show that IPM helps real people in the real world. If you have an anecdote about how IPM has improved your operation, call me, write me, or e-mail me. The stories can be anything from better pest management to improvement of your bottom line. The story does not have to be eloquent or backed up with scientific data. You do not even have to write it; just give me a call. We need reports from big farms, small farms, major crops, minor crops, row crops, ornamentals, forestry, minority growers, old-timers, new growers, etc. Georgia has a very strong IPM program that ranges from basic research to grower implementation, and it is time for us to show it off. Thanks; your input will help us keep Georgia's IPM program working for everybody!

Recordkeeping

It is becoming more important for applicators to maintain complete records of restricted-use pesticides. Until now, inspectors have been very understanding about pesticide records that did not contain all of the required elements. After all, there has been some confusion (and laziness) among applicators, and the inspections were primarily an educational tool. In the near future, however, incomplete records may be viewed as any other non-compliance situation, such as no records.

If you do not know what records you need to keep, contact your county extension agent. We can supply compliance brochures, peel-and-stick labels, and refrigerator magnets to help you keep the proper records. The materials are available in both English and Spanish.

Overall, Georgia applicators seem to be doing a pretty good job. According to USDA, there were 140 recordkeeping inspections in Georgia in 1999 (including 15 follow-up visits). Out of all the inspections, zero warning letters were issued. (Pesticide Recordkeeping Program Summary, Fiscal Year 1999)

If you are trying to keep the proper records, you are very unlikely to get in real trouble. The inspector will help you understand what records you need, and you may have a second visit from inspectors to find out if you have corrected your mistakes. Keep in mind, however, that you can receive a substantial fine if you refuse to comply with recordkeeping regulations. More importantly, poor records can expose you to additional liability in the case of a pesticide-related lawsuit.

Food Quality Protection Act

The EPA Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) is trying to sort out the ongoing cancer risk assessment for malathion. Malathion is a widely used organophosphate insecticide, and its use around the home may increase dramatically as a result of the recent actions against chlorpyrifos and diazinon. The Agency determination about carcinogenicity carries broad implications. Before the EPA released the preliminary risk assessment, the Agency classified malathion as a 'likely' carcinogen. In the assessment, malathion is called a 'suggestive' carcinogen. The change of this single word greatly changes the way that people will view the risks of malathion.

The plot thickens with an accusation from the National Treasury Employees' Union (a federal union that represents some EPA employees). The union claims that the Agency refused to send anyone to a Pathology Working Group that was reviewing tissue slides from a malathion bioassay. Upon reviewing the slides, the working group reportedly concluded that some of the slides were not carcinomas as previously thought. (Pesticide & Environmental News, 8-17-00)

Chlorpyrifos-methyl (Reldan) has been widely used to control insects in oats, rice, wheat, and other stored grains; the manufacturer has requested cancellation. About 80 percent of chlorpyrifos-methyl is applied to wheat. It has been an important alternative to malathion (see the preceding paragraph). The EPA is concerned about worker exposure and residues on grain. In 1996, the USDA reported that 73 percent of sampled wheat had detectable residues of chlorpyrifos-methyl, although the levels were well below the established tolerance. See details at www.epa.gov/pesticides

This decision may have some serious implications. Insects are a major problem in stored grains. However, the public will not accept grain infested with insects; the insects and concomitant spoilage are also health concerns. Additionally, some other control possibilities are unacceptable. Suppose you introduce a predatory insect to control the stored grain pests. How do you remove the beneficial insects that are now in the grain? Researchers continue to investigate other options such as modified atmospheres, pheromones, and genetic engineering. See Avidin story in the 'Biotechnology' section below.

State pesticide regulators were outraged over the EPA handling of chlorpyrifos. Chlorpyrifos was recently cancelled for all uses around the home, including termite applications. At the recent meeting of the Association of American Pesticide Control Officials (AAPCO), state regulators pointed out to EPA that they are co-regulators of pesticides, not simply customers or stakeholders. Most states have signed a cooperative agreement with EPA that makes the state officials the primary pesticide regulator in their state. AAPCO (and many others) were upset primarily because EPA excluded them from the decision-making process when many chlorpyrifos uses were cancelled. (Pesticide & Environmental News, 8-10-00)

Health and the Environment

The June issue of the American Journal of Public Health reported a study that assessed acute hazards of pesticides to young children. The study used information from a database maintained by the American Assoc. of Poison Control Centers. From 1993-95, about 7,500 children younger than 6 years were exposed to Toxicity Category I or II pesticides. More than 98 percent of the children had minor or no clinical effects resulting from their exposure; health care professionals treated 14 percent of the children.

