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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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.


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Authorities Crack Down on Illegal Pesticide Trade in Europe

An investigation from the EU Observer finds that the black market pesticide trade in Europe is a multi-million dollar illegal industry that carries big potential and low risk.

Journalist Staffan Dahllöf says sellers first purchase cheap, black-listed compounds from China then jack up the price when they sell to European buyers.

“A single shipment of 160 tons generates €11.2m. Tax-free and almost completely risk-free,” writes Dahllöf.

European authorities are aware of the operations and are now cracking down. Europol calls their efforts to do so “operation Silver Axe.”

In 2020, 32 countries coordinated efforts to carry out the fifth edition of the mission. Between January to April 2020, Europol seized more than 1.3 tons of illegal pesticides, enough to fill 458 Olympic-sized swimming pools. The worth is roughly valued at more than €94 million.

“Law enforcement authorities carried out inspections on land and sea borders, inland marketplaces and parcel deliveries, checking more than 3,000 tons of pesticides,” said Europol’s press release.

Highlights of this year’s mission include interceptions of non-labeled products in Poland, counterfeit pesticides in Italy, and illegal compounds headed towards Cyprus.

Europol cites studies that show as much as 14% of Europe’s entire pesticide sphere is affected by trafficked, illegal pesticides.

“Some of the organized crime groups trafficking pesticides are also involved in other illegal activities such as trafficking counterfeited cigarettes and illegally trading pharmaceuticals,” says Europol’s release.

The director of the European Crop Protection Association says these products are a risk to human and environmental health.

“This is not just an issue for our companies, whose products are being counterfeited, but more significantly poses a risk to health and the environment,” said Geraldine Kutas in the release.

Since Operation Silver Axe started in 2015, agents have recovered more than 2.5 tons of illegal or counterfeit pesticides.


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Washington State Entomologists Working to Eradicate Invasive Murder Hornets and Gypsy Moths

Just when you thought 2020 couldn’t get worse, an insect known as the “Murder Hornet” has been spotted in the United States.

Entomologists in Washington state have spotted them in at least two areas.

Native to Asia, the Asian Giant Hornet is a staggering two inches long and can deliver nasty, painful stings that can cause death in humans. Unlike bees, they can sting multiple times and an attack releases pheromones that attract other hornets to come attack as well.

In Japan, dozens of people die of stings every year.

But the hornet is not on a mission to attack people. Scientists say that only happens when they’re provoked, or if an unlucky hiker nears their nest. What’s more terrifying is that the “Murder Hornet” does kill bees. Some reports show that the nasty bug rips off the heads of honeybees.

Honeybees are threatened and their population is declining world-wide. Now, scientists are working to get a grip on any predator that could decimate their numbers even more.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture is asking anyone in the public to report sightings immediately.

The department has been busy this season, as reports began to surface that invasive Gypsy Moths had also descended on the Pacific Northwest. The bug is a major threat to local crops.

The moths can fly long distances and defoliate trees and shrubs. That process weakens them and makes them more susceptible to disease.

It’s such a problem that Washington state governor Jay Inslee issued an emergency proclamation in May, saying that there is “imminent danger of an infestation…[which] seriously endangers the agricultural and horticultural industries…and threatens the economic well-being and quality of life of state residents.”

Newsweek reports that Washington state will drop more than 655 gallons of insecticide “to coincide with the Gypsy Moth caterpillar’s emergence in the spring.”

Entomologists in Washington will begin a trapping process to control the hornet’s queen population, as well.


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Inspecting Homes for Pests

pest inspection/WDO inspection involves a full inspection of a home for any evidence of termite activity and/or evidence of dry rot damage, or moisture conditions that could lead to an atmosphere for wood destroying organisms or termites. It’s called a WDO because termites are not the only wood destroying organisms in the world. This means that a pest inspector would inspect the exterior of a home including all the trim, home siding, under roof eaves, ect. Additionally, the inspector will point out conducive conditions that could lead to a new termite infestation, or support an existing termite infestation. This includes firewood and other debris stored against the home, wood siding contact with the soil, and grade that does not slope away from the foundation. Pest Inspectors do a full inspection of the interior as well, specifically checking for water leaks in the bathrooms, kitchen and laundry areas, windows, and inspecting the attic where applicable.

Termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage each year and are known as “silent destroyers” because of their ability to chew through wood, flooring and even wallpaper undetected. Home Buyers and Sellers are always surprised to find out that a pest inspection is helping make sure the structure is intact and will remain intact. The new home market is a big industry that applicators can tap into by adding general/structural categories to their current licenses. For those that currently have this category and need CE we here at Certified Training Institute offer a variety of courses to choose from.

