Dangerous Pesticides Used In Marijuana Cultivation

The marijuana industry has a pesticide problem. The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate pesticides used for growing cannabis because the plant is still illegal at a federal level. Since many marijuana growers are not familiar with the effects of various pesticides, dangerous products are often used. Compounding this problem, many marijuana growing operations are indoors where there is less ventilation and greater risk.  Here is a short list of pesticides to avoid.

  • Myclobutanil - Prevents brown patches in turf, ornamental plants, and fruits. Myclobutanil is the active ingredient in Eagle 20 pesticides, it is only considered slightly hazardous as it can cause vomiting, itchiness, nausea, headache, skin rash, nosebleed, and eye irritation.
  • Imidacloprid - This pesticide is found in Confidor and Gaucho products. It is moderately hazardous, causing fatigue, cramps, muscle weakness, and twitching.
  • Avermectin - Found in Lucid and Avid products; Avermectin is harmful if inhaled and causes birth defects such as cleft palates.
  • Etoxazole - One of the less dangerous pesticides, Etoxazole causes enlarged livers when inhaled.
  • Bifenazate - Bifenazate causes a decrease in weight and urinary volume, leading to extramedullary hematopoiesis in the spleen.

To avoid becoming sick or making others sick, be sure to research all pesticides before applying them.



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Precision Drones Conserve Pesticides

Drones are increasingly being used for agricultural purposes. Many farmers use drones to survey fields and discover issues with crops before they spread. For example, drones can provide infra-red imaging of crops that show plants with fungal infections, infected plants will not reflect as much light as a healthy plant would. Drones are also used to spread pesticides over crops at a much lower price than manned aircraft. However, until recently drones have continued to waste pesticide throughout the application.

Researchers at Japan's Saga University have developed a specialized drone to combat pesticide waste. The drone scans crops for clusters of insects and delivers an incredibly precise pesticide application to affected areas. It is also designed to carry a bug zapper at night which draws insects to the drone where they are either fried by the zapper or sprayed with a precision blast of pesticide.

Benefits of the precision application method are a decrease in pesticide use while enabling farmers to continue protecting their crops. This more precise approach will also help farmers, farm workers, and farm animals avoid harmful contact with pesticides. The research team hopes this method will eventually replace the more indiscriminate airplane application method.


ARE YOU USING A DRONE FOR YOUR BUSINESS?

All commercial drone pilots must possess a Remote Pilot in Command Certificate which can be obtained by passing the FAA Remote Pilot in Command Exam.

Step 1: Pay the $5 fee and register any aircraft that weighs more than 0.55lbs.
Step 2:  Pass the $150 Small UAS Remote Pilot Exam – exam prep is available here.
Step 3: Pass a TSA background check
Step 4: File FAA Form 8710-13

Check out our Complete Guide to Commercial Drone Use for more information.


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Cannibal Caterpillars

A recent study published in Nature Ecology and Evolution details a surprising experiment involving tomato plants and Beet Armyworms. Beet Armyworms are an invasive species of a caterpillar from Southeast Asia that wreaks havoc on a wide variety of vegetation including asparagus, beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, turnips, and tomatoes. The caterpillars are incredibly detrimental to plants because they feed on foliage and fruit.

Recent experiments may have found a solution to the Armyworm problem. Scientists sprayed tomato plants with a concoction of chemicals designed to induce a defensive response. Defense responses are common among plants, for example, coffee and nicotine are both byproducts of plants intended to stave off pests. To the surprise of the scientists, the caterpillars cannibalized before eating plants using the defense response. Perhaps even more fascinating, the plants communicated the defense response amongst themselves until the entire plot was emitting the defense response, including plants that had no interaction with the spray. Continued experiments are necessary for scientists to determine new, less invasive ways to trigger the defense response but this may be the start of a new, very effective, method of controlling pests.



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Georgia Has the 4th Worst Pest Infestation in the U.S.

Warm climate, wet summers, swamps, and the heavily forested areas of Georgia make it a perfect breeding ground for all kinds of pests. In Atlanta alone, 25% of households have cockroaches and the city has a staggering 45 species of mosquitoes.  

