Wednesday, July 9, 2014

2014 Biopesticide Workshop

On September 10, 2014 the Biopesticide and Organic Support program will hold a Biopesticide Workshop at the Marriott Hotel Atlanta-Buckhead. The goal of the workshop is to bring together growers, extension, research and biopesticide manufacturers to discuss and prioritize research needs. These priorities will be utilized in guiding the biopesticide efficacy research grant program for 2015. The workshop will cover pest management in many diverse uses including fruits, vegetables, ornamentals, public health, honeybees, etc. The types of products will include all classes of biopesticides including  natural products, pheromones, microorganisms and  biotechnology products. Overall the program will emphasize integration of biopesticides into conventional programs as well as the needs of the organic community.  This will conveniently be in conjunction with the IR-4 Food Use Workshop

A form to request your priority needs is available online

For more information on the workshop click here:

Be sure to register Click here to register.

About the IR-4 Food Use Program

Facilitating the regulatory approval of crop protection chemicals on food crops continues to be the central objective of the IR-4 Project.

Research Activities
Since 1963, IR-4 stakeholders have submitted thousands of requests for assistance. The potential researchable projects to address these requests are prioritized each year at the annual IR-4 Food Use Workshop. From there, field trials are assigned to IR-4 Field Research Centers and sample analyses to Analytical Laboratories at the SAES or USDA-ARS facilities. All studies are conducted under Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Good Laboratory Practice standards. When necessary, other cooperating facilities or contractors are utilized to ensure projects are completed in a timely manner.
In most studies, the chemical is applied in the field in a manner that simulates proposed grower use of the product on the target specialty crop. When the crop growth has reached the appropriate stage, samples of the crop are collected and shipped to the analytical laboratory where the amount of chemical remaining in or on the crop is determined. Field and laboratory data from this research are compiled in regulatory packages (petitions) and submitted to the EPA, requesting establishment of new tolerances (Maximum Residue Limits or MRLs).

About this Program

Photo by Cristi Palmer
The Ornamental Horticulture Program was started in 1977 to address the disease, insect, and weed management tool and plant growth regulator needs of growers. Over time this program expanded to cover not only ornamental horticulture plants grown in greenhouses and nurseries, but landscape plantings, Christmas tree farms, sod farms and interiorscapes.
Maryland Hoop House. Photo by Cristi Palmer

New Partnership Bears First Fruit: EUP for Pyriproxyfen

New Partnership Bears First Fruit: EUP for Pyriproxyfen

by Randy Gaugler, Professor II, Center for Vector Biology, Rutgers University

Insecticides are indispensable tools for mosquito management. Yet the number of available agents has declined because of the increasing cost to maintain their registration. New actives are needed, but new chemistry development for mosquitoes is crippled by the need for manufacturers to recoup the massive costs of developing a new insecticide. Mosquito control is a minor market at best. The default strategy is for existing actives developed for agricultural markets to be redeployed for mosquito control. Pyriproxyfen represents one such opportunity. Pyriproxyfen is an insect growth regulator that acts as a juvenile hormone mimic, resulting in a lethal disruption of insect development. This ‘reduced-risk pesticide' is non-toxic to birds or animals and is neither carcinogenic or genotoxic. The compound is labeled in the U.S. as NyGuard ® (MGK Corp.) for use against a wide range of insects. The effectiveness of pyriproxyfen as a mosquito larvicide is unquestioned. Yet this chemical has seen virtually no use against mosquitoes, in large part due to label restrictions against vehicle-mounted sprayers and area-wide mosquito control.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Executive Director Notes

Dear Friends,

Spring is the time when many Headquarters team members visit agricultural chemical companies in order to help plan the following year’s research. During these meetings we receive updates on the status of ongoing research and regulatory activities, exchange ideas on improving efficiency and discuss trends. IR-4’s “Company Tour 2014” is partially complete, however, two striking trends have already emerged: biopesticides are being mainstreamed by conventional chemical companies, and there is increased emphasis on international activities.

