EPA Extends Chlorpyrifos Public Comment Period; Future Use In Doubt

This month, the EPA extended the public comment period on its draft risk assessments (DRAs) and proposed interim decisions (PID) for chlorpyrifos to March 7, 2021. The purpose of the comment period is to “give the public and stakeholders more time to review and comment” on the December 2020 PID

This extended comment period is part of the effort the EPA needs to take following President Biden’s “Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis” Executive Order

The order aims to “review” actions taken by the previous administration across many government agencies. Action number 42 under the EPA section includes the “Chlorpyrifos; Final Order Denying Objections to March 2017 Petition Denial Order,” ruling. In “non-government speak,” this means the Biden administration is reviewing the sudden switch made by the Trump administration in early 2017 to block the outright ban of chlorpyrifos use - which started in 2015.

In a statement, the EPA said they will “follow the science and law in accordance with the Biden-Harris administration's executive orders and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act in reviewing the chlorpyrifos DRAs and PID to ensure they are protective of public health and the environment.”

Back on the Ban Path?

Many news publications (both in and out of the agricultural science industry), see this “review” process as a sign that the Biden administration is considering a return to the 2015 chlorpyrifos ban proposal.

Successful Farming reports the way chlorpyrifos could ultimately be banned is still uncertain, but “some former EPA directors predict it will most likely be revoked via a voluntary cancellation.” This process can take as little as 30 days and only requires general agreement within the industry.

Chemical & Engineering News (c&en) says a voluntary cancellation would be “easier than five years ago” because unlike in 2015, Corteva Agriscience (formerly Dow AgroSciences), the largest maker of chlorpyrifos, is unlikely to fight a ban because they already agreed to phase out production last year.

The other option is a formal procedure to ban the pesticide that could take two to three years. In the past 40 years, there have been no formal cancellations of any pesticide, says Bill Jordan, a former deputy director at the Office of Pesticide Programs at the EPA and now an industry consultant and a volunteer at the Environmental Protection Network. “EPA has always thought voluntary cancellation was a faster, cheaper, better process than a formal cancellation,” he says. 

Regardless of the method used (if any at all), it’s clear to many that the EPA under the Biden administration will be very different compared to the Trump years. Biden himself has said he wants to take a close look at all current policies “that are harmful to public health, damaging to the environment, unsupported by the best available science, or otherwise not in the national interest.” 

Kari Hamerschlag, an advisor on the DNC Council on the Climate Crisis, said “Our goal in the Biden years is to root out the corporate dominance and interference in policy and try and get it back to policy that is actually healthy for people and the planet.”

Possible Consequences of a Ban

According to c&en, outright banning chlorpyrifos could create problems in the pesticide supply chain because on January 12, a federal court ruling directed the EPA to remove the pesticide sulfoxaflor, one of the few alternatives to chlorpyrifos for some applications, from the US market while the agency evaluates the risks of that chemical to endangered species. Environmentalists sued the EPA for allowing sulfoxaflor back on the US market in 2019, after the agency banned it in 2015 because of adverse effects on bees. 

The Current Course

The EPA is currently reevaluating 22 organophosphate pesticides, including chlorpyrifos, as part of a standard process to reassess pesticides after 15 years on the market. The agency expects to complete that review by Oct. 1, 2022. Unless the courts step in, or a voluntary cancellation occurs, chlorpyrifos use could continue until the end of the review.

To learn more about why there’s such an interest in banning chlorpyrifos, click here. If you would like to contribute to the conversation surrounding chlorpyrifos by submitting a public comment to the EPA, click here.

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2021 WPS Training Update: New AEZ Requirements

Next week marks the beginning of the fourth annual National Pesticide Safety Education Month! That’s why our next few blogs will highlight the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Worker Protection Standard (WPS). 

