The weather is finally warm (almost hot) and the planters are rolling full speed across central Illinois. Gardens are being planted as well. Planting preparation in farm fields often includes the use of herbicides to kill off any unwanted weeds that have set up residence this spring. Invasive species and other miscellaneous weeds in non-crop areas are being sprayed as well. 'Tis the season for much growth, and much death of plants. We humans are kind of funny like that.
Speaking of death, the curled, yellowed, and necrotic spotted leaves have started to arrive at the U of I Plant Clinic. Puzzle pieces then have to be put together by me and other diagnosticians to determine if nearby pesticide (often herbicide) applications are possibly to blame for the injured plants that are dead, yellowed, curled, etc. Of course environmental conditions, diseases, and insect problems can mimic these symptoms which makes a proper diagnosis especially challenging.
Couple this with all the different herbicides and various plants we have gracing our Illinois landscape and things can get complicated quickly. Then factor in the unknowns such as not knowing when a neighbor sprayed, what they sprayed or even if they sprayed.
The process has been likened by us as being "CSI for Plants". We are easily entertained you think, but at least we are enthusiastic about what we do. "CSI – Urbana". I like that.
Prevention of this unwanted pesticide injury to your plants is certainly important. It makes things the easiest for all involved. The reality is that pesticide applications are going to happen across Illinois this summer. Producers, landscapers, and others have crops, lawns, and other investments to protect from weeds, insects, and diseases.
If you are a homeowner or perhaps a grower of a sensitive crop, I STRONGLY encourage you to build good relations with your neighbors and ask them for advance notice when they spray. By law and depending on the type of application, they may not be required to give you notice. But, most are willing to provide this information if asked.
If you are concerned about the health of your plants or maybe that of your family, share your concerns. If you know "what" will be sprayed "when," you can plan accordingly by covering your garden with old blankets, making sure the windows are shut, or keeping the kids out of the yard during that time.
I'm not saying drift is permissible. Most applicators will do everything possible to prevent off target movement of pesticides. However, wind gusts and sudden changes in wind direction can occur. Talking with your neighbors is the FIRST step towards preventing drift.
I would discourage you from automatically filing a complaint with the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDA) when you see the sprayer nearby. Not surprisingly, that is bad for good neighbor relations! You will have your neighbor's attention, but is that the type of attention you are looking for?
Growers don't want their pesticide products to land on your plants any more than you do. With good neighborly communications, not only can herbicide injury be prevented but long, drawn out court cases can also be avoided.
Applicators, please do everything in your power to keep your applications on target. I know that most of you do. And I shouldn't have to tell you this but if you have a homeowner at the application site asking you to stop your application because it's too windy, please take their request seriously.
Yes, the work has to get done but perhaps there is a better time for it. Respect each other. Ignoring requests only escalates emotions. I have children. Trust me. I see this all the time and was reminded of it yet again today with a possible drift case with poor communication.
A helpful publication on this topic is "Reducing Pesticide Drift: Specialty Crops and Conventional Crops as Good Neighbors". It can be viewed at: https://my-s.extension.uiuc.edu/documents/960111006110611/reducingdrift.pdf.
Also available is an online training module that includes information and helpful tips on preventing and dealing with the off-target movement of herbicide applications. "Herbicide Tolerant Crop Stewardship" is available for free at:
Additionally, if you have a particularly sensitive crop or area that must be protected from pesticide drift, let neighboring applicators know about it. Commercial crop producers can register their sites at http://Driftwatch.org (part of FieldWatch, Inc.), which is an online registry designed to help pesticide applicators, specialty crop growers, and stewards of at-risk habitats communicate more effectively to protect pesticide-sensitive areas. Sensitive crop areas registered on this site include beehives, certified organic crops, fruits, grapes, nursery crops, pumpkins, melons, tomatoes, and vegetables.
What to do if you suspect spray drift
Once again, neighborly discussions are important. Perhaps the two of you can meet to talk about the injury symptoms being shown and what possible causes there are. Consider when the symptoms first appeared and when the application was made.
What pesticide was applied? Is there a pattern to the injury? Are many species showing symptoms or is it only one plant in a row of similar plants? What have the weather conditions been and what were they like at the time of application? Is the applicator willing to pay for damages or replace dead plants? It is often faster, easier, and cheaper to settle these disputes without legal involvement.
Compare what you are seeing to other plants. What does herbicide injury look like on landscape plants? Check out some pictures at http://urbanext.illinois.edu/hortanswers/ . Search by problem and then type in "herbicide". The pictures were the result of some U of I demonstration plots.
