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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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. 

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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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India Phasing Out Use of Highly Toxic Pesticides

The Indian Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers is taking steps to stop using highly toxic chemicals including pesticides and insecticides.

The list of potentially banned substances includes Captan, Oxyfluorfen, Deltamethrin, Pendimethalin and others.

Many of the substances have known health effects and have been banned by countries around the world, but some nations continue to use them for widespread applications, leading to the direct and indirect health consequences.

Let’s break down why some of these chemicals are so dangerous:

  • Captan
    • Use: Controlling plant disease, improving appearance of some fruits and vegetables
    • Health Effects: The EPA classifies it as a carcinogen
    • Is it used in the U.S.?: Yes, it is used to control fungal diseases like downy mildew
  • Oxyfluorfen
    • Use: Can be used to grow rice, peanuts, vegetables and more
    • Health Effects: Inhalation at high doses can cause irritation; it’s also likely to bioaccumulate in the body
    • Is it used in the U.S.?: Yes, it is still used for many broad-leaf plants
  • Deltamethrin
    • Use: It is a broad-spectrum insecticide
    • Health Effects: The NPIC says it is low in toxicity when “touched or breathed in” but could cause gastrointestinal damage in high doses
    • Is it used in the U.S.?: Yes, it is used in many public spaces like golf courses to keep greens beautified and tidy

Phys.Org reports that India uses some of these compounds in high-volume situations, and there are also problems with runoff, which leads to human health hazards.

"Given that pesticide poisonings, accidental or deliberate, account for an average of 20,000 annual deaths in this country, the government notification of a plan to phase out 27 extremely or highly hazardous farm chemicals should be welcomed by all," says Devinder Sharma, to Phys.Org.

The article further explains that in India, banning dangerous chemicals has been a long time coming, because the decision-makers need to consider other ways farmers could eliminate disease and pests while still doing it affordably if some pesticides were to become banned.


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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.


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New Class for Delaware Pesticide Applicators

Check out this snippet from our new Delaware approved course-Respiratory Protection:

“Workers who need personal protective equipment are often very good at wearing types such as gloves, hard hats, hearing protection, etc, but can neglect respiratory protection. This is because while other hazards such as dropping a cement block on your foot or slicing your hand open are immediately noticeable in their damage, the damage done to your lungs from inhaling hazardous chemicals on a repeated, consistent basis is not immediately obvious. This type of hazard is known as a chronic safety hazard, which occurs over time, usually 20 to 30 years, before it becomes apparent. OSHA has its own standard dedicated to respiratory protection because this is such a large hazard to the health of workers.

There are three parts to the respiratory standard:

  • being trained on the respirator you are wearing on the job site
  • being approved to wear a respirator
  • must be fit tested

While the intention is good when employers hand out respirators to employees for job safety, it doesn't do much good if the employees are not trained on their proper use and care. Knowing how to wear the respirator correctly and keeping it in working order is critical.

Not everyone can wear a respirator. An MEQ, or medical questionnaire, must be filled out once a year and submitted to a doctor or a medical professional who can approve you to wear the respirator. This approval must be on file and filled out on work time. Since it contains your personal medical information, it must also be in a sealed file so your employer does not see what it contains. Most of the time workers can be approved to wear a respirator simply by filling out the MEQ, but sometimes the doctor will want to see them in person. If this is necessary, the worker will take a pulmonary test, which measures how well their lungs can handle the strain of wearing a respirator.

Fit testing is extremely important and must be performed once a year for each specific mask that you wear. Fit testing is different from a fit check, which is done every time you put your respirator on. When you have your respirator fit tested, you are making sure it is properly fitted to your face so you don't have a false sense of security when around respiratory hazards. A mask that is too loose or too tight will cause gaps to interrupt the seal, allowing those hazards to bypass the mask and defeating the purpose of wearing a respirator. There are two types of fit tests performed: quantitative and qualitative. The quantitative fit test measures the challenge agent outside the mask, and how much of the challenge agent is inside the mask. The qualitative measures the quality of challenge agent outside the mask, and is more common than the quantitative. Banana oil, Bitrex, or stannic chloride are all examples of challenge agents used in a qualitative fit test.

Fit tests should also be performed if there are significant changes to the shape of your face through things like gastric bypass surgery, scarring, or the removal of teeth.”

The sample text above is part of our brand-new two-part course on respirator safety, which is presented in full HD Video and is available 24/7 from the convenience of your computer or mobile device. Applicators with category 1C, 03, 04, and 7C endorsements can earn 1 credit with this course toward their continuing education requirements.

Click here to visit our Delaware Pesticide Applicator page and get your CE credits today!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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