Illinois Pesticide Review
July / August 2013
In This Issue
- U of I Honey Bee Expert on CCD
- Bumblebee Kill and Insecticide Restrictions in Oregon
- Help Your Doctor to Recognize Pesticide Poisonings
- Recent Court Decision Could Ultimately Affect Plant DNA Patents
- Agricultural Chemical Container Recycling Locations
- Heat Stress and Heat Stroke: Lesser Known Facts
- Basics in Applied Agronomy - CCA Short Course
U of I Honey Bee Expert on CCD
The mysterious syndrome that is killing off honey bees, called Colony Collapse Disorder, has recently gotten worse. Commercial beekeepers reported bigger losses of honey bee hives in 2012 than ever before. University of Illinois entomologist and Institute for Genomic Biology director Gene Robinson, an expert on honey bee behavior, genomics and biology, describes the advances scientists have made in understanding the causes of CCD. He spoke to News Bureau life sciences editor Diana Yates.
Is there an effort to get a geographic sense of which bees are most affected?
Surveys have been done that report on the severity of bee losses by location, by state. The U.S. Department of Agriculture generates maps of how big the losses have been in different parts of the country. There's no strong geographic pattern. This is because CCD losses occur in places where the most commercial beekeeping occurs and commercial beekeeping in general is on wheels – beehives are trucked throughout the country for pollination purposes.
There are several migratory routes that these hives follow. As many as two-thirds of the commercial honey bee colonies in America are moved to northern California for a period of two to three weeks just for almond pollination. CCD losses are greater in commercial beekeeping operations areas.
We've been observing declines for many years now. Are we any closer to understanding what's going on?
Yes, we are closer, but progress is slower than we'd like because multiple factors are contributing to CCD. Moreover, there is pretty good evidence that there are synergies between these factors. This explanation is reasonable, but it doesn't mean that solutions will come quickly. It's reasonable because we have a general intuition that many organisms in the environment are under increasing stress, that it's harder to make a living in the environment these days than in the past because of anthropogenic changes.
Whether one considers introduced pests or pathogens, degraded habitats or more extreme climate, it's just harder to thrive out there. And so the notion that we are putting species closer to a tipping point is easy to grasp. What this means is that when an already stressed beehive is exposed to yet another factor, the bottom falls out and we see CCD, a complete colony collapse.
What factors do scientists think contribute to CCD?
First of all the varroa mite, a parasite of honey bees, has been the real game changer. It is not the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder but it is a huge factor. It has weakened bees by the pathogens that it harbors that it passes along to the bees and perhaps also by damage that it does directly to the bees.
There are also nutritional stresses associated with migratory beekeeping. When you use bees for pollination your objective is to benefit the plants, not the bees. Sometimes for a major crop like almonds, which blooms early in the spring, the fate of the whole crop depends on whether the temperature gets above bee-flight weather for just a few hours during the two-week bloom period.
Sometimes it's gorgeous and sunny every single day, and then there are many more bees than needed. But sometimes it's touch-and-go for an entire bloom period, so farmers are willing to pay to ship in extra colonies as a kind of insurance, so that if there are a few windows of time of favorable weather, there will be enough bees to take care of the pollination, even in a very short time period.
The high density of bees is good for the plants and good for the farmers, but not good for the bees. The bees are often nutritionally stressed as a result of their pollination activities because their densities are too high. In addition, foraging in one homogenous agro-ecosystem for weeks at a time may not provide the optimal mix of nutrients for good bee health.
In addition to pathogens, parasites and poor nutrition, pesticides are also implicated. The newer pesticides are much safer for humans. They also are being applied in ways that make them safer to humans, but they also have negative effects on beneficial insects.
One topic that's just starting to be examined is the synergy between the sublethal effects of pesticides and the effects of a pathogen, or a parasite, or poor nutrition. The effect of pesticides on bee health is a controversial topic. Some studies show strong damage to bees, and others do not.
The situation right here in East Central Illinois illustrates this. Here, corn and soybean agriculture use one of the most controversial classes of insecticides, the neonicotinoids. But there are no problems in this area with Colony Collapse Disorder. We're ground zero for neonicotinoid use but we have no documented cases of Colony Collapse Disorder.
Is this for the migratory, commercial bees?
No, this area is not a big commercial beekeeping area; this is an area dominated by hobbyists, so that's a good point. There's no question that insecticides kill bees, but as to the question of whether they are involved in CCD, the jury is still out.
Would it be possible to enhance the overall health of the honey bees with more home-grown, localized bee operations that stay in place and therefore stress the bees less?
There is right now a renaissance in beekeeping; there are many new beekeepers, and many have been stimulated to get involved primarily by the crisis of CCD, coupled with increased interest in local food production. These two separate trends have combined to lead to a strong surge in interest in hobby beekeeping.
