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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Pests' Category


30
Nov

Viruses Shown to Be Effective Biological Control

(Beyond Pesticides, November 30, 2023) Scientists at Minami Kyushu University in Japan have made a groundbreaking discovery of a new biological control for a target insect. They have identified a virus in tobacco cutworms that kills males, creating all-female generations. The discovery was described in a recent issue of the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences and The New York Times as evidence that multiple viruses have evolved to kill male insects. This “male-killing” virus could be added to the growing attempts to control unwanted insects with biological, as distinguished from genetically engineered (GE) solutions. Efforts range from the introduction of natural predators, to radiation-based sterilization of insects, CRISPR-based genetic mutations, and other techniques. While the GE approach has run into controversy because of unanswered questions associated with their release into natural ecosystems, some approaches have also run into resistance problems. Nearly a decade ago, researchers found armyworm resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)-incorporated genetically engineered (GE) maize in the southeastern region of the U.S., calling this evolution of insect resistance to a naturally occurring soil bacterium engineered into crops “a serious threat to the sustainability of this technology.” The general population knows to avoid eating raw eggs because the bacteria salmonella, […]

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30
Oct

Despite a Beetle’s History of Resistance to Insecticides, EPA Is Pushing Genetically Engineered Pesticide

(Beyond Pesticides, October 30, 2023) TAKE ACTION. It is said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. And so it goes with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to register a new genetically engineered pesticide for the Colorado Potato Beetle (CPB); this time with a pesticide that has not been fully evaluated for its adverse effects to people and the environment. [Submit a public comment before comment period ends today, October 30, 2023.] Chemical-intensive agriculture has failed to control CPB since resistance to DDT was identified in 1952 and has continued with every family of pesticides since then. CPB has been dubbed the billion-dollar-bug because of the investment in failed attempts of chemical manufacturers to control the insect, the profits generated by chemical companies despite this failure, and the resulting losses for chemical-intensive farmers—not to mention government expenditures for the registration of chemicals that have short efficacy, pollution costs associated with chemical production and use, and lost ecosystem services. But, EPA is at it again, registering a new novel pesticide active ingredient, Ledprona, which raises the stakes on potential harm. The only winners in this ongoing failure […]

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17
Oct

Paris’s Worrying Bed Bug Surge Linked to Insecticide-Resistance

(Beyond Pesticides, October 17, 2023) In the past month, Paris, France has witnessed a surge in bed bug populations. From public transportation to hotels, hostels, and movie theatres, bed bugs are posing a threat to the city’s two million residents and potentially a broader global population as the infestation spreads.   This resurgence of bed bugs in Paris is not unique. For centuries, these pests have been both adaptable and persistent, presenting an enduring challenge to pest control. However, the current surge in bed bug infestations is not merely a revival of a longstanding problem; it is a complex issue intertwined with the development of resistance to insecticides, mainly through a mechanism known as knockdown resistance. This mechanism, along with three other main resistance mechanisms, has enabled these insects to defy chemical-intensive control methods  Knockdown resistance is a significant factor contributing to the resistance exhibited by bed bugs to insecticides, especially pyrethroids. The mechanism plays a central role in countering the action of these insecticides, which target the nervous system of bed bugs, causing paralysis and eventual death. Knockdown resistance provides the genetic adaptation that provides bed bug populations with resistance to insecticides. It inhibits the effectiveness of certain insecticides. Bed […]

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10
Oct

Insecticide-Resistant Mosquito Sets Africa’s Malaria Fight Back to Square One

(Beyond Pesticides, October 10, 2023) In recent years, the effects of climate change have become more frequent and more severe, from extreme weather events to rising sea levels. But perhaps one of the most insidious consequences of a warming planet is the way it influences the spread of diseases, often hitting marginalized communities the hardest. This is no more evident than in the case of malaria, where the disease transmission through the Anopheles stephensi mosquito serves as a dire warning of the challenges caused by a changing climate. As this deadly vector of disease expands its territory, it is clear that pesticide-intensive approaches are poorly equipped to cope with the threat as insect resistance to chemical controls steadily grows.  Native to South Asia, the Anopheles stephensi mosquito has been on a relentless journey, crossing continents from the Arabian Peninsula to East Africa and deeper into the African continent. The mosquito’s ability to quickly adapt to new environments, bolstered by shifting climate patterns, illustrates how global warming affects disease vectors. Matthew Thomas, PhD, emphasizes, “Anopheles stephensi has higher thermal tolerance and a capacity to transmit at higher temperatures than Anopheles gambiae [another malaria-spreading mosquito]. This is significant when considering climate change […]

