In the National News
ALL USES OF ENDOSULFAN TO SOON END
The EPA is planning a phase out of all uses of endosulfan, and is currently in negotiations with the manufacturer, Makhteshim Agan of North America, to develop a timeline. Endosulfan is used on all fruit trees, vegetables, cotton, and ornamentals in commercial use only. Data has shown that risks to humans and the environment are above the agency’s level of concern. It has shown to be a bioaccumulant, persistent in the environment, and farm workers can be exposed to endosulfan through inhalation and contact with the skin. The use of endosulfan has declined since 2002. EPA’s 2010 revised ecological risk assessment reflects a comprehensive review of all available exposure and ecological effects information for endosulfan, including independent external peer-reviewed recommendations made by the Endosulfan Scientific Advisory Panel.
NEW PESTICIDE PERMIT REQUIREMENTS
On April 9, a 2009 court decision found that pesticide discharges to U.S. waters are considered pollutants, thus requiring a permit. In order to strike a balance between pest control and protecting human health and water quality, the EPA is proposing a new permit for flying insect control, aquatic pest control, and forest canopy pest control. The permit would require that all operators reduce pesticide discharges by using the lowest effective amount of pesticide, prevent leaks and spills, calibrate equipment, and monitor for and report adverse incidents. Additional controls, such as integrated pest management practices, are built into the permit for operators who exceed an annual treatment area threshold. The new permit will take effect April 9, 2011.
GRASSHOPPERS IN THE WEST
Some western states are reporting high grasshopper numbers this year. In some areas of Wyoming there are reportedly 50 plus grasshopper nymphs per square yard. About 7,800 square miles is scheduled for aerial treatment in that state. Huge areas of Montana and South Dakota are also at risk. Spray pilots are reporting an increase from their typical 2,000 acre treatment zones to close to a million acres. The insecticide of choice that has replaced Malathion is the insect growth regulator, Dimilin.
The nation’s financial situation is affecting grasshopper populations, where many ranchers have decided to forgo the $1-an-acre spraying fee for prophylactic grasshopper control, and the federal government is only using funds on protecting federal and American Indian tribal lands.
THE WAR AGAINST BEDBUGS GETS FURRY
Well-trained dogs can detect a single live bedbug or egg with 96 percent accuracy. They can inspect a room in minutes compared to several hours for a human. Bedbug infestations have increased rapidly throughout the U.S. due to increased global travel. Once introduced, they spread quickly because they can crawl through small cracks in walls and along wiring and pipes, hitchhike on clothing, furniture, luggage, etc., and go 3 months without food. Some realtors in the country are recommending that clients get a bedbug inspection before signing a contract. Almost any breed of dog can become proficient in detecting bedbugs, and are trained by certified instructors in a few months. Owners of trained dogs keep them at the top of their game by maintaining bedbug colonies for test runs.
WHY IS WHEAT STRIPE RUST SO ADAPTABLE?
Yeu Jin, ARS scientist at University of Minnesota, recently published a report that barberry serves as an alternate host for wheat stripe rust. Up until now, wheat stripe rust was thought to be monocyclic (no alternate host). Barberry has long been known to be an alternate host for wheat stem rust, a similar disease. Rust diseases have an asexual stage on the primary host, and a sexual stage on an alternate host, which allows for recombination and development of different races that can adapt to resistant host plants. It is this reason that wheat stripe rust has been so adaptable, diverse, and virulent. Stripe rust has been severe in parts of the West, and this new finding will lead to better control of the disease through barberry eradication.
Useful Publications and Web Sites
• A new course and workbook called “Exploring the Small Farm Dream” is available from the New England Small Farm Institute. The aim is to help those thinking about small-scale commercial farming learn what it will take to start and manage a farm business.
• A new IPM educational video from the National Pest Management Association has been posted to YouTube.
• EPA’s new PestWise website has been launched, showcasing non-regulatory programs for reducing pesticide risk through environmental stewardship such as partnerships, grants, and education. The site is called PestWise: Partnerships for Environmental Innovation in Pest Management, and has information for industry professionals, growers, school teachers, and anyone interested in learning more about responsible pest management to reduce pesticide risk. Access it here.