We have a number of new beekeepers here in this area, even some rooftop beekeepers in our urban areas, and many urban beekeepers in Chicago, New York City, San Francisco and so forth. But these are largely hobbyists or sideline beekeepers, as opposed to large commercial beekeepers. So while their local impact can be huge, they cannot affect large-scale agriculture.
In modern agriculture, huge numbers of plants come into bloom at the same time and they need to be pollinated at the same time. Only large-scale commercial beekeepers can provide the millions of bees needed to get the job done.
Is there any overlap between declines in honey bees and declines in wild bees?
Yes. Bumblebees, the next best studied bees after honey bees, have experienced serious population declines. There is a feeling that honey bees are like the canary in the coal mine – and we're all watching anxiously.
University of Illinois Press Release, 4/19/2013, submitted by Phil Nixon.
Bumblebee Kill and Insecticide Restrictions in Oregon
Bumblebee on thistle.
It is important when trying to control pests to be aware of the consequences of some of your actions. Perhaps the likeliest situation where unintended consequences can result is in insecticide and other pesticide applications.
This was brought to bear last month when The Oregonian newspaper reported a major bumblebee kill in an Oregon shopping center parking lot apparently from an illegally timed application of Safari (dinotefuran) to linden trees. There are estimates of 50,000 bumblebees, important pollinators, being killed due to the insecticide being applied during bloom time, which is specifically prohibited on the pesticide label. The news story is posted at http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/06/20/1217444/-Massive-bumblebee-kill-in-Oregon-pesticide-spray-suspected.
Another large kill of bumblebees occurred later at another location in Oregon with dinotefuran being involved.
A similar concern is the application of imidacloprid (Merit, Xytect, others) to control Japanese beetles and other insects on linden. In some plants, imidacloprid apparently does not enter the blossoms, but it does in many plants. It is known that it enters linden flowers, and this tree blooms during July when Japanese beetles are causing the most damage.
Linden is perhaps the most favored tree by Japanese beetles, commonly severely damaging the foliage on the upper one-third to one-half of even large trees. Even though imidacloprid remains in trees for slightly over one year after soil or trunk injection, higher levels of the insecticide are likely in the first few weeks after application, coinciding with Japanese beetle attack and flower production.
Research has been conducted in Indiana and other locations showing that clothianidin and thiamethoxam applied to corn and drifting to other plants have a deleterious effect on honey bees. Other research has linked imidacloprid to honey bee and bumblebee reductions. Dinotefuran, imidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam are all chemically related and are in the same insecticide class, the neonicotinoids. These insecticides are currently being heavily scrutinized with reductions in use likely to occur.
Dinotefuran has been previously looked at for links to long-term bee reduction and not been found to be a problem. Results on imidacloprid are mixed. Clothianidin and thiamethoxam have been shown to be of greatest concern. Regardless of these research results or perhaps in response to research of which I am not aware, the Oregon Department of Agriculture responded to this bumblebee kill by eliminating the use of dinotefuran on plants through December 24, 2013 (http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/PEST/Pages/Pollinator.aspx).
Help Your Doctor to Recognize Pesticide Poisonings
Pesticide poisoning can be easily confused with heat stroke and other illnesses. Here, the victim has been moved to fresh air and is having his collar loosened as part of the first aid procedure.
Pesticide poisoning symptoms often go unrecognized or misdiagnosed. Typically, the symptoms of pesticide poisoning are similar to those of other types of poisoning and other diseases.
Heat stress, food and alcohol poisoning, asthma, and other illnesses are sometimes confused with pesticide poisoning. Because of this, diagnosis can be challenging. The reality is that most doctors have never even seen a case of pesticide poisoning. Doctors may have been trained to recognize the symptoms of a pesticide poisoning, but class time devoted to the subject was likely limited given how uncommon they are, and how many other illnesses there are that also require training time.
A great resource exists for medical professionals and it's just been updated. The 2013 (6th) edition of, "Recognition and Management of Pesticide Poisonings" is now available. Call the National Service Center for Environmental Publications at 1-800-490-9198 and order publication EPA 735K13001. They're free! The 5th edition is available online at http://www.epa.gov/oppfead1/safety/healthcare/handbook/handbook.htm. It's also free. Of particular interest may be the Index of Signs and Symptoms.
Send your doctor an email today to tell him or her about this resource. Or better yet, surprise them with a book on your next visit.
Recent Court Decision Could Ultimately Affect Plant DNA Patents
In a case watched by many in the genetic technology industry, the US Supreme Court at the end of its term in June stated that naturally occurring genes could not be isolated and patented. As the Court declared, they are not a part of "human invention."