Before you start to criticize farmers or pest control operators, you need to hear the whole story. Disinfectants (primarily bathroom and kitchen cleaners) accounted for 93 percent of the exposures. Insecticides were identified in 6 percent of the cases. Three-fourths of the cases were children 1 or 2 years old. (Agromedicine Program Update, 8-15-00)

I think we can conclude from this report that we parents are responsible for most of the pesticide risks our children face. Many times we do not think of familiar chemicals as pesticides, and we ignore the risks associated with them. Check around the house now for household cleaners and other pesticides. Please lock them away from children. Store the chemicals securely even if your children are older. Many times, children are poisoned at the home of a friend or relative.

The Government Accounting Office has released their findings on pesticide use in schools. The bottom line, there is little information about how (and how much) pesticides are used in schools. Only New York and Louisiana require reporting on pesticide use in schools, and their data has not been analyzed. State laws regarding pesticide use vary considerably across the United States. Federal pesticide law has no specific provisions regarding pesticide use in schools.

From 1993 to 1996, the Association of Poison Control Centers indicates that there were 2,300 reported incidents of pesticide exposure linked to school applications. Of the 329 individuals taken to health care facilities, 15 were hospitalized, and four were placed in intensive care. (Use, Effects and Alternatives to Pesticides in Schools, http://www.gao.gov/AIndexFY00/abstracts/rc00017.htm, via Pesticide Notes May-June 2000)

The EPA, states, and the pest control industry are working to reduce pesticide risks in schools. Additionally, there is a bill before Congress to regulate pesticide use in schools. Georgia regulators are considering revised language that would affect structural pest control operators (Georgia applicators take note!).

The UGA Extension Service is also working closely with the Georgia Pest Control Association, the Legal Environmental Assistance Foundation, and local schools to reduce pesticide risk through integrated pest management (IPM). The IPM in Schools program will be implemented through local county extension offices and local school systems. IPM in Schools will identify pesticide risks in schools and offer training and assistance to minimize risks. The program is underway. Within this school year, we plan to implement IPM in Schools throughout Georgia.

Many schools and parents expose children to unnecessary pesticide risk because they do not understand how to control head lice. Head lice are becoming a more serious problem because many populations are resistant to the most commonly used insecticide in lice shampoo. Head lice are very specific parasites; they cannot live off of the human head for more than 24 hours. They do not infest animals, carpets, furniture, stuffed animals, etc. NEVER treat any of these items with a pesticide to control head lice. Spraying pesticide does not help to control head lice. We are distributing two new head lice brochures through schools and health departments. Look for them in the coming weeks. Contact your school, health department, or local extension office for more information.

Look out for the Asian Longhorned Beetle! This beetle was accidentally imported from China, and it has the potential for enormous damage to a wide range of broadleaf trees. In one province of China, more than 50,000,000 trees had to be cut down. In Chicago, more than 1,000 trees were destroyed in 1998. Maple trees, which make up about 30 percent of urban trees in the eastern United States, are a favorite host. The only alternative at this point is to cut down infested trees. Our best strategy is to limit the spread of this potentially devastating pest. The adult beetle is a big, showy insect; we are most likely to see it first in nurseries. You can see a picture and read details at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/oa/alb/alb.html or simply search for Asian longhorned beetle on the Internet. (IPM Practitioner, 7-00)

In December 1997, the USDA released a new rule to regulate organic production that infuriated many stakeholders; a revised rule is now available. The original rule caused an outcry because it permitted the use of sewage sludge, ionizing radiation, and genetically engineered organisms in organic production. The new rule excluding genetically modified organisms (GMO) or GMO products may create some new headaches for organic producers. To be certified organic, the producer would have to ensure that any compost or manures used in production are free from any GMO products. For example, you may not be able to use manure from source animals that have fed upon any GMO product. Keep in mind that a large portion of U.S. soybeans, corn, and cotton are planted to GMO. (www.ams.usda.gov/nop) via IPM Practitioner, May-June 2000)

Pesticide Usage

USDA has released the 1999 Summary of Agricultural Chemical Usage for Fruits & Nuts. The USDA National Ag. Statistics Service collects this data to find out how much pesticide and fertilizer are used on various commodities. If you cooperated on these surveys (thanks), you may have wondered if you were wasting your time. These data are useful for several reasons.