You can send affected plant samples to the University of Illinois Plant Clinic. For information on how to do so, go to http://web.extension.illinois.edu/plantclinic/. Be sure to include as much relevant information as possible. Keep in mind that the Plant Clinic does not perform pesticide residue tests, and without such tests, the cause of a symptom cannot be attributed to pesticide drift with 100% certainty. However, it is possible for Clinic staff and specialists to rule out other possible causes and establish whether the likely cause is drift.
If you choose to file a complaint with IDA, time is of the essence. The pesticide drift complaint process is started by calling IDA's Bureau of Environmental Programs at 1-800-641-3934 (voice and TDD) or 217-785-2427 for a complaint form.
Complaint forms must be received by IDA within 30 days of the incident or within 30 days of when the damage was first noticed. Complaints filed after that will be kept on record, but no administrative action can be taken.
The complaint process
Once a complaint is filed with the department, a field inspector is assigned the case. In most cases, the inspector will interview the complainant and inspect the site. Various types of samples, such as plants, water, or soil, may be collected for analysis at an approved laboratory.
The inspector may also interview applicators in the area, examine pesticide records and collect weather data in an attempt to determine the nature and cause of the damage. The field investigator will then submit a report to the Department for review.
Both parties will receive written notification if the Department finds a violation and takes an enforcement action. Penalties range from advisory or warning letters to monetary penalties of $750 to $10,000, depending on the type and severity of the violation. Penalties are determined through a point system defined in the Illinois Pesticide Act.
Even if a violation of the Illinois Pesticide Act cannot be substantiated, both the complainant and the alleged violator will be notified in writing of the complaint's status. Remember, the Department's role in pesticide misuse incidents is limited to determining whether a violation has occurred. IDA cannot help complainants recover damages.
Will affected plants die?
That is the million dollar question and the answer is that it depends. The degree to which the plant is affected depends on several factors: the type and amount of chemical applied, the time of year, the growth stage of the plant, overall health of the plant, etc .
The healthier the plant is (adequate moisture and light) the more likely it is to survive. Although adding fertilizer is typically helpful to a stressed plant, fertilizer can also stimulate growth, which can further increase the appearance of abnormal growth caused by certain herbicides.
For more drift resources, check out the University of Illinois Pesticide Safety Education website at: http://www.pesticidesafety.illinois.edu.
Pictures (taken 5/18/16 ) are of herbicide (fomesafen, metolachlor, and glyphosate) drift injury on pepper, grape, viburnum, and apple. Similar symptoms were found on a variety of plants along the southeastern corner of a property that borders a soybean field.
Michelle Wiesbrook (mailto:email@example.com)
The Illinois Department of Agriculture has announced dates for 2016 Agricultural Container Recycling Program. Dates and locations will soon be posted on the Illinois Department of Agriculture website http://www.agr.state.il.us/agrichemical-container-recycling-program/. Until then, information is available via their news release https://www.agr.state.il.us/agr-to-offer-free-recycling-program-for-agrichemical-containers-2016/.
This program allows agriculture producers such as farmers and commercial applicators a method of disposing of unwanted containers at no charge without resorting to burying in a landfill or other potentially illegal means. The 2016 recycling dates will run from July 26, 2016 through August 26, 2016 in 31 Illinois counties. Please refer to the above website for specific locations, dates, and times.
The program is sponsored by the Illinois Department of Agriculture in conjunction with the Agriculture Container Recycling Council, GROWMARK, Inc., the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association, Container Services Network, the Farm Bureau, and the U of I Extension Service.
Only containers made from high density polyethylene (HDPE) #2 plastic are acceptable for recycling. Containers must be triple-rinsed or pressure-rinsed and dry. Metal containers, household pesticide containers, and containers with liquid in them will not be accepted.
Year-round disposal is also available at three permanent collection sites in Green, Lawrence, and McLean counties. Please call to ensure the facility will be open.
For more information, view the IL Department of Agriculture's news release at https://www.agr.state.il.us/agr-to-offer-free-recycling-program-for-agrichemical-containers-2016/, or call the Illinois Department of Agriculture at 1-800-641-3934 (voice and TDD).
Travis Cleveland (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org)
Program will safely dispose of unwanted agricultural pesticides
Residents of twelve central Illinois counties can dispose of unwanted agrichemicals for free this year through the Illinois Department of Agriculture's (IDOA) agricultural pesticide "Clean Sweep" program.
A "Clean Sweep" collection has been scheduled in late summer for Clark, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Effingham, Jasper, Lawrence, Moultrie, Richland, and Shelby counties, the Department announced recently.