Certified Training Institute offers state-approved continuing education courses that are available online from any internet enabled device - which means your classes are available when you are. Have a few minutes between client meetings? Why not watch a segment or two of a video course! Is the weather not cooperating with your planned applications? Take the day and knock out a couple hours of your required continuing education!

Choose your state below to view the available courses or call our office to speak with a licensing expert for help getting started!

Annual Bluegrass Resistance Management

Check out this snippet from our new course-Annual Bluegrass Resistance Management:

“Poa annua is commonly known as annual bluegrass in North America, but to much of Europe it is known as annual meadow-grass. In the United States, it is colloquially often called Poa which is its genus. The genus Poa includes approximately 500 species.

Common examples include: Poa pratensis or Kentucky bluegrass (also known as smooth meadow-grass); Poa trivialis or “Poa triv”, which was once commonly used to overseed greens of the southeast and is also known as rough-stalk bluegrass or rough meadow-grass. Annual bluegrass is thought to have originated from a hybrid of Poa infirma (weak bluegrass) and Poa supina (creeping meadow-grass) that occurred approximately 2.5 million years ago in the interglacial ice ages of Europe.

Annual bluegrass is widespread around the world. Its presence has been observed on all continents, including Antarctica; though, it is most prominent in temperate climates.

Annual bluegrass is an annual comprised of numerous biotypes or “populations” – many of which are capable of perenniating, meaning that they may exist in a vegetative state throughout the year, all along producing viable seed. Though perennials are much less common than the annual biotypes, they tend to occur in frequently mown or grazed scenarios in temperate climates with adequate year round moisture.

Annual bluegrass is a common constituent of most maintained turf areas around the world. It is often considered a weed, but it is also propagated as a desired turf species. In fact, some of the most lauded golf greens in the world are composed of annual bluegrass, including: Pebble Beach, Oakmont, and the more recently converted Chambers Bay.”

The sample text above is part of our brand-new course on Annual Bluegrass Resistance Management. Annual bluegrass has historically been an important weed of many, if not most, commodity and specialty crops. The extensive reliance upon herbicides as the primary means of control has led to an almost overwhelming presence of herbicide resistance. There are very few commonly utilized herbicides that annual bluegrass has not evolved resistance to – albeit often in isolated or unique populations. However, the worrying trend is that for some turf scenarios, we no longer have effective chemical means of controlling annual bluegrass. This course will discuss the currently reported cases of annual bluegrass resistance to various herbicides and how to develop an effective herbicide program.

After completing this course participants will be able to:

  • Discuss herbicide resistance best management practices
  • Distinguish between the different classes of herbicides and their different sites of action
  • Describe how herbicide resistance is developed and how it can be avoided

This course is presented in full HD Video and is available 24/7 from the convenience of your computer or mobile device. Head to your state’s course offering page and get started on your continuing education today!


Online Pesticide Professional Continuing Education

State-approved video continuing education courses are available 24/7.

 

Georgia Pesticide Applicators: Check Out Our New Course Bundle!

Ornamental and turf pesticide applicators are required to complete 10 credits of continuing education every five-year renewal cycle. In order to make things simple for you, Certified Training Institute has put together a new course bundle for ornamental & turf applicators:

The new Ornamental & Turf Bundle contains 10 credits of category 24 training. Topics include management strategies for IPM tactics for turf and ornamental management, management of pests common to ornamental and turf, and pesticide application equipment and calibration for both ornamental and turf.

BUNDLE CONTENTS:

  • IPM for Ornamental Plant Pest Management – 1 credit
  • Common Ornamental Plant Pests – 3 credits
  • Ornamental Pesticide Application Equipment and Calibration – 1 credit
  • IPM for Turf Management – 1 credit
  • Common Turfgrass Weeds – 1 credit
  • Turfgrass Disease, Insect, and Vertebrate Pests – 1 credit
  • Cultural Practices for Turf Management – 1 credit
  • Application Equipment and Calibration – 1 credit

The bundle is conveniently priced at $129, which saves you $34 over a la carte options for the same courses.

The best part? Being able to take the courses at your own pace, wherever you want! Whether at home or out on the town, our mobile friendly platform allows you to complete courses on your schedule: with 24/7 access and helpful customer service representatives waiting to provide you with any assistance needed, completing your continuing education has never been easier!

We also have bundles ready to go to satisfy requirements for any category:

Georgia Pesticide Safety Bundle (6 credits in all categories): $99

Georgia Agricultural Plant Bundle (10 credits in category 21): $129

Georgia Right of Way Bundle (6 credits in category 27): $99

Check them out today and get your CE done on your terms!