Today, we’re looking at the revised 2020 WPS Application Exclusion Zone (AEZ) requirements that the EPA approved in October 2020. But first, if you’re not yet a certified applicator (but want to be) or you’re not sure if your employer or your business needs WPS training, here’s a basic summary:

WPS aims to reduce pesticide poisonings and injuries among agricultural workers and pesticide handlers by requiring employers to provide training that covers the following topics:

  • Pesticide product safety
    • Reading labels
    • Following directions
  • Pesticide application
    • Best health practices during application
    • Restricted Entry Intervals training
    • Posting signage to protect workers from entering areas that have been recently sprayed
  • Use of protective equipment
  • Pesticide handling
  • Decontamination practices

2020 AEZ Requirement Updates

On December 29, 2020, the EPA enacted updates to the AEZ provisions under the WPS that “improve enforceability for state regulators and reduce regulatory burdens for farmers.

The final rule prohibits applicators from using a pesticide in a manner that would result in sprays contacting unprotected individuals either directly or through drift. Here are some of the biggest changes to the AEZ provisions: 

  • Agricultural employers and handlers can make or resume applications when individuals are in an area subject to an easement, provided that the handler can ensure that the application will not contact those individuals.
  • EZ requirements are limited to within the boundaries of the agricultural establishment, removing off-farm responsibilities that were proving difficult for state regulators to enforce. No changes were made to the “Do Not Contact” provision.
  • Criteria for deciding whether pesticide applications are subject to the 25- or 100-foot AEZ are simplified.

Click here for a complete FAQ document from the EPA that describes all the changes in great detail.

Who needs to comply with the WPS?

  • Any employer or employee of an agricultural or commercial business that handles pesticides, including farms, forests, nurseries, and greenhouses.
  • Any employer of agricultural workers who work in places sprayed with pesticides within the last 30 days or have high-contact agricultural tasks like weeding, moving irrigation equipment, pruning, and harvesting.

To be compliant with the EPA, you or your employees can complete WPS training using an EPA-approved WPS course.

When you choose our training program, there’s no need to worry about scheduling, organizing the logistics, or tracking records and paperwork. Our system handles it all automatically. Here are some more benefits our program offers:

  • We provide all EPA required documentation.
  • Certificates are downloadable immediately after completing the course.
  • 24/7 access to the program online for an entire year.
  • All video courses are provided in Spanish & English!
  • Save time & money by avoiding the classroom and using our program instead.

If you know of any businesses that need WPS training - click here for more information on our online program!

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New Michigan Emergency Rule Extends License Renewal Deadline

On December 30, Michigan pesticide applicators got perhaps their last gift of the holiday season in the form of a new emergency rule from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (MDARD). The new rule extends the validity of any licenses that expired on December 31, 2019 or December 31, 2020 to June 30, 2021.

In addition to extending the expiration date, the rule gives applicators six additional months to renew their licenses via continuing education courses.

“Extending applicator credentials and giving them more time to complete their continuing education courses allows inspectors to focus on our regulatory activities protecting human health and the environment from misapplications of pesticides,” said Brian Verhougstraete, MDARD’s Pesticide Section Manager. “It also provides certified applicators and businesses some regulatory clarity and ensures they can continue their work protecting our food supply from damaging pests.”

If you don’t have time to read the entire emergency rule, here are the relevant highlights.

  • A certified or registered applicator license with an expiration date of December 31, 2019, is considered valid until June 30, 2021.

  • A qualified certified or registered applicator who renews a license with an expiration date of December 31, 2019, shall be issued a license that is valid until December 31, 2022

  • A certified or registered applicator license with an expiration date of December 31, 2020, is considered valid until June 30, 2021.

  • A qualified certified or registered applicator who renews a license with an expiration date of December 31, 2020, shall be issued a license that is valid until December 31, 2023.

The Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, P.A. 451 of 1994, Part 83, requires individuals to be either a certified pesticide applicator or a registered applicator to apply a pesticide for a commercial purpose. The Act also requires certification for anyone wishing to purchase a restricted use pesticide. Michigan’s certified pesticide applicators must pass written examinations to ensure they have the knowledge and skills necessary to properly apply pesticides in a manner that protects themselves, the public, and the environment. 