Georgia's pests are more than just a nuisance, they're a health concern. Mosquitoes led to 77 cases of Zika last year.  The feces and saliva of German cockroaches, one of the most common breeds found in Georgia, cause asthma attacks. Cockroaches can also carry salmonella and E. Coli, a hazard for contaminating food, prep areas, and utensils.

Homeowners can do little on their own aside from avoiding standing water and wearing insect repellent to prevent contact with mosquitos. German cockroaches are also hard to avoid. Preventative measures include keeping dry goods in air tight containers, not leaving dirty dishes out for long periods of time and storing garbage away from their home.


GEORGIA APPLICATOR RENEWAL

It should come as no surprise, Georgia pesticide applicators are in high demand. Licenses must be renewed every 5 years by completing continuing education 90 days before license expiration and returning a renewal notice to the state. 

Continuing Education Requirements

  • 3 Credit Hours   - Private Applicators
  • 6 Credit Hours   - Animal Agriculture, Forest Pest Control, Right-of-Way, Regulatory, Industrial Structure & Health, Wood Treatment, Antimicrobial
  • 10 Credit Hours - Agriculture Plant, Ornamental & Turf, Public Health, Mosquito Control 

Mail continuing education certificates here:

Georgia Department of Agriculture
Agricultural Inputs - Pesticide Section
19 M.L.K. Jr. Drive, Room 410
Atlanta, GA 30334

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New Courses for California Applicators

We are excited to offer online HD video courses to meet your general education requirements for license renewal. Courses are mobile friendly and available 24/7 from any internet capable device. Printable certificates of completion will be available to you immediately after completing each course, Certified Training Institute will also store a copy of your certificates at no extra charge. You do not have to submit your certificates upon course completion, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation may audit you within a 3-year span to ask for proof of continuing education.


Continuing Education Requirements for California Applicators
Requirements vary by license type and the months from the date of issue and expiration.

 

12 TO 20 MONTHS

21 TO 24 MONTHS

Total Hours

Law Hours

Total Hours

Law Hours

Agricultural Pest Control Advisor

20

2

40

4

Qualified Applicator License

10

2

20

4

Qualified Applicator Certificate

10

2

20

4


Renewing a California Applicator License
Applicators with last names from M-Z must renew their licenses by December 31st, 2017. Applicators are encouraged to renew their license as soon as possible to avoid late fees, or retesting. 

  1. Complete the required continuing education
  2. Renewal packets will be mailed to applicators in August
  3. Pay the appropriate fee
  4. Submit your packet by November 1, 2017, to receive your license by December 31, 2017 
    If submitted after November 1, you may not receive your new license by January 1, 2018

California Applicator Renewal Fees

LICENSE TYPE

RENEWAL FEE

LATE RENEWAL PENALTY

Agricultural Pest Control Advisor License

$140

$70

Qualified Applicator License

$120

$60

Qualified Applicator Certificate

$60

$30


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Asian Citrus Psyllid – A Southern Pest

Photo by: David Hall

ABOUT THE BUG
The Asian Citrus Psyllid is an insect known for feeding on leaves and stems of citrus trees.  Adult Citrus Psyllids are very small, between 2-4 mm, and brown. Pregnant females and juveniles are yellowish orange, and juveniles have bright red eyes. The Asian Citrus Psyllid was first found in the United States on the eastern coast of Florida in 1998 and quickly spread throughout the state. It is suspected the insects traveled on imported plants. 

HARM TO CITRUS TREES
Asian Citrus Psyllid effects citrus plants in all life stages as juveniles eat new growth and adults feed on the underside of leaves. Juveniles can cause new leaves to grow deformed or stop their growth altogether, an affect that is extremely detrimental to new growth, often killing the plants before they can stabilize.  Adult Citrus Psyllid are no less destructive. They produce a sticky honeydew as they feed, which causes the leaves to mold, a condition called Huanglongbing (HLB) or citrus greening disease. Citrus Psyllid are the only natural carrier for this infection. HLB is always fatal to citrus plants. The plant will begin producing hard, bitter, and misshapen fruit. It takes about five years for the plants to lose value as fruit bearing trees.