The collection, which rotates among Illinois counties, is open to farmers, retired farmers, nursery owners, private pesticide applicators, structural pest control applicators, and landowners who inherited unwanted agricultural pesticides with their property.
"There are two main reasons to take advantage of this program," said John Teefey, Bureau Chief of Environmental Programs. "The Department is able to provide the service free of charge thanks to a grant obtained from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
"If individuals were to properly dispose of agrichemicals on their own, the cost would be expensive. Secondly, the state of Illinois, not the program participant, will assume liability for the proper disposal of all materials collected."
Participants must register the products they plan to dispose of by July 15. Registration is required to give the waste disposal contractor time to prepare for the different kinds of materials that will need to be handled. Forms can be obtained either by calling the Illinois Department of Agriculture's Pesticide Hotline at 1-800-641-3934 or by visiting one of the program sponsors listed on the IDOA website at:
Completed forms should be mailed or faxed to the Illinois Department of Agriculture. The mailing address is: Clean Sweep Program, Illinois Department of Agriculture, State Fairgrounds, P.O. Box 19281, Springfield, IL, 62794-9281. The fax number is (217) 524-4882. Participants then will be sent a reservation card indicating the date, time and location of their collection.
The "Clean Sweep" program began in 1990 in Illinois. Since the inception of the program, the Department has held 45 collection events through the state and collected 525,311 pounds of material from 1,893 participants.
Travis Cleveland (mailto:email@example.com)
Source: Press release from the Illinois Department of Agriculture, https://www.agr.state.il.us/idoa-schedules-clean-sweep-collection-in-central-il-2016/
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued an updated schedule for the Pesticide Registration Review program, covering planned reviews through 2017. Through the Pesticide Registration Review program, EPA reviews all registered pesticides at least every 15 years, as mandated by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. The updated schedule gives a timetable for opening dockets for the next three years – from now through the end of fiscal year 2017 (September 2017).
The schedule reflects the Agency's plan that by October 1, 2022, all pesticides that were registered as of October 1, 2007, will have been reviewed, marking the end of the first 15-year cycle. With the exception of a small number of biopesticides, the docket openings being announced in this notice represent the last group to begin the process.
With these, all pesticides registered as of October 1, 2007, will have entered the registration review process. The updated schedule for pesticide registration review is available at https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-reevaluation/registration-review-docket-opening-schedule.
EPA has recently released several draft insecticide risk assessments for public comment. FIFRA mandates that all pesticides be re-evaluated on a 15-year cycle. The draft human health and ecological risk assessments are available for 60 days for public comment.
Aldicarb is an insecticide with no residential uses. It is a highly toxic, water soluble insecticide that used to be commonly used by the greenhouse and vegetable industry. Several years ago, its uses were reduced because of movement in water and toxicity to where it is no longer commonly used in the Midwest. The draft risk assessment shows risks through the diet as well as to agricultural workers who mix and apply pesticides. There are also risks to birds, mammals, aquatic organisms and bees.
Aldicarb is systemic and can be available to bees in plants via pollen and nectar. Bee incidents have been reported. EPA plans to gather additional data on the toxicity of aldicarb to pollinators to fully characterize the risk to all developmental stages of honeybees. Aldicarb controls a broad spectrum of pests like thrips and nematodes and is valuable to growers.
EPA welcomes comments including detailed information regarding potential exposure to workers, the effects of aldicarb on honeybees, and usage data for sweet potatoes (e.g., pounds of active ingredient applied, total area treated, percent of crop treated).
Coumaphos is an organophosphate with no residential uses. It is primarily used to control lice, parasitic flies, mites, and ticks on domestic animals as well as flies in manure. The draft risk assessment for coumaphos shows risks through the diet and to agricultural workers. EPA plans to refine their estimates with additional information related to the use of coumaphos to treat cattle for ticks. EPA welcomes comments including additional measures to further protect workers and the benefits of and alternatives to coumaphos use on cattle and dairy cows.
EPA encourages stakeholders and interested members of the public to visit the dockets containing the draft risk assessments and related documents and submit comments by June 26, 2016. Proposed decisions will include any necessary mitigation measures to reduce exposure.
The draft risk assessment and other supporting documents are available in the docket at http://www.regulations.gov in each respective docket: aldicarb, EPA-HQ-OPP-2012-0161; coumaphos, EPA-HQ-OPP-2008-0023.
Three pesticides with draft risk assessments available for public comment are: Bensulide, EPA-HQ-OPP-2008-0022; Ethalfluralin, EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-0094; and Pirimiphos-Methyl, EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0056.