Whether you want to get licensed or renew your license, our online courses can help! Click here to view all the courses we have available for Michigan.

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Oregon Phasing Out Chlorpyrifos Use by 2023

Last week, the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) filed Administrative Rules with the Oregon Secretary of State that immediately limits the use of chlorpyrifos-based products and phases out nearly all use by December 31, 2023. 

ODA said they wrote the rules with the help of a “diverse workgroup” of leaders and experts from many backgrounds including agriculture, environmental justice groups, toxicologists, and farmworker health-and-safety organizations. ODA’s goal for these new rules is to reduce the risk potential exposure for “workers and bystanders.”

Chlorpyrifos, a popular “broad-spectrum” insecticide mainly used in Oregon on Christmas trees, leafy greens crops, and alfalfa, has been the subject of many critical studies over the years. To understand why Oregon is taking this action, we’ll first dive into the controversial history of chlorpyrifos.

Chlorpyrifos History & Toxicity Studies

Chlorpyrifos has been registered by the EPA as an insecticide since 1965, and is widely used on nearly 50 different crops including corn, soybeans, and almonds. It’s highly toxic to birds, fish, and bees. Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate, which makes it a “nerve agent” - meaning it kills pests by creating an overstimulation in the nervous system. This effect also makes it highly toxic to birds, fish, and bees. In 2000, prolonged exposure to chlorpyrifos was deemed toxic enough to humans to get most residential uses banned outright.

Between 2000 and 2012, the EPA added additional restrictions on certain crops like tomatoes, and “curbed the insecticide’s use by reducing the rate at which it can be applied and banned its use in certain areas near residential and public spaces.”

Calls to ban all use of chlorpyrifos came from multiple studies linking chlorpyrifos to developmental issues in children. Here are summaries from just a few of the studies:

  • “Low to moderate levels of exposure to the insecticide chlorpyrifos during pregnancy may lead to long-term, potentially irreversible changes in the brain structure of the child, according to a brain imaging study by researchers from the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health at the Mailman School of Public Health, Duke University Medical Center, Emory University, and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. The changes in brain structure are consistent with cognitive deficits found in children exposed to this chemical.” - source
  • “Exposure to the pesticide chlorpyrifos is associated with early childhood developmental delays, according to a study by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.” - source

  • A UC Davis study found that mothers who live within a mile of fields where chlorpyrifos and other organophosphate pesticides were applied had a 60 percent higher chance of having children with autism spectrum disorder. - source

Studies like these along with pressure from many external forces led the EPA to propose the complete ban of chlorpyrifos in 2015, stating they were “unable to conclude that the risk from aggregate exposure from the use of chlorpyrifos meets the safety standard.” By as late as November 2016, the EPA was still on track to ban all chlorpyrifos use.

But in March 2017, the EPA (under a new administration and with new leadership), overturned these efforts and stated it won’t outright ban chlorpyrifos “without first attempting to come to a clearer scientific resolution” on the matter, a task it’s set to complete by 2022. A few studies (one from China and another from Canada) that influenced the EPA’s 2017 decision did not find any association between organophosphates developmental issues in children. However, the authors of both studies admit limits to their findings, and the doctor who conducted the Chinese study warned “results should be interpreted with caution, and more studies of children living in China are warranted. 

With a federal-level ban off the table for the time being, states are taking action. In recent years, California, New York, Hawaii, and Maryland have either banned or greatly limited chlorpyrifos use. Now, with the context established, we return to Oregon. 

Oregon’s New Rules

According to ODA, the following measures are effective immediately upon rule adoption:

  • Use of chlorpyrifos for mosquito vector control, golf course turfgrass, and certain types of enclosed structures is prohibited
  • A 4-day restricted entry interval after use for all crops, including nursery and Christmas Trees.
  • Aerial application is prohibited on all crops, except for a very narrow window of time on Christmas trees.
  • All applicators must pass a pesticide certification exam and obtain a license.
  • Respiratory protection requirements are increased.
  • Recordkeeping is required, and must be maintained for at least three years.
  • To protect bystanders and water quality, expanded buffers are required around sensitive sites and waterways.