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05
Oct

Pittsburgh-Area Pesticide Poisoning: InTown Suites Residents Return After Rat Poison Incident

(Beyond Pesticides, October 5, 2023)  Residents of a Pittsburgh, PA-area extended-stay hotel were evacuated due to a contamination and poisoning incident caused by rat poison. The chemical involved in the incident has not yet been revealed, but officials say the rat poison, when exposed to water, releases the highly toxic phosphine gas. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the gas is known to cause a range of symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, thirst, muscle pain, difficulty breathing, and the accumulation of fluid in the lungs. Higher exposures and prolonged exposure to phosphine can result in more severe health consequences. EPA has found that phosphine gas causes: Acute (short-term) inhalation exposure to phosphine may cause headaches, dizziness, fatigue, drowsiness, burning substernal pain, nausea, vomiting, cough, labored breathing, chest tightness, pulmonary irritation, pulmonary edema, and tremors in humans.  Convulsions may ensue after an apparent recovery.  Chronic (long-term) occupational exposure of workers to phosphine may cause inflammation of the nasal cavity and throat, weakness, dizziness, nausea, gastrointestinal, cardiorespiratory, and central nervous system symptomology, jaundice, liver effects, and increased bone density. Deputy Police Chief Brian Kohlhepp of Ross Township explained to multiple media outlets that the hotel used […]

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23
Aug

Serious Water Contamination from Pesticides Used on Pets, Ignored by Regulators, Again Confirmed

(Beyond Pesticides, August 23, 2023) The use of pesticides on pets for fleas and ticks (parasiticides) has been traced to environmental contamination in a study that confirms earlier work both by the authors and internationally, according to researchers Rosemary Perkins, a veterinary surgeon, and David Goulson, PhD at the University of Sussex. The results are published in their recent study, “To flea or not to flea: survey of UK companion animal ectoparasiticide usage and activities affecting pathways to the environment,” which concludes that, “[T]he potential cumulative impact of parasiticide emissions [into the environment] from many millions of pets treated multiple times each year is of serious concern.” The UK provides an opportunity to pinpoint water contamination from pet use for ectoparasites (e.g., fleas and ticks) of hazardous pesticides since, unlike in the U.S., the country has banned outdoor use of those chemicals commonly detected—the insecticides fipronil and imidacloprid (the same neonicotinoid bug killer tied to devastating losses of bees and other organisms). These findings confirm the historical peer reviewed scientific literature and defy the assumption of regulators that home or veterinary use of pesticides do not reach levels of concern for environmental contamination, either through exposure from down-the-drain (DTD) contamination […]

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07
Aug

Regulators Ignore Mosquito Resistance to Pesticides, Promoting Disease Transmission

(Beyond Pesticides, August 7, 2023) Why is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allowing the use of pesticides under the “unreasonable adverse effects” to health or the environment standard of the federal pesticide law (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act [FIFRA]) if the pesticides quickly lose their efficacy? Pest resistance to pesticides is a well-known biological mechanism that becomes problematic when farmers are faced with crop failure and economic loss. It becomes especially threatening when the goal is to manage insects that are a disease vector and when the regulatory process ignores nonchemical management strategies that are efficacious and sustainable. Tell EPA, Governors, and Congress that given the certainty of pesticide resistance, ecologically-based mosquito management must replace a reliance on pesticides. Insect resistance to insecticides has been an issue since the introduction of DDT in the 1940s. Although most countries currently ban DDT use, several currently used insecticides pose the same threat. In fact, resistance is predicted by elementary population genetics, and the speed of its evolution is directly related to the toxicity—that is, strength of selection pressure—and inversely related to the generation length of the organism. When that target organism of the pesticide is a disease vector, like West […]

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02
Aug

The Growing Insecticide Resistance Issue Increases Concerns Over Deadly Disease Transmission Through Mosquitos

