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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Three Michigan Cities Among the Top 50 “Rattiest in America”

According to a recent report by Orkin, three Michigan cities are among the “Top 50 Rattiest Cities in the United States” this year. 

Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Flint made the list coming in at #6, #29, and #42 respectively. Orkin releases the annual list based on rodent treatments performed at residences and commercial properties from Sep 1, 2019 to Aug 31, 2020.

Surprising almost no one, COVID-19 was a major factor in this year’s increased rodent visibility. Restaurant closures forced them to find new food sources, according to the release. Without restaurant food waste, they were seen scavenging new areas and exhibiting unusual or aggressive behavior. The problem became so prevalent that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued Rodent Control guidance.

With colder weather approaching in Michigan, make sure you’re ready for the increased rodent activity by looking at our Michigan Vertebrate Pest Management 8-Credit Continuing Education Course Bundle.

This online video course bundle fulfills the category recertification requirement for Michigan Commercial Applicators holding a Vertebrate Pest Management (Category 7D) certification. 

To renew your license before the upcoming Dec 31 deadline, simply pair the Vertebrate bundle with the Michigan Commercial Core 8-Credit Bundle to complete all your recertification requirements.

Here’s a preview of the type of lessons you’ll take in the “Rodents and Other Vertebrate Pest Management” course found within the Vertebrate course bundle!

Lesson 1 – Rats

  • Rats and Disease Carriers
  • Habits of Rats
  • Life Cycle
  • Inspection

Lesson 2 – Rats (cont.)

  • Control and Management
  • Habitat Alteration – Outdoor
  • Habitat Alteration – Indoor
  • Traps
  • Glue Boards
  • Rodenticides
    • Food baits
    • Water baits
    • Tracking powders

Lesson 3 – House Mice

  • Mice as Disease Carriers
  • Life Cycle and Social Behavior
  • Physical Abilities
  • Inspection
  • Control and Management
    • Sanitation
    • Mouse-proofing
    • Population reduction
  • Food Baits and Placement
    • Liquid baits
    • Tracking powders

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New Jersey Pesticide Continuing Education Course Preview

New Jersey pesticide applicators whose certification expires on October 31st: completing your continuing education is now easier than ever with our new course bundles. Now, you simply need to choose one of three 8 unit Core Bundles, then follow that up by taking any 16 unit Category Bundles you may need.

If you still haven’t finished your continuing education, here’s a preview of what kind of on-demand video courses you’ll see in the 8 unit Core Bundle #1: 

  • Reading the Pesticide Label: Beyond the Basics – 4 credits
  • Environmental Fate and Transport of Pesticides – 2 credits
  • Personal Protective Equipment and Emergency Response – 2 credits

Here’s a look at what to expect when you take one of our video courses.


Course Preview

Reading the Pesticide Label: Beyond the Basics

Course Description

This course covers the various sections of pesticide labels as well as safety data sheets. All examples are taken from a variety of real labels, so you can be confident in your ability to understand all the safety information. 

After completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Discuss different types of pesticide registrations.
  • Identify where to find specific information on the pesticide label.
  • Identify pests and site usage according to the label, and recognize information on safety data sheets.

Environmental Fate and Transport of Pesticides

Course Description

It’s important to understand what happens to the pesticides you use after you finish the application process. This course reviews environmental factors that can affect how pesticides move and degrade in the environment.

After completing this course participants will be able to:

  • Describe the elements of the environment that can play a role in chemical processing, such as soil composition and moisture
  • Describe the role of microbes and the factors that change populations
  • Identify factors that affect pesticide drift
  • Explain ways pesticides can be decomposed
  • Identify the connections between pesticide properties and potential for groundwater contamination
  • Utilize application techniques that minimize environmental impact

Personal Protective Equipment and Emergency Response

Course Description

PPE (personal protective equipment) comprises the clothing and devices you wear to protect your body from contact with pesticides. Wearing PPE can reduce exposure (dermal, inhalation, ocular, or oral) and thereby lower the chances of pesticide injury, illness, or poisoning. This course covers ways to ensure that all pesticide applicators and handlers understand the protections and limitations of PPE. 

After completing this course participants will be able to:

  • Identify where on the label to find the minimum clothing and PPE required to handle a given pesticide product.
  • State the criteria to properly select skin, eye, and respiratory protection required by the pesticide label based upon your expected use and exposure.
  • Discuss how pesticide releases from spills and fires can endanger humans and the environment.
  • Explain how to execute an emergency response plan.