Thank You Bob Hollingworth!
Welcome John Wise

In June, IR-4’s North Central Region (NCR) Director, Bob Hollingworth will retire. Bob has been involved with IR-4 serving on the Project Management Committee (PMC, formerly known as the Technical Committee) since 1987. While he will step down as director, he will maintain his involvement with IR-4 through June of 2015.

Bob became Professor Emeritus in 1997 but continued several activities at MSU including acting as Director of the NCR IR-4 Project. During these years, Bob maintained the collaboration of 12 NCR states and was involved in the operation and upgrade of a modern IR-4 residue analytical laboratory at MSU.

New Product Corner

 This new section of the IR-4 Newsletter called ‘New Product Corner’ was suggested by grower stakeholders as a way for IR-4 to help inform specialty crop growers about new pest management tools recently registered by EPA. This is for informational purposes only as IR-4 does not endorse a particular product or registrant. 

CYANTRANILIPROLE (Cyazypyr®) (Insecticide - DuPont)
Introduction: On Feb. 5, 2014, tolerances were established by the EPA for the new active ingredient (AI) cyantraniliprole (Cyazypyr®) on multiple commodities. Regulatory scientists from EPA and counterpart agencies from several other countries conducted a global joint review of the dossier. This AI, discovered by DuPont, belongs to the anthranilic diamide class of chemistry. It is the second AI in this chemistry, but the first to provide growers with a new pest management tool for cross-spectrum control of chewing and sucking/sap-feeding pests. DuPont has developed single AI products, and two of those have been registered and approved by EPA under the brand names Exirel™ and Verimark™. Syngenta Crop Protection has rights to develop pre-mixes. With no cross resistance to other classes of insecticides, cyantraniliprole may be especially useful against target pests that have developed resistance to other insecticides. It is classified as a Group 28 insecticide by the Insecticide Resistance Action Committee (IRAC).

 Boxwoods, Boxwoods, Boxwoods, and not a Crop to Clip

—by Cristi Palmer, IR-4 Ornamental Horticulture Program Manager
Photo by Cristi Palmer
At least that is the way it seemed at the second Boxwood Summit held at the National Agriculture Library in Beltsville, MD. This gathering of boxwood researchers, extension personnel and boxwood aficionados offered an opportunity to present the latest and greatest research results and discuss the next important research directions to preserve boxwoods against leaf miners, Volutella and, of course, the devastating boxwood blight.

 IR-4's Effort to Combat “Laurel Wilt”: A Threat to the Florida Avocado Growers

 — by Michelle Samuel-Foo, IR-4 Southern Region Field Coordinator; Kathryn Homa, IR-4 Research Coordinator, Fungicides; and Jonathan Crane, Professor, University of Florida TREC
An untreated avocado tree in a commercial planting that has succumbed to laurel wilt disease.
Photo by Jonathan Crane

 An aerial view of a typical avocado grove in South Florida quickly reveals the tell-tale sign that evokes trepidation among growers. Large, conspicuous patches of brown leaves among a sea of bright green canopies, that seemingly appear overnight. The culprits behind this phenomenon are redbay ambrosia (RBAB) beetles (Xylebporus glabratus) and their fungal symbiont Raffaelea lauricola. The fungus causes “Laurel Wilt” which is a devastating disease of redbays
Passive infusion
system used in the
Homestead FL trial. Blue
dye is being used here to
for illustrative purposes only.