(Beyond Pesticides, August 2, 2023) A study published in Pest Management Science finds resistance to insecticides like pyrethroids are challenging attempts to control the mosquito Aedes aegypti (Ae. aegypti), the primary transmitter (vector) of dengue fever. While this study takes place in Bangladesh, resistance to biocides—whether to antibiotics, antimicrobials, or pesticides—is growing globally. Prevention of disease outbreaks is threatened by reliance on chemical biocides to which pathogens and their vectors develop resistance. In fact, resistance is predicted by elementary population genetics, and the speed of its evolution is directly related to the toxicity—that is, the strength of selection pressure—and inversely related to the generation length of the organism. (See PAY articles here and here, a PBS article here.) Insecticide resistance has been an issue since the introduction of DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) in the 1940s. Although most countries currently ban DDT use, the compound is not the only chemical pesticide promoting pest resistance. Several current-use insecticides pose the same threat. Areawide, indiscriminate spraying of insecticides is causing resistance to develop among many pests. Mosquitoes have become increasingly resistant to synthetic pyrethroids, in addition to other classes of insecticides, such as carbamates and organophosphates. Thus, this study demonstrates the need for sustainable and practical strategies […]

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01
Aug

EPA Releases Ten Years of Data on How Pesticides Impact Humans, Pets, Wildlife, and More

(Beyond Pesticides, August 1, 2023) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it is publishing a decade’s worth of pesticide incident data in a searchable database that will be updated on a monthly basis. The Incident Data System (IDS), with poisoning reports generated mostly from chemical manufacturers, states, a national hotline, and poison control centers, offers information on reported pesticide exposures from accidental poisoning of pets, wildlife, and humans, to pesticide drift, noncompliance, and other pesticide incidents that may be associated with product uses in compliance with label instructions. Tracking this incident data is essential to understanding the risks and damages associated with pesticide use.   The bulk of the data on incidents is from consumer reports to chemical manufacturers. Chemical companies are required under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), Section 6(a)(2) to report incidents: “If at any time after the registration of a pesticide the registrant has additional factual information regarding unreasonable adverse effects on the environment of the pesticide, the registrant shall submit such information to the Administrator.” The determine of threshold number of incidents required to be reported as a pattern of “unreasonable adverse effects” is left to the manufacturers to determine. Through […]

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14
Jul

Soil Amended with Insect Exoskeleton Is Effective Alternative to Harmful Chemical Fertilizers

(Beyond Pesticides, June 14, 2023) The exoskeleton of the black soldier fly (BSF; Hermetica illucens) has the potential to be an effective organic fertilizer. A study in the journal Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment highlights the positive impacts on plant size, flower count, seed production, appeal to pollinators, and resilience to herbivory that the fly’s molted exoskeleton (or exuviae) can have when used as a soil supplement. The use of insect exuviae as an organic alternative to harmful synthetic fertilizers is an important step toward an environment free from chemical contaminants, and BSF are uniquely equipped to contribute to a regenerative organic agricultural system. The study set out to determine the impacts of BSF exuviae on plant growth, resilience to herbivory, and pollination. The scientists divided black mustard plants into four different treatment groups: 1) grown in soil amended with BSF powdered exuviae; 2) control group planted in chemically-treated (conventional) soil; 3) grown in amended soil and subjected to increased herbivory from caterpillars (Pieris brassicae) and aphids (Brevicoryne brassicae); and 4) planted in conventional soil and subjected to increased pest exposure. Scientists measured plant growth, flowering status, seed production, herbivore abundance, and pollinator activity. After three weeks, the supplemented soil grew […]

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12
Jul

Cultivating with Natural Predators Gets Farmers Off the Pesticide Treadmill, According to Study

(Beyond Pesticides, July 12, 2023) A study by University of Delaware entomologist Thabu Mugala and colleagues finds that modifications to their farming methods can reduce slug damage when those changes also encourage natural slug predators, allowing farmers to avoid the endless cycle of pesticide dependency, pest resistance, genetically engineered crops, and synthetic fertilizers. With insects as the target for tens of millions of pounds of agricultural use, growers of the highest-production crops in the U.S., corn and soybeans, continue to find slugs to be a serious problem. Corn and soybean growers who have adopted no-till or conservation tillage and cover crops often think these practices worsen the problem by increasing moisture and decaying plant material in fields, which slugs love. But the cause-and-effect picture is more nuanced and requires strategies that nurture ecological balance. Slugs are the most damaging non-arthropod pest in no-till corn production in the U.S., and truly effective chemical deterrents do not exist at agricultural scale, as Beyond Pesticides noted here, although biological methods may be on the horizon, such as a parasitic nematode already used in Europe that shows promise. The most voracious natural slug hunters are ground beetles, but harvestmen (daddy longlegs), and wolf spiders […]