The case dealt with Myriad genetics and their patents on two genes that can be used as markers for breast cancer. The unanimous ruling stated that "Myriad did not create anything. To be sure, it found an important and useful gene, but separating that gene from its surrounding genetic material is not an act of invention." Justice Thomas, writing for the court, also stated that "groundbreaking, innovative, or even brilliant discovery does not by itself satisfy" the awarding of a patent.
There was a big "however" with the Court's decision.
The Court did state that companies are free to re-combine DNA into complementary DNA or cDNA, and apply for a patent on those. Companies are also free to patent the technology used to determine DNA sequences and the recombination. This is extremely important, especially when combining, deleting, or inserting DNA into different organisms via laboratory techniques.
While this case dealt with human DNA, scholars state that it isn't a stretch to apply the same reasoning to all DNA, including naturally occurring plant, insect, or other DNA.
This case has broad ramifications as the US Patent office has awarded thousands of patents on naturally occurring DNA, which would now seem to be all invalid, including those awarded to the bio-tech agricultural industry companies.
How this affects the agriculture and pesticide industry remains to be seen, as there has been more emphasis publicly on the human genome.
It should be noted that the Court's decision only affects the US Patent and Trademark Office and US-issued Patents.
Agricultural Chemical Container Recycling Locations
The Illinois Department of Agriculture has announced the 2013 Agricultural Container Recycling Schedule, which will run from July 31, 2013 through August 31, 2013 in more than 25 Illinois counties.
Empty plastic (#2) pesticide containers, triple-rinsed or pressure-rinsed and dry, can be dropped off for recycling at no charge to the producer. This program allows agriculture producers such as farmers and commercial applicators a method of disposing of unwanted containers without resorting to burying in a landfill or other potentially illegal means.
Metal and household pesticide containers are not accepted.
Besides these locations, the IL Department of Agriculture maintains four permanent collections sites in Green, McLean, Warren, and Lawrence counties for year-round disposal.
The table shows the listing for 2013. It wouldn't hurt to call ahead just to confirm the time and location.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture sponsors the program 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.
For more information, visit the IL Department of Agriculture's website at http://www.agr.state.il.us/Environment/recycle.html.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture's CleanSweep program hasn't been announced for 2013 as we go to press.
Heat Stress and Heat Stroke: Lesser Known Facts
According to the U.S. Army, people (including pesticide applicators) who work in warm environments inevitably will suffer heat stress, and heat casualties are a significant risk.
"Troops participating in military deployments often will encounter heatstress that requires management for successful mission accomplishment. Excessive heat stress will degrade mental and physical performance capabilities and eventually cause heat casualties."
Properly conditioned people can adjust to most any excessive heat.
"U.S. military operations were successfully conducted in extreme hot weather climates (for example, World War II Pacific and North African campaigns, Vietnam, and Operation Desert Storm in Southwest Asia) that required troops to perform strenuous exercise for long hours and push their physiologic limits. Humans (if heat acclimated, given adequate shade and water, and able to limit physical activity) can tolerate extended exposure to any naturally occurring climatic heat stress."
The exception is when you place additional burdens on the body, such as wearing protective clothing or working in confined and poorly ventilated areas.
However, military situations, such as working in engine or boiler rooms, operating certain combat vehicles, firefighting and wearing protective clothing in hot environments, can involve heat stress conditions so severe they cannot be tolerated for extended periods. In addition, mission requirements that demand intense physical activity can lead to dehydration and make successful heat stress management very difficult.
Most pesticide applicators are quite aware that they need to be properly hydrated, take appropriate work breaks and avoid intense physical activity in the heat of the day to avoid heat stroke (a life-threatening condition). But often they overlook the following facts that more than 70 years of Army research and experience have uncovered:
• Heat stress can reduce mental performance, which probably is mediated by thermal discomfort (from high skin temperature, high skin wetness and cardiovascular strain). However, a very incomplete database exists relating mental performance degradation to graded levels of heat stress and strain. Mental performance degrades the most in boring, monotonous and repetitive tasks. In addition, tasks that require attention to detail, concentration and short-term memory and are not self-paced may degrade from heat stress. Heat stress slows reaction time and decision times. Routine tasks are done more slowly. Errors of omission are more common. Vigilant task performance will degrade slightly after 30 minutes and markedly after two to three hours.
• Heat stress increases the sweating rate and therefore body water needs. If fluid is not fully replaced, then dehydration will occur. The myth that soldiers can be taught to adjust to decreased water intake has been proven wrong many times. Under easy workloads and modest heatstressing environments, a person will need to drink at least 0.5 quart per hour to avoid dehydration. Under intense workloads and extreme heat conditions, that number can climb to 1.5 quarts (this is considered not sustainable).
