In the National News
TWO PESTICIDES LNKED TO PARKINSON'S DISEASE
The National Institute of Health’s Agricultural Health Study, which is examining pesticide use of 90,000 applicators, has found a relationship between the use of rotenone and paraquat and the incidence of Parkinson’s disease. Applicators who used either pesticide were 250% more likely to develop Parkinson’s than non-applicators. Rotenone targets mitochondria and paraquat can harm cellular structures. Rotenone has recently been voluntarily cancelled for all uses other than fisheries, and paraquat is a restricted use product.
MODES OF BED BUG RESISTANCE
Entomologists at Ohio State University found that bed bugs collected from home dwellings that are resistant to pyrethroids produce enzymes that quickly degrade the pesticide, allowing the chemicals to be excreted without harming the insect. They compared the collected bed bugs to an isolated laboratory colony that had been pesticide-free for decades, and found that 1,000 times the amount of active ingredient was required to kill the collected bed bugs. Ohio’s petition for an EPA emergency exemption to use propoxur was rejected in June 2010.
NEW RICE STORAGE IPM METHODS
Rice is an important food staple to 3 billion people and rising. Storage insect pests, however, are developing resistance to treated rice, leading to huge losses. After 5 years of research, an international team of researchers have developed chemical-free integrated pest management (IPM) methods to protect stored rice that are now being used in India and other developing countries. When compared to non-managed stored rice, the IPM stored rice was 95% cleaner. The approach involves electronic insect traps monitored with computers, aeration/refrigeration of silos, and carbon dioxide or nitrogen gas to slow pest development. The system could also help small farmers in developing countries get a better return on their rice.
CANADA GOOSE DECLARED A PEST IN NEW ZEALAND
The Canada goose was introduced into New Zealand as a game bird, but now threatens native waterfowl, spoils waterways, and has become an agricultural nuisance. After several years of campaigning by the Federated Farmers, the NZ Government recently announced that the goose will no longer be protected and can be treated as a pest. One small island now has a population of 35,000, and the NZ Fish and Game will soon implement a pest management program.
DESTRUCTIVE PEST INTERCEPTED IN ATLANTA
A khapra beetle larva (Trogoderma granarium) was identified in a small bag of dried beans intercepted by U.S. customs officers in the Atlanta airport from the luggage of passengers arriving from India. An outbreak of this pest, designated “one of the world’s most destructive” occurred in California in 1953 and cost over $15 million to eradicate.
EARTHWORMS AFFECT WEED COMPOSITION
Ohio State weed scientists have discovered that earthworms drag 90% of ragweed seeds on the soil surface of crop fields to underground burrows. This new insight explains why ragweed seeds survive in no-tillage fields. The discovery, made by tying string to seeds and finding the strings’ paths created by the worms, shows the importance of earthworms in weed seed distribution.
NATIONWIDE PESTICIDE USE HAS DECREASED
EPA announced a decrease in American pesticide use by 11% from 1997 to 2007. Recent phase-outs of organophosphates (chlorpyrifos and diazinon for residential use and azinphosmethyl for agricultural use) have led to a 55% reduction in use of this chemical class. As pesticide use goes down, costs increase, particularly for the agricultural sector. Farms in the U.S. spent $7.3 billion on pesticides in 2006 and $8 billion in 2007. The most commonly used products in all sectors are herbicides, with glyphosate, 2,4-D, and atrazine at the top. Sales in the U.S. account for 32% of the world market.
WAR ON BROWN MARMORATED STINK BUG MEGINS
Seven eastern states will be submitting an emergency exemption to the EPA in spring 2011 to use the active ingredient dinotefuran in apple and peach orchards for control of brown marmorated stink bug. Existing agricultural uses of dinotefuran (Venom, Scorpion) include vegetables, grapes, and cotton. This new stinkbug has currently been detected in 33 states, and caused economic losses in 2010, feeding on fruit and causing deformity and brown discolorations. Other management options researchers are investigating are mass trapping and the release of predatory Asian wasps.
Useful Publications and Web Sites
• A new database tool provides access to information on pesticide hazards and safe pest management. Access it here.
• A Washington State University website dedicated to spotted wing drosophila provides information on spread, biology, management, and training. by preventing pesticide exposure.