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03
Jul

Take Action: The Protection of Birds Linked to Mosquito Management

(Beyond Pesticides, July 3, 2023) Mosquito season is upon us, and to many that means spraying pesticides to kill them. But not only is spraying flying mosquitoes the most ineffective way to prevent mosquito problems, it is also counterproductive because it eliminates some of our most attractive and helpful allies—birds. Tell EPA to eliminate pesticides that threaten birds or their insect food supply. Tell the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Department of Interior to protect birds by eliminating the use of pesticides that threaten them. Tell Congress that EPA and other agencies need to do their job and protect birds and other mosquito predators. While the appetite of purple martins for mosquitoes is well known, most songbirds eat insects at some stage of their life. Many birds who eat seeds or nectar feed insects to their young, including flying insects that may be bothersome–like mosquitoes or flies. Altogether, birds consume as many as 20 quadrillion individual insects, totaling 400-500 million metric tons, per year. Mosquito-eating birds include many well-known residents of our communities. They include, for example, wood ducks, phoebes and other flycatchers, bluebirds, cardinals, downy woodpeckers, swallows, swifts, robins, orioles, wrens, great tits, warblers, nuthatches, hummingbirds, red-winged blackbirds, […]

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13
Jun

Study Provides Insight into Why Mosquitoes Target Certain People Over Others

(Beyond Pesticides, June 13, 2023) The specific compounds that comprise one’s scent influence how attractive one is to mosquitoes finds research published in the journal Current Biology by scientists at Johns Hopkins University. Although the findings focus solely on a species of malaria mosquito primarily distributed throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, the results could provide insight into broader concerns over mosquito disease transmission and public health. As it currently stands, personal protective measures and the use of least-toxic repellents are the best methods to address most mosquito problems in the United States. Scientists utilized a mixture and semi-field trials to understand first how mosquitoes became attracted to human hosts. For the field trial, a large facility the size of a college lecture hall was utilized to mimic the sort of open space mosquitoes have available to them in the wild. Eight landing boards were placed in a ring and either heated to human temperature, “baited” with carbon dioxide, or both. Researchers then released 200 mated female mosquitoes that had been starved of food. Scientists tracked the mosquitoes through infrared cameras to determine their trajectory. Only when both heat and carbon dioxide were present did scientists witness high levels of landings on the […]

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06
Jun

Hawaii Officials Prepare to Release Wasp as Biocontrol to Protect Coffee Crops

(Beyond Pesticides, June 6, 2023) Government agencies in Hawaii are making preparations to release a small parasitoid in an attempt to control infestations of coffee berry borer (CBB) in the state, according to a release published by the University of Hawaii.  “This biological control agent has the potential to make significant positive economic impacts in the Hawaiʻi coffee industry, and offers an environmentally safe way to manage CBB,” says Mark Wright, PhD, professor at UH. “The Hawaiʻi coffee industry is economically and culturally significant, and we hope that this work will improve the lives of many people associated with the industry.” The planned release comes at a time of increasing interest in nontoxic biological pest management as a means of reducing the harmful effects of industrially produced pesticides. As early as fall 2023, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Research Service (USDA ARS) and UH’s Department of Plant and Environmental Protection Services plan to release thousands of parasitic wasps throughout coffee growing areas in Maui, O’ahu and the Big Island. The parasitoid in question is Phymastichus coffea, a wasp that lays its eggs in the abdomen of coffee berry borers. According to researchers, the wasp becomes attracted to the coffee […]

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24
May

Scientists Develop Nontoxic Method To Deter Rodents from Eating Planted Seeds in Crop Production

(Beyond Pesticides, May 23, 2023) Scientists have developed a nontoxic method to deter rodents from feeding on freshly planted seeds, publishing the approach in the journal Nature Sustainability this month. The new tactic, which confuses mice through olfactory misinformation, has the potential to significantly reduce the use of hazardous rodenticides in farming operations. The approach comes at a time of increased scrutiny around rat poisons, specifically second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs), which can result in the secondary poisoning of predators that eat poisoned rodents. Researchers set out with the intent of finding a safe alternative to rodenticides that can effectively reduce pest damage without the need for hazardous interventions. “A simpler approach to pest damage is to manipulate decisions making by problem animals and disrupt their ability to find at-risk foods,” the study indicates. Contrary to the promises of the pesticide industry that its products are ‘silver bullets’ for pest management, the authors propose weaponizing misinformation over brute force by fooling mice into thinking their sought-out food source is not there. Mice and other rodent foragers most often rely on scent and odor to determine where food is located. In the context of this study, farmers plant wheat seeds along rows, […]

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17
May

Efficacy and Health Issues Stop Release of Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes in California; Florida Continues