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Eastern Equine Encephalitis Cases in 2020 Outpacing 2019

According to a recent press release from the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development, the number of confirmed Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) cases in Michigan have doubled in 2020 compared to this time last year. With EEE being one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases in the U.S. that affects both animals and humans, state health officials are encouraging residents to take extra precautions in the coming months.

“We strongly urge Michiganders to take precautions against mosquito bites,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. “Mosquito-borne diseases can cause long-term health effects in people, even death. Signs of EEE include the sudden onset of fever, chills, body and joint aches. Severe encephalitis, resulting in headache, disorientation, tremors, seizures and paralysis and even death can also occur.”

Even though Michigan is experiencing cooler temperatures, this should not cause residents to ease up on the precautions that they are taking. Typically, mosquito-borne illnesses like EEE continue to pose a risk to both animals and humans until about mid-October after there have been at least two hard frosts.

Michigan residents should protect themselves by:

  • Applying insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, or other U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved products, to exposed skin or clothing and always follow the manufacturer’s directions for use.
  • Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. Applying insect repellent to clothing to help prevent bites.
  • Maintaining window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Emptying water from mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as buckets, unused children’s pools, old tires, or similar sites where mosquitoes may lay eggs.
  • Using nets and/or fans over outdoor eating areas.

As a Michigan Pesticide Applicator, make sure you share this information with your clients when appropriate, and keep your practices up-to-date with the Michigan Mosquito Management 8 Credit CE course bundle.


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Bat Ticks Discovered in New Jersey for the First Time

In September, a tick species associated with bats that pose possible health risks to people, pets, and livestock was reported for the first time in New Jersey’s Mercer and Sussex counties according to a Rutgers State University study.

“Bat ticks (Carios kelleyi) belong to the family Argasidae, known as 'soft ticks' because their body looks leathery and soft,” said senior report author Dina M. Fonseca Fonseca, a professor at Rutgers’ School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, “that is in contrast to the ‘hard ticks’ (family Ixodidae) that New Jerseyans are more familiar with.”

 

Picture of bat ticks

Bat ticks are known as "soft ticks" because their body looks leathery and soft, unlike "hard" deer ticks.

While the current public health risk remains unknown, “finding them on New Jersey bats was an unusual event that prompted bat specialists to contact us. Maybe these ticks are becoming more common,” said Fonseca. In other states, bat ticks have been found infected with microbes that are harmful to people, pets and livestock. There are also confirmed reports of this soft tick feeding on people after losing their bat hosts.

“If you remove bats from your belfry, attic or elsewhere indoors, ticks that fed on those bats may stay behind and come looking for a new source of blood,” said report co-author James L. Occi, a doctoral student at Rutgers. “The next steps are to collect more soft tick specimens and test them for disease-causing microbes.”

If you have any upcoming bat removal jobs, be sure to take extra precautions and check yourself or the surrounding area for these ticks.

And remember, the New Jersey license recertification deadline is October 31st! Click here to view all of our continuing education course bundles.


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New Invasive Species Affecting Pennsylvania Soil

Last week, the Penn State Extension’s College of Agricultural Sciences announced the spotting of invasive jumping worms in Montour County. For anyone who relies on soil quality for their livelihood or hobby garden, a jumping worm (Amynthas spp., also known as Asian jumping worms, crazy worms, Alabama jumpers, and snake worms) infestation is their worst nightmare.

Jumping worms destroy soil quality by consuming large amounts of organic matter. When consumed, all plant nutrients in the worm castings are rendered unavailable for a long time, and the castings form a dry pellet. Once the soil’s organic matter is gone, it leads to a dry, coffee-ground-like consistency.

As of this writing, it is unknown how widespread the jumping worms are in Pennsylvania. According to the Penn State Extension, “the Montour County growers believe they have been on their farm for at least two years.” During this time, the growers noticed the jumping worms feeding on roots.

Differences between jumping worms and nightcrawlers

jumping worm found in pennsylvania

Adult jumping worms are about 5 or 6 inches long, with clitellum (the narrow band around their middle) that is flush around their entire body. The clitellum on nightcrawlers is slightly raised and does not go around their underside.

Dealing with jumping worms

If jumping worms are discovered on a property, the best known way to contain them is to make sure they cannot use soil to move from farm to farm. Soil can contain eggs even if adults are not present—cleaning soil from equipment and even shoes before moving to the next field can help keep them contained.