EPA has reevaluated the data supporting the use of sulfoxaflor and is now proposing to approve an amended registration with fewer uses and additional requirements that will protect bees.
The proposed registration is very protective of pollinators and includes fewer crops than were allowed under sulfoxaflor's previous registration. For bee-attractive crops, sulfoxaflor use will be prohibited before and during bloom, when bees are likely to be present. Applications are prohibited on crops grown for seed production.
Additional measures are being proposed to reduce spray drift: prohibiting applications if wind speeds are above 10 mph and requiring the use of medium to coarse spray nozzles. In addition, EPA is requesting public comment on two provisions they are considering.
One that would impose a downwind, 12-foot, on-field buffer zone when there is blooming vegetation bordering the treated field and the second would prohibit tank mixing sulfoxaflor with other pesticides. These restrictions are meant to further reduce exposure to bees, reducing the risk to bees below EPA's level of concern such that no additional data requirements are required.
Sulfoxaflor is a sulfoximine, a new insecticide class, and is safer for bees and other pollinators, lady beetle larvae and other beneficial insects. It is a critical tool in Pesticide Resistance Management and Integrated Pest Management programs, potentially replacing multiple applications of compounds with a higher risk to people and non-target organisms.
It specifically targets piercing, sucking insects, such as aphids, mealybugs and whiteflies – frequent vectors of viral and bacterial diseases that can result in complete loss of important, high-value crops and trees. Sulfoxaflor works against pests that are becoming resistant to carbamate, neonicotinoid, organophosphate and pyrethroid insecticides
EPA is soliciting public comment for 30 days. Comments on the EPA's proposed regulatory decision must be submitted no later than June 17, 2016. Comments may be submitted to the sulfoxaflor docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2010-0889 at http://www.regulations.gov. After the comment period closes, EPA will review all of the comments and reach a final decision, which the Agency expects to issue in late summer or early fall 2016.
EPA has announced the availability of the draft biological evaluations for the registration reviews of all uses of chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion for public review and comment. Comments must be received on or before June 10, 2016. Submit comments, identified by docket identification (ID) number EPA-HQ-OPP-2016-0167.
Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate insecticide, acaricide, and miticide used to control a variety of insects on a variety of food and feed crops. Currently registered uses include a variety of fruits, nuts, vegetables, grains, and non-agricultural areas (such golf course turf, industrial sites, greenhouses and nurseries, sod farms, and wood products). Public health uses include aerial and ground-based fogger treatments to control mosquitoes.
There are also residential uses of ant and roach bait products and fire ant mound treatments. EPA has completed a draft biological evaluation to assess whether all registered uses of chlorpyrifos may affect listed species and designated critical habitat. The chlorpyrifos draft biological evaluation is viewable at: https://www.epa.gov/endangered-species/biological-evaluation-chapters-chlorpyrifos.
Comments on the draft biological evaluation for chlorpyrifos should be submitted to the chlorpyrifos registration review docket (EPA-HQ-OPP-2008-0850) at http://www.regulations.gov.
Diazinon is a restricted use organophosphate insecticide currently registered for use on a number of fruits, vegetables, nuts, ornamentals, and in cattle ear tags. All residential uses were phased out as part of risk mitigation during reregistration, and there are currently no residential uses. EPA has completed a draft biological evaluation to assess whether all registered uses of diazinon may affect listed species and designated critical habitat.
The diazinon draft biological evaluation is viewable at: https://www.epa.gov/endangered-species/biological-evaluation-chapters-diazinon. Comments on the draft biological evaluation for diazinon should be submitted to the diazinon registration review docket (EPA-HQ-OPP-2008-0351) at http://www.regulations.gov.
Malathion is a non-systemic, wide spectrum organophosphate insecticide. It is used in the agricultural production of a wide variety of food/feed crops to control insects such as aphids, leafhoppers, and Japanese beetles. Malathion is also used in USDA's Cotton Boll Weevil Eradication Program, Fruit Fly (Medfly) Control Program, and for mosquito-borne disease control.
It is also registered for outdoor residential uses which include vegetable gardens, home orchards, and ornamentals. EPA has completed a draft biological evaluation to assess whether all registered uses of malathion may affect listed species and designated critical habitat.
The draft malathion biological evaluation is viewable at: https://www.epa.gov/endangered-species/biological-evaluation-chapters-malathion. Comments on the draft biological evaluation for malathion should be submitted to the malathion registration review docket (EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0317) at http://www.regulations.gov.EPA news releases slightly modified by Phil Nixon (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org)