Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Dr. Mike Waldvogel Receives the IPM Award

A big congratulations to Dr. Mike Waldvogel! 

He received the the 2016 Southern Region IPM Center "Friends of IPM – IPM Educator" award. 

This award is given to individuals or groups to recognize successful outreach and education programs that facilitate the implementation of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Mike was recognized in an award ceremony at the Southeastern Branch ESA meeting in Raleigh, NC on March 15, 2016.

Dr. Waldvogel Mike is an Extension Specialist and Extension Associate Professor with NCSU's Department of Entomology.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Final Rule Will Clarify and Improve the Transparency of Ingredients in Minimum Risk Pesticide Products

The Environmental Protection Agency has published a rule to clarify the substances on the minimum risk pesticide ingredient list and the way ingredients are identified on product labels. Minimum risk pesticides are a special class of pesticides that are not required to be registered with EPA because their ingredients, both active and inert, pose little to no risk to human health or the environment. The Agency is reorganizing these lists and adding specific chemical identifiers to make clearer to manufacturers, the public, and federal, state, and tribal inspectors the specific ingredients that are permitted in minimum risk pesticide products. EPA is also requiring producer contact information and the use of specific common chemical names in lists of ingredients on minimum risk pesticide product labels.

EPA’s revisions to the exemption, announced in a December 28, 2015, Federal Register notice, do not alter the substance of the minimum risk pesticide ingredient lists, but more accurately describe which chemical substances can be used in pesticide products that are exempt from federal pesticide registration requirements. State enforcement agencies have expressed support for the changes.

EPA believes the industry – manufacturers of these products and businesses considering entering the market for minimum risk pesticides – will benefit from clearer guidance. Consumers will benefit from the clearer information on which chemicals the products contain.

To view the final rule, go to: EPA-HQ-OPP-2010-0305-0047

Monday, August 24, 2015

Insecticide Resistant Lice

Head lice move across a nit comb. (Kevin Dyer/iStock)
The new school year is often accompanied by increased reports of head lice. And according to a new paper delivered at the American Chemical Society and reported last week in, this year’s head lice may be a bit more problematic.

In the paper, North Carolina is among 25 states shown to have head louse populations that are resistant to the most commonly used head louse shampoo treatments, including pyrethrins and the pyrethroid insecticide permethrin. In 104 out of 109 lice populations already analyzed, the authors found high levels of gene mutations that make lice indifferent to these over-the-counter treatments. The team is still analyzing data from the other 25 states.

Researcher Kyong Sup Yoon, lead author of the study, points out that "Just one louse that manages to survive a pyrethroid treatment can live for up to a month and lay five eggs a day. Multiply that by an elementary school, a community, and soon you’ve got plenty of resistant lice.”

The good news is that there is no reason to panic. There are new, non-pyrethroid options available through your doctor. These products will likely be more expensive, however.

Regardless of what product you use, pay careful attention to head inspection and combing after treatment. Using two methods (insecticide plus combing) is almost always better than one method when it comes to controlling lice.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Why Cockroaches Die on Their Backs

Below is a link to an article featuring Dr. Coby Schal with NCSU's Department of Entomology.

Coby Schal is a professor of entomology at 
North Carolina State University

Thursday, July 2, 2015

What's That Smell? The True Odor of the Odorous House Ant

When talking to folks about the odorous house ant, you’ve probably told them that the ant smells like rotten coconut when it’s crushed, after which they inevitably give you a “look” – one that tells you they think it’s disgusting that you readily squish ants! 

While the freshly crushed odorous house ant does produce a definite odor, describing it as “rotten coconut” never said a lot to me, namely because I have never smelled a rotten coconut! I have always thought the odorous house ant produced a clean smell, almost like glass cleaner, with more of a “punch.” 
In an effort to provide more accurate information on just how the odorous house ant smells, Clint Penick and Adrian Smith conducted a recent study investigating the volatile compounds released by the odorous house ant and the items most commonly associated with their scent. 

The vast majority of online sources identify the odor of the odorous house ant as “coconut-like” (Fig. 1A). This ran counter to the results of a smell test that Penick and Smith conducted as part of their study. In the smell test, participants most identified the smell of a freshly crushed odorous house ant as “blue cheese,” followed by “other” as a close second (Fig. 1B). The most common write-in candidate for “other” was cleaning spray (very similar to way I have always described the smell of odorous house ants!).