Currently, there are no insecticides labeled to control jumping worms. If found on a small scale, the worms can be collected, destroyed, and disposed of. Do not use them for fishing or in a compost bin. The Penn State Extension says they currently know “very little about this pest, but that will change. Keep your eyes and ears open for now.”

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Remember, as Pennsylvania Commercial Applicators and Public Certified Applicators, you must complete your continuing education by September 30th! View all our on-demand CE bundles below!


Pennsylvania Continuing Education Course Packages

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New Pesticide Law Introduced in US Senate

Earlier this month, Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) introduced the Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act of 2020 (PACTPA) to the Senate. The purpose of PACTPA is to fix loopholes within the current pesticide-related legislation, and ban “some of the most damaging pesticides scientifically known to cause significant harm to people and the environment.”

According to the official PACTPA press packet, “Approximately one-third of annual U.S. pesticide use — over 300 million pounds from 85 different pesticides — comes from pesticides that are banned in the European Union. The pesticide regulation statute, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act of 1972 (FIFRA), contains many loopholes that put the interests of the pesticide industry above the health and safety of people and our environment.”

This is the main issue that PACTPA addresses: the fact that the EPA approves many pesticides deemed unsafe in other countries, and that these pesticides are still used years after it’s determined they’re unsafe. In order to correct these issues, and protect pesticide applicators and US residents alike, PACTPA proposes the outright ban of the following pesticides:

  1. Organophosphate insecticides: which are designed to target the neurological system and have been linked to neurodevelopmental damage in children.
  2. Neonicotinoid insecticides: which have contributed to pollinator collapse around the world (the European Union and Canada have significantly restricted or banned their use to protect pollinators and other wildlife) and have recently been shown to cause developmental defects, heart deformations, and muscle tremors in unborn children.
  3. Paraquat: which is one of the most acutely toxic herbicides in the world —according to the EPA, just “one sip can kill.” Science has shown that chronic exposure to paraquat increases the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by 200% to 600%. It is already banned in 32 countries, including the European Union.

The bill also “provides protections for frontline communities that bear the burden of pesticide exposure by:”

  1. Requiring employers of farmworkers to report all pesticide-caused injuries to the EPA, with strong penalties for failure to report injuries or retaliating against workers.
  2. Directing the EPA to review pesticide injury reports and work with the pesticide manufacturers to develop better labeling to prevent future injury.
  3. Requiring that all pesticide label instructions be written in Spanish and in any language spoken by more than 500 pesticide applicators.
  4. Closing dangerous loopholes that have allowed the EPA to issue emergency exemptions and conditional registrations to use pesticides before they have gone through full health and safety review by the agency
  5. Enabling local communities to enact protective legislation and other policies without being vetoed or preempted by state law;
  6. Suspending the use of pesticides deemed unsafe by the E.U. or Canada until they are thoroughly reviewed by the EPA.
  7. Creating a petition process to enable individual citizens to petition the EPA to identify dangerous pesticides so that the EPA would no longer be able to indefinitely allow dangerous pesticides to remain on the market.

As of August 24, the bill is still waiting for a vote.


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EPA Approves New Natural Ingredient for Insect Repellent

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved a new active ingredient for use in insecticides and insect repellents. Nootkatone, discovered and developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), helps repel and kill ticks, mosquitoes, and a wide variety of other biting pests. The CDC’s licensed partner, Evolva, is working with pest control companies for possible commercial partnerships, which could be available as early as 2022.

Unlike some insecticide active ingredients, nootkatone is all natural and smells good enough to eat - because it is! It’s currently a food additive and classified as “generally considered safe” by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). “If you drink Fresca or Squirt, you’ve drunk nootkatone,” said Ben Beard, Ph.D., deputy director of the division of vector-borne diseases at the CDC. While nootkatone itself is food safe, eating any nootkatone-based pest control product is (obviously) not recommended. Food-grade nootkatone products will be very different from pest control ones.

Joel R. Coats, a specialist in insect toxicology at Iowa State University, said his lab found nootkatone to be “an impressive repellent but a weak insecticide.” It repels ticks better than synthetics like DEET, picaridin, or IR3535. And it is their equal at repelling mosquitoes.

Unlike citronella, peppermint oil, lemongrass oil and other repellents based on plant oils, nootkatone does not lose its potency after about an hour, but lasts as long as the synthetics.

According to The New York Times, proposed uses for nootkatone-based repellents include soaps for people in tick-infested areas and insecticide-fused mosquito nets.

What do you think of trying to implement more natural pest control ingredients? Let us know on social media!

 


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