Effective January 1, 2021

  • All products containing chlorpyrifos will be restricted-use, except for cattle ear tags. 

Effective March 1, 2021

  • All mixer or loaders of chlorpyrifos must either be a certified and licensed pesticide applicator, or have successfully completed a special training conducted or approved by ODA.

After December 31, 2023

  • It is prohibited to use or sell chlorpyrifos except for:
    • Commercial pre-plant seed treatments
    • Granular formulations
    • Cattle ear-tags

The final rule prohibits aerial application on all crops, except Christmas trees, for a ten-week window between April 1 and June 15. This permitted window will be prohibited after December 31, 2023, providing a transition period for the nation’s largest Christmas tree industry.

"We feel like we came up with a rule that gives some flexibility to the agricultural community, and is protective of workers, bystanders and water quality," said Rose Kachadoorian, ODA pesticides program manager. "We will work with the industries as best we can to help find alternatives."

What do you think of this latest chlorpyrifos ruling? Do you think more states should follow Oregon? Let us know on social media!

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2020 Recap: Positive Pest Control Company News

We know - this has been a weird year. With so many annual routines disrupted and the seemingly endless negative news cycle, we want to highlight various stories from the past year that show the many ways pest management professionals like you have made a positive difference in local communities.

Meeting Surging Demand

Thanks to a survey of over 3,000 households from Smith’s Pest Management in California, we have an idea of how the pandemic created a surge in “unwelcome house guests” across the country. One big reason for the increase in household pests, according to the survey, comes from increased household waste. 

In Michigan alone, the survey found a 24% increase of pests since the start of the stay-at-home orders. Click here if you want to look at an interactive map and see the numbers for your state!

Despite these rising numbers, you and your pest management colleagues from across the nation did and continue to do the essential work of keeping full homes (and empty offices/restaurants) safe from pests. And speaking of restaurants...

Supporting Local Communities

Keeping Out Unwelcome Diners

With many states enacting renewed pandemic safety orders, such as closing indoor dining at restaurants, one pest control company in Fort Wayne, IN is stepping up and making a difference.

Ben’s Bugs Be Gone is offering free pest control throughout the winter for local privately owned restaurants. The owner, Ben Williams, is a COVID-19 survivor who said his recovery experience changed his perspective. Now that he’s working again, he wanted to give back to the community. 

Williams says he knows local restaurants and businesses are struggling, and with these facilities closed, they will most likely have to deal with whatever pests made their way in, while the business was on its way out.

Partnering With Local Charities

We know there are plenty of pest control businesses that have helped their local communities; probably too many to count! But here are three examples that may inspire you or your business.

Near the end of November, P.E.S.T. Relief International (which here stands for Professionals Empowering, Sustaining and Transforming) showed its support for military veterans by creating the “A Bag of REST” project that launched during the Certified Pest Control Operators (CPCO) of Georgia conference. 

During the CPCP, participating pest management professionals carefully filled backpacks with toiletry kits, masks, snacks, and personal notes of encouragement. Project sponsors included Target Specialty Products and Bug Off Pest Control Center.

After the event, Andrea Hancock, founder of P.E.S.T. Relief International and vice president of Mattress Safe, drove the backpacks down to the Elks Lodge in St. Petersburg, FL, where she distributed them to local veterans residing at the Bay Pines Veterans Administration Healthcare System.

“I had the pleasure of meeting four veterans who were homeless and offered them a Bag of REST as a tangible way to show our deep appreciation for the sacrifice they made for our country,” Hancock said.


In early fall, Logan, Utah-based Fox Pest Control and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Utah threw Mason, a local teenager, a “reveal event” in which he learned he was selected by the foundation to grant his wish.

Fox Pest Control made the reveal event possible by contacting several local businesses to help donate food, supplies, and funds. Make-A-Wish Foundation Community Manager Melanie Rossiter described working with the Fox Pest Control team as “an absolute joy.” 