When Penick and Smith also used gas chromatography-mass spectrometry to determine the exact chemical composition of the odorous house ant scent. They found that the major component of the odorous house ant scent was a methyl ketone (Fig. 2) that has actually been identified in other ant species as well. As in turns out, the most prominent compounds associated with blue cheese are also methyl ketones. No methyl ketones were found in fresh coconut. Once coconut turned rotten, however, it released the same methyl ketones found in blue cheese. Interestingly, the microbes that turn coconut oil rancid – Penicillium mold – are the very same microbes used to make blue cheese!

So, what exactly IS that smell? According to Penick and Smith’s results, the odorous house ant odor points to blue cheese, with a cautious nod to rotten coconut. They emphasized cautious because it’s not the “coconut” in rotten coconut that smells like the odorous house ant, but the “rotten.” To sum up, odorous house ants do not smell like coconuts. They smell like blue cheese. Or you could say that they smell like coconuts that have been colonized by Penicillium mold that causes the coconut oil to produce an odor similar to blue cheese.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

EPA Publishes Proposal To Mitigate Exposure to Bees From Acutely Toxic Pesticide Products; Notice of Availability

On Friday May 29, the EPA published a proposal to mitigate exposure to managed bees from pesticide products from foliar applications. The EPA’s proposal would prohibit the foliar application of acutely toxic products (neonicotinoids) during bloom for locations with bees on-site and under contract. Current neonicotinoid product labels contain a 48 hour notice exception, which will be removed from the label. This proposal was detailed in the President’s National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators released last week. The proposal is very limited to foliar applications when managed pollinators are on the property under contract.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

How Could IPM Have Helped?

San Ysidro School District, San Diego, California is battling an unresolved lawsuit over alleged pesticide use, incurring $35,000 in legal costs as of last month. According to media reports, in 2011, teacher Josie Hamada took her students to a cherry tree grove on school property to draw and write about trees. After clearing some weeds, Hamada found herself contaminated with a blue substance which she suspected was a pesticide. Students were quickly moved inside to wash up. Health complaints followed, including at least one student’s trip to a hospital the next day.

School officials report that no pesticide had been applied by district staff or contractors, and claimed that notices are posted for every scheduled application. The district had also sent out 5,000 notices to parents asking if they wanted to receive individual notification when the school applied pesticides; only three parents responded.
Media reports indicate the cherry trees were planted as a memorial to September 11, 2001 victims. It’s unclear from the news stories if the blue substance was confirmed to be a pesticide, however an informed IPM coordinator might have suggested a lower maintenance alternative before the trees were planted. Cherry trees, much like apple, crabapple, dogwood and birches, are “key plants”, prone to insect and disease problems. In most environments, cherry trees and other key plants require interventions, including pesticide applications, to keep them healthy and attractive. Fruit trees also typically shed some of the crop throughout the growing season, which can provide a food and moisture source for rodents, flies, yellow jackets and other potential pests. Weeds can also be a challenge to manage. Barrier fabric and mulch can be a solution, but can also provide harborage for rodents, and requires ongoing maintenance to be effective. To real the full story, click here.
Red imported fire ant mound
(Jake Farnum,
In Texas, a student died at Has Middle School in Corpus Christi following an allergic reaction to fire ant stings he received on a football field. While the district has some IPM tactics in place, their IPM practices for fire ant management were not complete. The coaching staff was not trained to recognize the signs of anaphylactic shock.  Knowing when and how to inspect a field for fire ants and how to apply baits effectively are key to fire ant management.

According to Janet Hurley, Extension Program Specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, “Your objective should be to find the method or methods that are most cost-effective, environmentally sound and fit your tolerance level for fire ants.” AgriLife Extension worked with the school IPM staff to develop a district-wide fire ant baiting program. One year later the district has reported fewer fire ant complaints and reduced cost with a broadcast bait program rather than treating individual mounds, which is time intensive, can require more pesticide use, and does nothing to manage fire ants foraging from mounds on adjoining property. Properly timed bait applications can be entirely consumed by foraging ants within hours, limiting potential for exposure to the bait. The district also adopted a policy to train all staff on how to recognize anaphylaxis and how to properly respond to an allergic reaction to both pests and food-borne allergies. Read the full story here. To learn more about fire ants and IPM visit Fire Ants and the Texas IPM in Schools Program.
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