Huanglongbing
 Photo credit: T.R. Gottwald and S.M. Garnsey

WHAT TO DO
Sprays and insecticidal soaps are effective against Asian Citrus Psyllids, however, since the effects are short lived the process must be repeated often. The most effective method of protecting citrus trees from this infestation is preventing spread. Citrus trees should be checked often for this insect and infestations should be reported immediately. 


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Texas to use Pesticides on Wild Pigs

Wild pigs are an invasive species wreaking havoc across southern states, where they have no natural enemies.  Texas is inhabited by an estimated population of 1.5 million pigs alone. The pigs are a nuisance because they cause damage to crops, livestock tanks, and manicured landscapes, accumulating $50 million dollars in damages per year.

The job of thinning wild pig populations has traditionally gone to Texas hunters but the pigs are reproducing too quickly for hunters to make a dent. The state is hoping the addition of pesticides will give them a chance at taming the wild pig population.

Pesticides will be administered to wild pigs by stationing baited food laced with warfarin throughout areas heavily populated by the offending pigs. Warfarin is a human blood thinner that is fatal to hogs.

Many hunters and environmentalists are upset by this method of population control as it renders the pigs inedible and may lead to poisoning in scavengers and other animals within the food chain.


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Homemade Bed Bug Bomb Gone Wrong

Two apartments in South Carolina had to evacuate after a home attempt to exterminate bedbugs.  A mixture of kerosene, a bug bomb, and other chemicals were used to irradiate the pest problem, however, fumes from this mixture were so toxic, the tenant’s apartment and the neighbor’s apartment needed to be evacuated.

The second apartment will be inhabitable within a few days but the apartment that held the concoction will need special treatment.

This cautionary tale illustrates the importance of appropriate, professional pesticide application. Professional pesticide applicators must pass a national exam before becoming licensed. After receiving a license many states require applicators complete continuing education to maintain their license. Applicator exam prep and continuing education requirements by state can be found here.


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West Virginia To Begin Invasive Pest Surveys

The West Virginia Department of Agriculture is conducting a statewide survey for new invasive pests. The department is hoping to detect specific non-native plant pests, as well as, diseases and weeds that are threatening to farmlands and forests.

The survey will be conducted by placing traps on several varieties of trees and vegetables such as corn, peppers, tomatoes, and potatoes.

Previous surveys in West Virginia found 23 instances of the Spotted Wing Drosophila, an invasive species that is harmful to fruit. The infamous emerald ash borer is another example of an invasive species in Maryland. The emerald ash borer is originally from Northeastern Asia. Females lay eggs in the bark crevices of oak trees, the larvae feed under the bark for two years and emerge as adults. The emerald ash borer has destroyed much of the ash population in West Virginia.

The emerald ash borer was not detected until nearly 10 years after its suspected introduction the United States via shipping container. Earlier detection would have allowed applicators to address the pests before they became a nationwide infestation. Thus, surveys conducted by the West Virginia Department of Agriculture may help the Department avoid repeating the same mistakes.

DO YOU NEED TO RENEW YOUR MARYLAND PESTICIDE APPLICATOR LICENSE?

  1. Complete the appropriate continuing education – Maryland approved courses are available here.
  2. Log on to the Maryland Department of Agriculture website with the license & permit number code.
    (This information can be found on the information card you received from the department)
  3. Pay the $150 renewal fee

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GENETIC ENGINEERING FOR INSECT POPULATION CONTROL

New York researchers are planning to release genetically engineered insects on a cabbage patch at Cornell’s Agricultural Experimentation Station 160 miles from Albany. The insects are an attempt to control invasive diamondback moths without using pesticides. Diamondback moths are known for their resistance to every pesticide and their appetite for cruciferous crops such as cabbage and broccoli.

Anthony Shelton, a Cornell University researcher, has been studying diamondback moths for 40 years. He estimates global management costs to be between $4-5 billion. Shelton is hoping to manage the moths without using insecticides to protect pollinators and other non-target insects.

The genetically engineered moths are meant to reduce the diamondback moth population over time by limiting the number of reproductive females in the next generation. To meet this end, the lab-bred males have a synthetic “self-limiting” gene that makes the female larvae die before they mature.

This form of population control has already been successfully used by Oxitec, the biotech firm that created the moths. Oxitec released similarly modified mosquitoes in Brazil, Panama, and the Caribbean to fight mosquito-spread diseases.

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