“Fox embodies what it means to be a partner that truly puts the wish kid first. Every detail of the evening was clearly based all around Mason’s interests and favorite things. We are so grateful to grant wishes with such a generous, thoughtful, community-oriented business,” Rossiter said.


If you’re thinking that you can’t do anything “big” like these last few examples, take a look at what Miller Pest & Termite from Missouri did back in November. When it comes to supporting your community, even the “little things” make a big difference.

To commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the team at Miller Pest & Termite automatically donated $10 for every new service it signed on to the Pink Tractor Foundation, a Non-Profit Organization that raises money to help local families fighting cancer.

Additionally, the company also matched customer donations up to $1,000 in total donations. Miller said it is proud to have raised a total of $1,120 for the Pink Tractor Foundation. This charity is one Miller felt strongly about supporting since some of its own families have been affected by Breast Cancer.

Adapting To Meet New Needs

Back in July, Arizona-based Truly Nolen Pest Control made the news for adapting their business to exterminate not household pests, but COVID-19. After Truly Nolen Pest Control realized they were already using an effective COVID-19 “killer” sanitizing spray for cleaning up after rat infestations, they decided to start a new side “business.”

Truly Nolen worked out procedures for a program called Truly Sanitized, developed training and then started offering their new service. Mark Ringlstetter with Truly Nolen said he sees the value in large scale sanitation for his pest control business.

“I would imagine [the pandemic has] changed everyone's perception of how to protect yourself against things like the common cold or even the flu. So I think you're going to see some public behavioral changes with the way they go about things.”

Are there things you or your business has done to help your community during the pandemic? We’d love to hear about it! Let us know on social media or email us for a chance to be featured in a future blog!

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By the Numbers: Inside Washington’s Murder Hornet Nest

After the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) found and removed an Asian Giant Hornet nest late last month, there was still one major step left; opening and examining the nest.

Removal of the nest itself was complicated due to the fact that it was tucked inside a tree. Once WSDA entomologists had safely removed the hornets living in the nest, they also removed the tree itself before splitting it open to reveal the nest inside.

The nest was just over 8 feet high in the tree and, once opened, was found to be about 14 inches long and 9 inches wide. So far, over 500 Asian Giant Hornet specimens in various stages of development have been collected from the nest, and the counting is still ongoing! 

Here are the preliminary results of what WSDA entomologists found in the nest.

  • 6 combs – There were six layers of comb in the nest. Combs are the structures that hold the hornet larvae as they develop. Part of the interior of the tree had been chewed away to accommodate the combs.
  • 776* cells – The combs are made up of cells and each individual cell can hold a developing Asian giant hornet. *This number is approximate as there was some damage to the combs.
  • 6 unhatched eggs These eggs were all located in the last and smallest of the combs.
  • 190 total larvae - The larvae are whitish “grubs” in uncapped cells. Many had fallen out of the combs into the tree cavity during the nest removal.
  • 108 capped cells with pupae – Pupae are the next stage after larvae. Based on the size of the cells, most of the pupae found are believed to be pupae of new virgin queens.
  • 112 workers – This total includes 85 workers that were vacuumed out of the nest on Oct. 24. All of the workers survived being vacuumed out of the nest.
  • 9 drones – Drones are male hornets and they generally emerge from the nest before the new queens emerge.
  • 76 queens – Most likely all but one queen would be new virgin queens. New queens emerge from the nest, mate, and then leave to find a place to overwinter and start a new colony the next year.

Despite multiple applications of carbon dioxide, removal of the workers, and storage in a cold facility, most of the specimens were still alive when the nest was opened.

Nest reassembled in tree - image from WSDA blog

WSDA’s Future Plans

WSDA plans to continue trapping through at least Thanksgiving and possibly beyond, but will likely only track worker hornets. Even if no other hornets are found, WSDA will continue to trap for at least three more years to demonstrate the area is free from Asian giant hornets.

If you may have seen an Asian giant hornet in Washington State, report it with a photo if you can get one at:

If you believe you have seen an Asian giant hornet but live in another area, please report it to your state or province’s invasive species managers.

