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.


Need to Renew Your License?

Learn the Difference Between the Asian Giant Hornets and this Texas Native Species

This month, many Texas residents mistakenly believed they encountered the Asian giant “murder” hornet. In order to stave off any future bee-related backyard BBQ freakouts, researchers at Texas A&M ArgiLife have released important details regarding these recent “murder hornet” sightings.

David Ragsdale, Ph.D., chief scientific officer and associate director of Texas A&M AgriLife research said his department has received up to 10 photos of various wasps per day from people who think they’re seeing the Asian giant hornet. But what they’re actually looking at is the Texas native cicada killer wasp, or ground hornet. Many pest management agents and specialists around the state have also received “murder hornet” related inquiries.

“Most everyone has seen the cicada killer wasp, that is very large, but has mostly been ignored in the past,” Ragsdale said. “With the most recent news of the Asian giant hornet, they are now paying attention to the native Texas insect.”

Asian giant hornet and cicada killer wasp

How to Tell the Difference

Since the cicada killer wasp and their other native Texan lookalikes are currently going through a case of mistaken identity, below are key differences between them and the Asian giant hornet.

Note: Holly Davis, Ph.D., a Texas A&M AgriLife extension service entomologist in Weslaco said it’s important to know that there have been no confirmed reports of Asian giant hornets in any other U.S. location other than the northwestern corner of Washington state.

Asian Giant Hornet

  • Is 1.5 - 2 inches long
  • Its head is as wide or wider than its shoulders
  • It’s body is a combination of bright orange/yellow and dark brown
  • It has a pinched waist with brown and orange stripes that cover the abdomen

Cicada Killer Wasps

  • All three species are between 1 - 1.5 inches long
  • Their heads are narrower than their thorax
  • Their heads and thorax are typically the same dark orange or brown color
  • They also have a pinched waist, but their abdomen stripes are jagged

Asian giant hornet and Texas native species comparison

Davis says Asian giant hornets are very protective of their nests and will sting people who they view as a threat - but cicada killer wasps are mostly solitary and usually don’t attack in great numbers. Although you likely won’t deal with any Asian giant hornets in upcoming service calls, just helping your customers understand the difference between these species can save their sanity.


Do you need state approved continuing education or exam prep?

Florida Continuing Education Deadline Update

Last week, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nicole Fried signed order 2020-022. Under this order, all continuing education late fees are waived through August 22, 2020 (instead of July 2nd).

This new order was championed by the Florida Pest Management Association in an effort to further assist Florida’s pest control professionals affected by COVID-19.

If you are still unsure about anything, here are some answers to frequently asked questions:

When must I renew my license?

Florida applicators must renew their licenses every 4 years by the end of the original issue month.

Florida State Licensing Contact Information

Phone: (850) 617-7870
Fax: (850) 617-7895
Web: Florida Department of Agriculture

Who submits my Florida Pesticide Applicator continuing education to the state?

Applicators are responsible for submitting their continuing education credits to the Florida Department of Agriculture. Upon course completion, applicators will be provided with a certificate of completion as well as the required Record of Attendance form.

How do I upload my CEU records to the state?

  1. Download or scan "Record of Attendance"
  2. Visit the website: aesecomm.freshfromflorida.com
  3. Select applicable license type
  4. Click on "Upload Documents" (Not a renewal app)
  5. Type detail information and select "Document Type"
  6. Click on "Browse and Upload document" then "Save"

Are you still working on completing your continuing education?

Certified Training Institute offers online state-approved video courses that are available on any device with an internet connection. 

India Mounts Massive Pesticide Attack on Destructive Locust Swarms

Locusts are on their way to India after devastating vegetation and villages in Africa and Pakistan.

The country has already had to battle them this year, with Fortune reporting that a January attack killed more than 61,000 acres of vegetation including fields of potatoes and cumin. It was apparently one of the worst swarms in more than 25 years.

Now, officials are spraying pesticides in at least four provinces spanning more than 100,000 acres.

The Hindustan Times reports that they’re spraying Malathion 96 and Chlorpyrifos, which are organophosphate pesticides. Both are very powerful, the former is considered carcinogenic and has been associated with lymphoma diagnoses, while the latter can cause weakness, vomiting, and even paralysis.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations says the influx of locusts could be declared a plague if it reaches certain levels.

Their movements are “associated with strong westerly winds from Cyclone Amphan in the Bay of Bengal…several successive waves of invasions can be expected until July.”

Officials are bringing out the big-guns so to speak because it’s the only effective way to eradicate them. In an interview with the times, one officials says there are consequences to their application:

“These pesticides will drift and residue will remain. They will definitely disturb the ecological balance of the area and kill natural enemies—pests which can counter other crop pests. So, we can expect outbreak of other pests,” said the executive director at the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture.

He added that the locusts have a short life cycle but they can return to their breeding sites because they can fly long distances.

The FAO adds that locust invasions in East Africa, including Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia, are an “unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods.” Ground and aerial operations continue in those areas.


Do you need state approved continuing education or exam prep?

Cage Trap vs. Live Traps

Sometimes vertebrates make themselves at home where we really wish they wouldn’t! Over the month of January, we’ll be looking at options for managing the vertebrate wildlife that makes itself at home where it’s not welcome.

Cage Traps vs. Live Traps: What’s the difference?

The first step to managing your new vertebrate guest is to choose the right equipment. When the average homeowner says “live trap” they’re usually referring to a cage trap. As professionals, we know that a cage trap is a live trap, but not all live traps are cage traps. We asked our expert Stephen Vantassel to fill us in on the different types of live traps, the various styles of cage traps, and what to look for when purchasing your equipment.

The following video is a snippet from our Cage Trapping Techniques Course. Find this and other video continuing education courses at www.certifiedtraininginstitute.com/pesticide

Why Cover the Trap?

Our wildlife expert Stephen Vantassel recommends covering at least half of that trap during setting. What? Why would I want to cover my trap? Won’t that make it harder for the animal to find it? Perhaps, but the benefits far outweigh the loss of a little bait scent in the air. In addition to providing cover for that animal to hide, you’ve also hidden that animal from the family dog, the nosey neighbor, and predators that may decide that animal you trapped looks like a tasty snack. Take a look at this short clip from our Cage Trapping Techniques course to see why Stephen always covers his traps.

Professional Cage Traps vs. Retail Cage Traps: Is it worth the difference in price?

Last week we looked at the difference between live traps and cage traps. This week we’ll be looking at how retail cage traps differ from professional cage traps. As you might suspect, there are multiple differences right down to the spacing between the wires of the cage. We’ve asked our wildlife trapping expert Stephen Vantassel with the Montana Department of Agriculture to describe the differences between retail cage traps and professional cage traps, and how to compensate when all you might have available is a retail cage trap.

The following video is a snippet from our Cage Trapping Techniques Course. Find this and other video continuing education courses at www.certifiedtraininginstitute.com/pesticide

You Set a Trap for a Squirrel and You Trapped a Skunk, Now What?

Imagine this: you’ve set a trap to catch what you think might be a squirrel, groundhog, or rabbit, but when you check it the next day you’ve caught a skunk! What do you do now? At this point, you’re glad you’ve covered at least half of your trap with an old blanket or something similar. Not only do you have a blind side to approach the cage trap, it also provides that skunk someplace to hide. We asked our wildlife trapping expert Stephen Vantassel if he’s ever had this happen to him. Check out the video clip from our Cage Trapping Techniques course for tips on keeping that trapped skunk calm, because let’s face it, nobody wants to be sprayed!