  1. Sound regulatory decisions are based on current, reliable data. If EPA plans some regulatory action, we can show them which chemicals are critical. Otherwise, the Agency may assume that a chemical is relatively unimportant.
  2. Researchers can identify pests for which there are insufficient alternatives or where large amounts of a particular pesticide are used. These reports help to target research or extension needs.
  3. People concerned about pesticide environmental or health effects can find out where large amounts of dangerous pesticides are used. It can fuel protests, but more importantly, the data help to target research and resources for safer alternatives. Additionally, this information helps to focus pesticide applicator training.
  4. Growers can compare their pesticide usage with other growers in Georgia or other states. If their usage is significantly different from others, a grower may be able to determine how to improve their own production. Growers interested in new commodities can also find out what kinds of pesticide inputs would be required.

Georgia commodities in this edition include apples, blueberries, peaches, and pecans. The reports are available for free via the Internet or e-mail, http://www.usda.gov/nass/pubs/agstats.htm or usda-reports@usda.mannlib.cornell.edu. Some reports are available via Fax. Call 202-720-2000; document 0411 is a list of available reports. You can also obtain a hard copy by calling 800-999-6779. There is a fee for hard copies.

Training Opportunities

The SE Georgia Conference Center will conduct training to help you prepare to take the exam for a commercial pesticide applicator's license in Category 24 (ornamentals & turf). Two courses are offered: an eight-hour session ($99) and a three-hour session ($30). Call 800-603-1278 for more information. If you are interested, hurry. The sessions begin September 11.

Also remember that a video review of the general standards exam and Category 24 is available for loan through your local extension. You are allowed to take the video home, and you may copy the video if you need it.

Would you like to know exactly what pesticide inspectors are looking for when they come to your facility? A copy of the forms that pesticide inspectors use to complete their reports will be available at http://www.ces.uga.edu/Agriculture/Pesticideapplicator/pest-home.html. Additionally, you can schedule a mock inspection for producers in your area. Call Angela Daigle at the Georgia Department of Agriculture for details (404-656-4958) or adaigle@agr.state.ga.us

Have you checked your address with the Georgia Department of Agriculture lately? If your address is incorrect, you are missing important notifications regarding your pesticide license and training opportunities. If your address has changed in the last few years, complete the address section of the form you complete at any recertification meeting and check the 'new address' box.

Biotechnology

USDA scientists are exploring the advantages of genetically engineering an egg protein into corn. The protein, avidin, restricts the availability of biotin; biotin is a vitamin that is essential for insect development. Avidin corn was toxic to a wide range of stored-product pests including maize weevil, flour beetles, Indian meal moth, grain beetle, and Mediterranean flour moth. Avidin is already a common part of the human diet because it occurs naturally in eggs. However, a thorough risk assessment will be required before the corn is released to the market. Environmental risks are expected to be very low because only insects feeding on the corn would be exposed, and avidin is biodegradable. Scientists are also modifying their techniques to make sure that avidin is not expressed in corn pollen. (Agricultural Research, 8-00)

Expect this progress to raise the debate over genetically modified foods to a new level. Some people have already expressed that they were not concerned about microbial/plant engineering; however, they said they would be very concerned when scientists placed animal genes into plants. If you are a strict vegetarian, does the inclusion of a single animal gene keep a plant out of your diet? If your religion bans certain items from your diet, can you eat plants that have genes from taboo items?

The controversy surrounding the impacts of Bt corn on monarch butterfly populations is heating up following tests that suggest the corn pollen kills monarchs in the field. Bt corn is genetically engineered to produce a Bacillus thuringiensis toxin that kills pest insects. An earlier laboratory experiment indicated that the pollen was also toxic to the larvae of the monarch butterfly. The lab experiments were criticized because they did not reflect 'real-world' conditions.

In the 8-21 on-line edition of Oecologia, Iowa state scientists reported that 20 percent of monarch larvae feeding on milkweed naturally dusted with Bt corn pollen were killed. These results do not resolve the controversy either way. Corn pollen is heavy, so it falls close to the plant. Conventional pesticides can drift much farther and are more toxic to monarchs and other non-target insects. Additionally, monarch populations were reported to be up 30 percent in spite of the fact that 28 million acres of Bt corn were planted in the U.S. However, a wide range of environmental factors affect monarch populations, so the population increase may be meaningless. Additionally, no one is sure if monarch larvae are feeding on milkweed close to cornfields. Some scientists feel that monarchs may be feeding on milkweed within cornfields. On the other hand, the Biotechnology Industry Organization argues that 20 university studies (unpublished but presented in seminars) do not indicate that Bt corn endangers monarch populations.

Public action groups are using these latest data to renew their call for greater restrictions on the use of Bt corn (and other modified crops) and mandatory perimeters of non-Bt corn around Bt corn fields. The non-Bt corn would act as a filter to prevent the spread of the Bt corn pollen. (Pesticide & Environmental News, 8-24-00)

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/ces/wnews.html

Sincerely,

Paul Guillebeau, Associate Professor & Extension Entomologist