Source: WSDA website

Washington Pesticide Applicators:
Your License Renewal Deadline is DEC 31!

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Study Shows Many Pesticide Labels Don’t Follow EPA Guidelines

According to a study by the Oregon State University (OSU) Extension Service, over 30% of pesticide labels fail to follow Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommendations and provide incorrect information about their toxicity to honey bees. The research, which was discovered by an unsuspecting young student, may be used by regulators to identify labels that need amending. 

"I kind of stumbled onto this research project by accident," said Matthew Bucy, now a pesticide registration specialist at the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

While working as an OSU undergraduate honors student, he read through hundreds of pesticide labels in order to update a data table. After studying 232 insecticide labels, Bucy discovered a clear pattern. About a third of the labels deviated from EPA recommendations, and many didn't list accurate details about their residual or acute toxicity.

Rose Kachadoorian, a pesticide specialist at the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA), and formerly an adviser on Bucy's thesis committee, said the pesticides weren't misbranded or mislabeled intentionally; “they're just old.” “A lot of the language is what we call legacy language," said Kachadoorian.

Bucy's “accidental” discovery turned into a major research project that has continued well past his graduation. Kachadoorian, Bucy, and experts at the ODA formed a working group called The Oregon Bee Project to address the labeling problem. While they continue to hold workshops that try to educate pesticide applicators, they expect changing label language will take time.

Kachadoorian said her ultimate vision is to create a standardized labeling system for pesticides.

“Look at FDA pharmaceutical labels, she said, they all have similar formatting.”

“You know where to look on the label to find things like dosage and possible side effects. But pesticide labels look different across companies, making information harder to find.”

Bucy said his groundbreaking research as a student led to his job in pesticide work at ODA, where he hopes to continue helping the agricultural community.

"I read a few hundred labels. Why not read a few hundred — or thousand — more?" he said.

While you may never have to read hundreds of labels all at once, make sure you understand the ones you do need to read with our Reading the Pesticide Label: Beyond the Basics video course!

You’ll find that course, and many others, included in our Oregon Pesticide Applicator Continuing Education Bundles - register now before the December 31st deadline

You can read the entire unedited article here

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EPA Extends Approval of Dicamba-Based Products for 2021 Season & Beyond

Just last week, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decided to approve new five-year registrations for two “over-the-top” (OTT) dicamba products—XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology and Engenia Herbicide—and extended the registration for an additional OTT dicamba product, Tavium Plus VaporGrip Technology. The extended registrations are only for use on dicamba-tolerant (DT) cotton and soybeans and will expire in 2025. 

The decision is not free from controversy, however.


In a previous blog, we outlined the bumpy road dicamba has experienced over the past few years - culminating in June 2020 when the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked registrations for three major dicamba brands. The court’s decision was largely based on accounts of dicamba-based products drifting into nearby fields after application and destroying non-DT crops.

Despite the Circuit Court’s ruling, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler defended the decision."After reviewing substantial amounts of new information, conducting scientific assessments based on the best available science, and carefully considering input from stakeholders, we have reached a resolution that is good for our farmers and our environment,” Wheeler said.

Organizations like the American Farm Bureau, Georgia Cotton Commission, and weed scientists in the University of Georgia Extension praised the EPA’s decision mainly for “providing clarity” to farmers for the 2021 growing season and beyond. 

Dicamba critics see the decision differently, with The Center for Food Safety, Center for Biological Diversity, National Family Farm Coalition, and Pesticide Action Network North America planning to pursue a legal challenge.

What the Decision Means for Applicators

The EPA’s 2020 registration features important control measures to manage off-site movement of dicamba, including:

  • Requiring an approved pH-buffering agent (also called a Volatility Reduction Agent or VRA) be tank mixed with OTT dicamba products prior to all applications to control volatility.
  • Requiring a downwind buffer of 240 feet and 310 feet in areas where listed species are located.
  • Prohibiting OTT application of dicamba on soybeans after June 30 and cotton after July 30.
  • Simplifying the label and use directions so that growers can more easily determine when and how to properly apply dicamba.