• Thirst is not an adequate indicator of water needs. Soldiers can monitor hydration status by noting the color and volume of their urine and their body weight. Dark, low-volume and infrequent urination indicates that fluid consumption should be increased. Likewise, frequent and large volumes of clear urine indicate that fluid replacement should be reduced. The relationship between urine color or specific gravity (an easily obtained measurement) and the magnitude of dehydration is not precise. Soldiers can monitor their body weight before and after exercise (or upon awakening) because most weight loss will be from water. One quart (32 ounces or 0.95 liter) of fluid equals about 2 pound (or 0.95 kilogram) of weight. Note that unclothed weight should be used to avoid the confounding effects of soaked clothing.
• Electrolyte (salts) replacement is essential. In addition to water, sodium, chloride and other electrolytes (potassium, calcium and magnesium) are lost in sweat. Sweat sodium concentrations can range from 10 to 70 millimoles per liter (mmoI/L) depending on diet, sweating rate and heat acclimatization status. Sports drinks are an effective source for electrolyte replacement during prolonged periods (greater than four hours) of profuse sweating in hot weather. Sports drinks should meet the following criteria: sodium, 15 to 30 mmol/L; potassium, 2 to 5 mmol/L; and carbohydrate, 5 to 10 percent. The type of carbohydrate (for example, glucose, sucrose or polymers) does not matter (although high fructose should be avoided because it may cause gastrointestinal side effects). "Salt pills" are not recommended due to the potential for improper use.
• Multiple days of heat stress and/ or a pre-existing condition often leads to heat stroke. Heat stroke often occurs under conditions the victim had been exposed to many times before or while others are concurrently being exposed to the same condition without incident. This suggests that these victims were inherently more vulnerable that day and/or some unique event triggered the heat injury. Evidence suggests some cases might be explained by an association between susceptibility for malignant hyperthermia and exertional heat stroke. Many heat stroke victims are sick on the prior day. In addition, heat stroke cases often occur during the initial hours of exercise/heat stress and do not usually occur during the hottest part of the day. These facts suggest that, on that day, the victims began the exercise/heat stress when they already were physically compromised.
• Fitness is important. Heat stroke victims often have poor physical fitness, excessive body weight, skin disorders that inhibit proper sweating, inflammation and fever from colds or the flu, stomach illnesses, chronic disease (for example, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease and congestive heart failure) and genetic predispositions.
• Medications can increase the risk of heat stroke. Over-the-counter and prescription medicines can interfere with sweating and can increase dehydration. This is especially the case with antihistamines for allergies and diuretics used for appetite suppression and to ease the symptoms of colds.
• Alcohol use can increase the risk of heat stroke greatly. Alcohol interferes with water absorption in the intestinal track and can intensify dehydration.
The above lesser known facts can be found in the U.S. Army's Technical Bulletin 507, "Heat Stress Control and Heat Casualty Management."
This 65-page document describes everything you need to know about dealing with heat stress and avoiding heat stroke.
It can be found at: www.army.mil/usapa/med/DR_pubs/dr_a/pdf/tbmed507.pdf.
Andrew Thostenson, NDSU Extension. This article first appeared in the North Dakota Pesticide Quarterly newsletter. Reprinted with permission.
Basics in Applied Agronomy - CCA Short Course
Basics in Applied Agronomy, a Certified Crop Advisor Preparatory Short Course, provides participants with a comprehensive background in soil and water management, nutrient management, pest management, and crop management. It is designed around the four basic agronomic categories defined by the Certified Crop Adviser Program (CCA), making it a good review course for those participants preparing for the CCA exams. The course also provides CCAs and Certified Professional Agronomists (CPAg) a review of basic agronomy along with 24 CEUs after successfully completing the course.
CEUs Offered: Certified Crop Advisers or Certified Professional Agronomists successfully completing the course (attending lectures and passing quizzes) will receive 6 SW, 6 NM, 6 PM, and 6 CM CEUs.
Course Number: 199
Starting Date: Monday Evenings Beginning October 21, 2013
Time: 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Based (High speed line) using Collaborate
distance education platform
Class Dates: October 21, 28; November 11, 18, 25; December 2, 9, 16, 30; January 6, 13, 20, 27
-Preparing for the International CCA Exam (Potash & Phosphate Institute)
-Field Crop Scouting Manual (University of Illinois )
-Soil Fertility Manual (Potash & Phosphate Institute)
-Modern Corn and Soybean Production
Note: Older versions of the required textbooks will work, but page numbers assigned in each text may not match with the reading assignments noted in the class syllabus.
Course Fee: $500.00 flat fee (books not included)
Instructor: Dr. Howard M. Brown, University of Illinois Department of Crop Sciences
Course and registration information can be found at: http://oce.illinois.edu/section/99938/120138
For additional information please contact Online & Continuing Education, by phone at 217-333-1462 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.