(Beyond Pesticides, May 17 2023) British biotechnology company Oxitec is withdrawing its application to release billions of genetically engineered mosquitoes in California, according to a recent update from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. The withdrawal is a victory for environmental and health campaigners concerned about the release of a novel mosquito that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had previously authorized under an “experimental use” permit. “Genetically engineered mosquitoes are an environmental justice issue for Tulare County residents who should not be human experiments,” said Angel Garcia, codirector of the statewide coalition Californians for Pesticide Reform and Tulare County resident in a press release. “We are already impacted by some of the worst pollution problems in the state and deserve prior informed consent to being part of an open-air biopesticide experiment. Ahead of any future proposal for genetically engineered insects, DPR needs to have robust regulations in place that protect community members, and meaningful, inclusive public participation in any decision making.”     Oxitec began releasing its GE mosquitoes over a decade ago, first introducing the insects in the Brazilian town of Itaberaba. The company has made efforts to launch its mosquitoes in the United States, likely as a way […]

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24
Jan

Legal Case Opens To Stop Antibiotics in Citrus and Advance Organic, Given Resistant Bacteria Crisis

(Beyond Pesticides, January 24, 2023) Oral arguments begin this week in a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval of the antibiotic streptomycin as a pesticide on citrus crops. Brought forth by a coalition of farmworker, health, and environmental groups, the lawsuit aims to stop the use of a critical medical treatment for agricultural purposes. “Humanity’s dwindling supply of medically effective antibiotics is not worth sacrificing for an industry that has safer alternatives available,” said Drew Toher, community resource and policy director at Beyond Pesticides. “Despite the challenges, we know from the elimination of this material in organic production that we don’t need antibiotics in order to produce a glass of orange juice.”  In 2020, the Lancet published an article that identifies several of the multiple and interacting crises the U.S. and world face, with a focus on another “looming potential pandemic . . . [a] rise in multidrug-resistant bacterial infections that are undetected, undiagnosed, and increasingly untreatable, [whose rise] threatens the health of people in the USA and globally.” It calls on leaders in the U.S. and beyond, asking that even as they address the current coronavirus pandemic, they also attend to the antimicrobial resistance (AMR) problem, […]

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05
Jan

Insecticidal Bed Nets Contribute to Resistance in Bed Bug Populations

(Beyond Pesticides, January 5, 2022) The use of insecticidal bed nets (IBNs) to prevent mosquito bites in malaria-endemic communities can result in resistance developing in secondary pests like bed bugs, according to research published in Parasites and Vectors. Decreased efficacy against bed bugs and other non-mosquito pests may result in misuse of both mosquito adulticides and bed nets, hampering efforts to stop the spread of malaria and other insect-borne disease. With resistance following a predicable pattern in both disease-transmitting and secondary pests, there is a critical need to embrace safer, nonchemical solutions, including both ecological and structural approaches to pest management. Researchers investigated the efficacy of untreated bed nets along with those treated with the commonly used synthetic pyrethroids deltamethrin and permethrin against both a population of insecticide-susceptible and pyrethroid resistant bed bugs. Insecticidal netting was secured between two glass jars in both an aggregation and blood meal experiment. For the aggregation experiment, fully fed bed bugs were set up to cross through the bed net to reach a darker resting location. With the blood meal experiment, unfed bed bugs were set up to cross the netting to receive a blood meal. Both experiments show the bed nets carrying little […]

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05
Oct

Exposure to Widely Used Bug Sprays Linked to Rheumatoid Arthritis

(Beyond Pesticides, October 5, 2022) Exposure to widely used synthetic pyrethroids, present in many mosquito adulticides and household insecticides like RAID, is associated with a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, according to research published in Environmental Science and Pollution Research. This is the latest pesticide-induced disease associated with this dangerous class of chemicals – a harm to individual Americans that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not considering when it registers pesticides. To remedy the major deficiencies in EPA’s reviews, and protect residents from chronic disease, more and more communities are transitioning to safer, organic pest management practices that do not require pyrethroids and other toxic synthetic pesticides. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes systemic inflammation throughout the body, resulting in progressive damage to an individual’s joints. In the United States, roughly 1.3 million adults suffer from RA, accounting for nearly 1% of the adult population. Health care costs associated with the disease reach nearly $20 billion annually. To better understand the etiology behind the disease, an international team of researchers from China, Illinois, and Missouri analyzed data from the 2007-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a long-running program that began in the early 1960s […]