The EPA claims these control measures provide new flexibilities for growers and also address the concerns expressed in regard to the June Court of Appeals ruling.

What are your thoughts on the new dicamba control measures? Let us know on social media!

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EPA Proposes Use of New Insecticide Active Ingredient

Earlier this week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to register pesticide products containing a new active ingredient called tetraniliprole for sale and use in the US.

One of the “pesticide products” the EPA wants to register likely includes Bayer’s new and unnamed insecticide. According to Bayer, the tetraniliprole-based insecticide will be a 2-in-1 solution for both annual bluegrass weevil (ABW) and white grubs.

Bayer says that using tetraniliprole allows for season-long protection, immediate cessation of insect feeding following exposure, and consistent control of ABW and white grubs with just 1-2 applications per year. 

Although the use of tetraniliprole goes beyond just ABW and white grubs. According to the EPA, if approved, tetraniliprole will be the first registered diamide insecticide available in the US that controls corn rootworm larvae in corn through soil application, and flea beetles in corn and potatoes. It would also be the first diamide offering control of wireworms in potatoes and similar crops, and control of cutworms in tobacco via soil application.

Application Requirements

A study done by both the EPA and Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency determined that tetraniliprole had no human health risk concerns. 

Still, the EPA is proposing specific mitigations to address potential ecological risks, including:

  • A 50-foot spray buffer for aerial application
  • A 25-foot spray buffer for ground applications
  • Directions for use for treated seed to reduce exposure to treated seeds for large birds
  • A 25-foot vegetative filter strip to reduce runoff into surface water

If you have any thoughts or concerns regarding tetraniliprole, let the EPA know! They’re accepting public comments on this proposal via docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2017-0233 at www.regulations.gov for 30 days, closing on Nov. 22, 2020.

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Fate of Dicamba-Based Products Awaiting EPA Decision

On October 1st, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler said to expect a decision by the end of the month regarding whether dicamba-based products can be used during the next planting season or not. The products in question include XtendiMax, Engenia, and FeXapan.

In June, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit blocked future use of the herbicide, arguing that the EPA ignored risks associated with the chemical drifting onto other properties and violated federal regulations when it extended licensing in October 2018 for two years. 

According to Bloomberg, the American Farm Bureau Association and other industry groups advocate for continued dicamba use, arguing that most crop farmers are already familiar with it and switching to other products could jeopardize yields. Others take issue with the chemical’s high volatility level, a key factor for its history of vaporizing into areas with soils that don’t have resistance to it, damaging other crops.

U.S. crop farmers are currently in the middle of harvest, which is when they start deciding which agricultural chemicals to bet on for next season. “The longer the EPA waits to make the decision, the more likely it is in my view that farmers switch anyway just due to the uncertainty,” Morningstar analyst Seth Goldstein said in an interview. “I think farmers would rather have the certainty of a product even if they haven’t used it before.”

Farmers unwilling to risk buying dicamba-based products on fears it’ll get banned could try alternatives including 2,4-D, the active ingredient in Corteva’s Enlist line of herbicides. Like dicamba, it’s often grouped with glufosinate -- a chemical that has become popular in recent decades because of its effectiveness against newer strains of weeds that developed with the rise of genetically modified seeds.

If the EPA rules against dicamba, Bayer announced they will compensate farmers who bought its dicamba products, including as much as $7 off each unit of some soybean seeds and $40 off each unit of certain cotton seeds resistant to the herbicide. Bayer is willing to make such provisions despite being “very confident” on future prospects of its dicamba-based XtendiMax, product manager Alex Zenteno said in an interview.

“We’re willing to put a program down to help growers get that confidence if they’re feeling uncertain or unsure, or considering other options,” she said.

What do you think of dicamba? Let us know on social media! And remember if you're licensed in one of the following states, your recertification deadline is December 31! Just click your state to view available continuing education course packages.

The entire contents of this article can be found on Bloomberg.

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