Utah Pollinator Stewardship

Utah pesticide applicators: pollinator stewardship is a hot topic in your state right now!

Check out the following snippets from our course on pollinator stewardship, and then click here to find the whole course (it is fully Utah state approved and counts as 1 CEU)!

 The primary concern plaguing the beekeeping industry is the decline of honey bees around the world. Colony collapse disorder (CCD) is the leading cause behind this steady decline in honey bee numbers. There are a number of different factors affecting this decline. It is important to know the best practices concerning honeybee stewardship.”

“Minimize Pesticide Risk for Pollinators: Whether applying pesticides in the home garden or in a commercial setting, many of the chemical pesticides used to control insects, fungal disease, and even weeds can hurt non-target pollinating insects, such as bees and butterflies. Ensure your ability to effectively and efficiently apply pesticides without harming beneficial insects.”

As applicators, it is important that to be aware and analyze the following prior to every pesticide application:

  • Understand the importance of pollinators in agriculture and why protecting native pollinators is of great concern.
  • Be aware of the federal and state enforcement and compliance procedures as related to pollinator safety and alternatives to hard chemicals.
  • Identify the factors that contribute to colony collapse disorder in relation to the current application.
  • Recognize the importance of beekeeper/grower communication, and communicate with local beekeepers who may be affected whenever possible.

For additional resource in relation to the topic of pollinator stewardship, check out CTI’s other course Balancing Pest Management and Pollinator Stewardship (fully state approved and counts as 2 CEUs!).

Careful analysis of pesticide application sites and surrounding areas can ensure the health of pollinators in our environments for years to come. Make sure you are doing your part AND earn CEUs with Certified Training Institute today!

Mosquito Birth Control for Disease Prevention

Since the first outbreak of Zika in the United States in 2016, researches have been scrambling to find measures to prevent further spread of the disease. There are currently no approved vaccines or drugs for Zika, and so efforts have been concentrated on controlling the mosquito population that carries the disease: Aedes aegypti.

Ae. Aegypti, however, have some resistance to insecticides, which combined with concerns related to pesticide drift and environmental impact, researches have had to look out of the box to find solutions.

The City of South Miami, Miami Dade County, Clarke Mosquito Control Services, and MosquitoMate came together and in early 2018 began releasing Wolbachia-infected Ae. Aegypti male mosquitoes into an area of South Miami.

Wolbachia is a bacteria which naturally affects 60% of the world’s insect species already. This bacteria, when present in mosquitoes, causes egg hatch failure. Scientists have infected male Ae. Aegypti and when they mate with females, the eggs simply do not hatch. This simple bacteria has the remarkable effect of reducing populations of Zika infected mosquitoes.

According to EntymologyToday.org, study findings recently published in the Journal of Medical Entomology have been positive: there has been more than a 75% reduction in females since the project began. While migration has played a mitigating effect, researchers are positive that expanding the area where the infected males are released will result in even more favorable results.

To learn more about other types of mosquito control and get continuing education credit for your state, be sure to visit Certified Training Institute today!

The War on Rats

If you have ever lived in or traveled to big cities in America, chances are you have seen one or more of these pesky rodents. These furry critters pose a threat to cities not only because they are annoying but also because they spread diseases and wreak havoc on your stuff. Remember learning about the Black Plague? Allegedly spread by rats, it wiped out 2/3 of the world’s population.

New York City last year set a war on rats plan into action hoping to eliminate 70% of the rats in 10 of their most infested neighborhoods. How are they hoping to accomplish this by the end of 2018? The plan is pretty simple. Eliminate their food source. NYC has more trash than any other city on earth. 33 million tons per year! The plan is to change the design of trash receptacles with a mailbox style opening. They are advising residents to keep trash contained in closed bins or dumpsters; never leave pet food uncovered outside; remove piles of debris; ensure pet waste is disposed of in sealed containers; weed and throw away rotting vegetation from gardens, and maintain bird feeders.

The newly ordained “Rat Capitol” of the U.S—Chicago, has their own plan to take back their city. The Department of Streets and Sanitation conduct preventive baiting and began a pilot program to place dry ice into rodent burrows in parks or other green spaces to suffocate the rats.

Pesticide Applicators are seeing a 30% increase in requests for rat extermination services in many big cities across the U.S. Considering rats have come out on top for thousands of years it sounds like applicators will be in business for many years to come.

 


Pesticide Professional Continuing Education

Online state-approved video continuing education courses are available 24/7.