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29
Jun

Researchers Find Effective Biological Control for Non-Native Fire Ants

(Beyond Pesticides, June 29, 2022) A virus present in low levels in the United States is effective at managing populations of non-native fire ants, according to research. Although only focused on one particular fire ant, Solenopsis invicta (the red imported fire ant), the study published in the Journal of Invertebrate Pathology shows promise for gardeners, land managers, and the public looking to manage fire ants without the use of hazardous chemical insecticides. As climate change and global trade facilitate the spread of dangerous non-native species, there is a strong need for new and cutting edge approaches that target these pests without significant harm to public health or the surrounding environment. Prior testing by scientists involved in the current study had indicated that Solenopsis invicta virus 3 (SINV3), found sparsely throughout the U.S., was able to successfully infect and kill imported red fire ants in a laboratory setting. Scientists find that the virus modifies the behavior of worker ants, impeding their ability to either acquire or distribute food to larval ants. Worker neglect caused by the virus results in high larval mortality and degraded queen health, eventually leading to colony failure. Based on the promising laboratory data, scientists initiated a field […]

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01
Jun

Cockroaches Show Increasing Resistance to Sugar-Laden Baits

(Beyond Pesticides, June 1, 2022) A new evolutionary strategy spreading among German cockroaches is making them more difficult to kill than ever before. In a recent publication in Nature Communications Biology, scientists determined that cockroaches are developing an aversion to sugar baits containing glucose, with impacts that are changing their behavior and altering their mating rituals. “We are constantly in an evolutionary battle with cockroaches,” said study co-author Coby Schal, PhD, of North Carolina State University. “Evolution can be sped up tremendously in the urban, human environment because the selection force imposed on insects, especially inside homes, is so intense.” At issue with German cockroaches is a trade-off between natural and sexual selection. Natural selection or, in this case, human-induced natural selection, has led cockroach females to become averse to baits containing glucose sugars. While many are now familiar with the fact that the vast majority of German cockroaches are resistant to nearly every synthetic pesticide, with some resistant to upwards of 10x the label application rate, less reported is the pests’ growing resistance to sugar-laced baits. Sugar-containing baits have been employed for decades and, over time, cockroaches that are able to survive in locations where sugar baits were employed […]

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26
Apr

CDC Study: Pesticide Use Does Not Reduce Risk of Lyme, Other Tick-Borne Disease

(Beyond Pesticides, April 26, 2022) Using pesticides to reduce the number of ticks in residential areas does not translate to lower rates of tick-borne disease in humans. This finding is the culmination of research overseen by scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which have been studying the effectiveness of pesticides to manage tick bites and tick borne-diseases for over a decade. While earlier research focused on direct pesticide applications to individual household lawns, the most recent publication, under early release in the Journal of Emerging Infectious Diseases, represented a broader, neighborhood-wide implementation of control measures. Yet in both instances, pesticide use did not play a role in reducing tick-borne disease. The studies are a stark warning for states and communities considering vector disease spray campaign for ticks in a similar manner to mosquito spraying. “The bottom line is that toxic pesticide use is not the answer to tick bites or tick-borne disease,” said Beyond Pesticides executive director Jay Feldman. “To manage ticks, we must embrace ecological solutions that work with natural processes and education campaigns emphasizing personal protection.” Researchers set out to test two methods of broad area tick control in 24 residential neighborhoods in […]

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01
Apr

Coverup of Dog Deaths at EPA, According to Internal Emails on Seresto Flea and Tick Collars

(Beyond Pesticides, April 1, 2022) According to reporting by E&E’s Greenwire, internal emails at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) show that career scientists at the agency expressed worry about pesticide-laced pet collars, such as the notorious Seresto flea and tick collars, but that EPA managers “instructed them to avoid documenting those worries in publicly accessible records.” The emails were released pursuant to a 2021 FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) lawsuit, brought by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), that sought records of internal communications. The documents evidence staff concern about the collars that has not been a part of EPA’s public communications on the subject. EPA staff, in the emails, expressed a range of degrees of outrage at managers’ behavior and at the very registration of the product, given the significant harms. Seresto collars are plastic pet collars embedded with pesticides designed to kill fleas, ticks, and lice; they contain the active ingredients flumethrin and imidacloprid. Flumethrin, a chemical in the pyrethroid class of synthetic neurotoxic insecticides, has been linked repeatedly to neurological issues, such as seizures and learning disabilities in children, to gastrointestinal distress, and to damage to nontarget invertebrates, according to EPA’s own analysis. Imidacloprid is a commonly used pesticide linked to […]

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