West Virginia University

Extension Service


February 2001

Dr. John F. Baniecki, Extension Specialist in Plant Pathology/Entomology,
Pest Management Program


EPA Proposes Guidance for Labeling Pesticides Used to Produce Organic Crops

EPA has released a draft Pesticide Registration (PR) notice describing how pesticide registrants can apply to have their labels indicate that a product meets the criteria defined in the    USDA’s National Organic Program "NOP" Rule.

Under the proposal, registrants can seek EPA approval to place an "NOP" symbol on the labels of pesticide products that are suitable for use on organic crops. The approved label language would read: "The ingredients in this product meet the requirements of the USDA National Organic Program." This labeling scheme was proposed in support of the NOP rule issued on December 21, 2000 by the Agricultural Marketing Service of the USDA, which maintains a list of approved and prohibited substances for use in organic production and handling. More information on the NOP and PR notice can be obtained at www.ams.usda.gov/nop/ and www.epa.gov/opppmsd1/PR_Notices respectively. (EPA Pesticide Program Update - January 19th, 2001)


 New Fungal Strain Promising for Catepillar Control

The fungus Beauveria bassiana strain GHA is well known as a mycoinsecticide. The fungus enters a caterpillar and eventually kills it. Research conducted by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) has found a new strain of this organism (BB-1200) that is equal to or greater in infection rate than the older strain. 

Additionally, the new strain is infective on pests such as fall armyworm, beet armyworm, black  cutworm, cornborer, and cabbage looper - organisms that were not greatly affected by the GHA strain. The development of the new strain was a collaboration of the Mycotech Corporation of Butte, Montana and the USDA ARS. This company is currently assessing the efficacy of the fungus against thrips, whiteflies, and other major pests. (Citrus & Vegetable Magazine, January, 2001).


 More than 120 Countries, Including the U.S., have Agreed Upon Treaty Language that would Ban Twelve Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)

Nine of the chemicals will be banned in about five years when the treaty is scheduled for signing. The POPs are of particular concern because their persistence allows them to migrate far from the original use site, and many of them accumulate in fatty tissue. POPs have been linked to a number of diseases including birth defects and cancer. Many of the POPs scheduled for a ban are pesticides, including aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, mirex, and toxaphene. These names will be familiar to many agricultural producers because all of the pesticides were widely used on a variety of crops. Some of these pesticides are used in countries around the world. For example, DDT is an important mosquito control in poor countries where malaria remains a scourge. Under the treaty, DDT use will be permitted until other inexpensive alternatives can be discovered.

Although the United States and many other countries have banned these pesticides, they remain of concern. According to the Pesticide Action Network, POPs are common in almost all food products. You can read their report at www.panna.org/resources/documents/nowhereToHideMedia.dv.html
(Pesticide & Environmental News, 12-14-00)


 The National Pesticide Telecommunications Network is a Toll-Free Telephone and Internet Service that Provides Information about a Wide Range of Pesticide Issues

 This service of EPA and Oregon State University can answer questions about toxicology, poisoning, environmental impacts, etc. You can contact them from 9:30a.m. to 7:30p.m. (Eastern time) seven days a week (1-800-858-7378). You can also ask questions via e-mail nptn@ace.orst.edu or visit their web site http://nptn.orst.edu

 The National Antimicrobial Information Network provides similar information about antimicrobials. Contact them if you have questions about toxicology, effectiveness, regulation, etc., of antimicrobial chemicals. 1-800-447-6349 or nain@ace.orst.edu or http://ace.orst.edu/info/nain


 For Many People, the Asian Lady Beetle, Harmonia Axyridis, is a Plague Because the Beetles May Enter Homes by the Thousands as they Seek Hibernation Sites

A new USDA web site can help. The site includes fact sheets and directions for building an indoor trap to captures beetles that enter the home. You will also find commercial sources for the traps. Companies that build traps should visit the USDA site to register their company as a vendor.

http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2000/001030.beetlefacts.htm


 Soon, Extension scientists and consultants will have a new tool to correctly identify mites

 One of the basic tenets of pest management is proper identification of the pest. Correct identification

and knowledge of the pest biology/ecology are critical to implementing an effective IPM program. Mite ID is often a problem because of their small size and the lack of experts who can quickly identify mites. Scientists with USDA have applied low-temperature scanning electron microscopy to produce clear, three-dimensional images of mites magnified more than 50,000 times. Under this magnification, even minute details of mites are revealed. Contact Dr. Ronald Ochoa for details at rochoa@sel.barc.usda.gov 

(ESA Newsletter, 12-00)


Lichens may be the source of new herbicides

 Lichens are not one organism but two living symbiotically. An alga provides sugars for itself and its partner, a fungus. The fungus provides the home and protection for the alga. One common lichen metabolite, usnic acid, blocks photosynthesis. This discovery could lead to new types of herbicides. You can find more details at www.nps.ars.usda.gov

(Agricultural Research, 1-01)


 If Your Small Business Violates An Environmental Regulation, You Can Receive More Lenient Treatment If You Report The Violations Yourself

  Under the EPA small business (less than 100 employees) policy, the EPA can waive penalties for eligible businesses if they promptly report the violation and correct the violations. You can read more about the policy at www.epa.gov/oeca/smbusi.html


 Pesticide Tidbits

        Dr. Avas Hamon of the Florida Division of Plant Industry announced the discovery of Aceria zelkoviana, an eriophyid mite that is a pest on ornamental plants. The mite is new to the U.S. (Florida Pest Alert, 1/25/01).  

        BASF has committed to being a leader in agricultural crop protection. Currently third behind Monsanto and Syngenta, BASF hopes to have 14 new active ingredients registered by 2006, five of which will be fungicides. (The Grower, January, 2001).  

        USDA ARS scientists in Hawaii have developed a new medfly lure which stays potent for three to four times longer than the currently employed lure. The lure is also four to nine times more attractive to male medflies. It is speculated that the new lure may be powerful enough to be used for mass-trapping to eradicate the fly. (The Grower, January, 2001).  

        Potato wart disease caused by Synchutrium endobioticum was discovered in mid-October in Prince Edward Island, Canada. This finding led the USDA to prohibit any potatoes from that province crossing into the states. The fungus deforms potatoes and has a long residence in the soil. It has been eradicated in the U.S. for some time, and must not be allowed to become re-established since U.S. potato exports already suffer from phytosanitary restrictions for organisms such as nematodes. (The Grower, January, 2001).


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The West Virginia University Cooperative Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture and West Virginia counties cooperating. Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Institution.