The head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, signed an order last night denying the petition to ban chlorpyrifos (Lorsban). This decision will allow peanut growers in our area the continued use of this insecticide for the foreseeable future, perhaps until 2022 when the EPA is required to reevaluate safety of this product. The environmental group that filed the 2007 petition to ban chlorpyrifos has announced its plans to appeal the decision. More information can be found here – https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-administrator-pruitt-denies-petition-ban-widely-used-pesticide-0
Our recent warm weather has done more than wake up your plants – it has signaled to many insects that it is time to start feeding and reproducing. Prompted by a call from ANR agent Mike Parrish in Dinwiddie County, I spoke today with Kathy Flanders at University of Auburn about her recommendations to mitigate insect injury in store grain. Her #1 suggestion – turn on those fans! Your goal should be to keep the temperature inside your bin below 60 degrees. Make sure and leave equipment running long enough to cool the entire structure. If you are unable to keep temperatures below this threshold, or if our nights do not stay cool, make sure to take samples regularly to scout for insect injury. Consult this guide for management recommendations specific to the Southeast: http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/I/IPM-0330/IPM-0330.pdf.
The EPA is in the process of reviewing some of our older, broad-spectrum classes of insecticides. The comment period is now open for the preliminary ecological risk assessment of pyrethroids. I strongly support the need for continued availability of these materials because they are relatively safe for mammals and biodegradable. Importantly, pyrethroids are the only option for pest control of certain insect pests in some cropping systems. Entomologists, including myself, at universities throughout the Southeast have expressed their support for pyrethroids in a letter to the EPA. However, the EPA is really looking to hear from people that use these products responsibly. The below link provides a tool to make comments on EPA dockets without looking up each product individually. It also includes the type of information that is most helpful and a template to follow if so desired. Comments from our Virginia growers will be much appreciated!