Photo by Jonathan Crane

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Pheromone-Based Mating Disruption Reduces Pest Attack on Dates and Results in New Registration

 —by Tom Perring,UC Riverside; Michael Braverman,  IR-4 Biopesticide and Organic Support

Program Manager; Agenor Mafra-Neto, President, ISCA Technologies, Inc. Riverside CA
Figure 1. Carob moth, Ectomyelois ceratoniae (Zeller), adult on date fruit.
In the United States, commercial date, Phoenix dactylifera L., production occurs predominantly in the Coachella Valley (Riverside Co., CA), although recent plantings of dates have taken place in the Bard/Winterhaven area of Imperial Co., CA, and near Yuma AZ.  In 2012, dates were harvested from 8400 acres, producing a crop worth $41.6 million (USDA 2013).  Two varieties make up most of this production, Deglet Noor and Medjool.  These dates are subject to attack by the carob moth, Ectomyelois ceratoniae (Zeller) (Figure 1), which first was observed in California in 1982 (CDFA 1983).  Currently, it is the primary economic pest of commercial dates; fruit infested with larvae (Figure 2) can cause damage reaching 10-40% to the harvestable crop each year (Warner 1990a, Nay et al. 2006).
Figure 2. Carob moth, Ectomyelois ceratoniae (Zeller), larvae in date fruit.

“All Natural” Mosquito Control?

— by Karl Malamud-Roam, IR-4 Public Health Pesticides Program Manager

Mosquito control has long made use of biocontrol and biopesticides, although the effectiveness of these “natural” control measures has been debated and their popularity has waxed and waned relative to “conventional” pesticides. Recently there has been significant interest in reducing the use of synthetic chemicals in vector control and elsewhere, and a range of traditional and novel practices have been suggested as alternatives. This article reviews some biological and biochemical approaches to mosquito management and discusses whether “all-natural” mosquito control is feasible.
The "mosquitofish" Gambusia affinis

Call for Nominations: IR-4 SOAR Award

 The IR-4 Project has established the SOAR award to recognize those individuals who excel in serving growers of Specialty and Minor Use Crops. The awardees will have demonstrated clear Service toward enhancing the mission of IR-4 through participation on committees, advisory panels, or similar activities; excellent Outreach to growers educating growers on IR-4; Altruism by donating time and effort towards IR-4’s mission; outstanding Research which contributes to expanded product labels and increased understanding of product use. In other words, awardees SOAR in supporting the IR-4 mission to provide growers registrations of new and expanded pest management tools.

 Varroa Mites in Honeybees Still a Major Concern

 —by Michael Braverman, Manager Biopesticide & Organic Support Program

The Varroa mite Varroa destructor has been a pest in honeybees in the US since the 1980’s. Varroa mites are a parasite that live on the outside of the bee’s body and attack both adult and developing bees. The mite is consistently considered the primary pest in bees. While there are many theories on the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder, Varroa mite is thought to play a major role. The mite may be small to the eye but in comparison to the bee, it is huge. On a human scale, it has been described as being equivalent to the size of a dinner plate or basketball, sucking out the bee’s hemolymph (blood-like fluids) and injecting viruses. The combination of fluid loss and disease can be devastating to the bee colony. Bees are extremely important in horticultural crops and pollination has been estimated to contribute 13 billion dollars in crop value to fruits and vegetables.
IR-4 Successes February 2014 - April 2014
The trade names listed below are provided as a means to identify the chemical for which a tolerance has been established. A trade name listed here may not be the name of the product on which the new food use(s) will be registered. Only labeled products may be used on a food crop. Be sure to obtain current information about usage regulations and examine a current product label before applying any chemical. 

Federal Register: Feb 07, 2014
Trade Names: Arena, Belay
Crops: Green onion subgroup 3-07B, Papaya, Passionfruit, Spice subgroup 19B, Stone fruit group 12-12 (except cherry, chickasaw plum, and damson plum)
PR#: A10204, B10204, 11200

Federal Register: Feb 12, 2014
Trade Name: Lorox
Crops: Cilantro/Coriander, Dill, Horseradish, Parsley, Dry Pea
PR#: 01625, 01432, 03609, 03035, 09651

Federal Register: Mar 05, 2014
Trade Names: Procure, Terraguard
Crops: Greenhouse tomato, Small vine-climbing fruit (except fuzzy kiwifruit) subgroup 13-07F, Low-growing berry (except cranberry) subgroup 13-07G, Pome fruit group 11-10
PR#: 09299, 11048, 11049, 11050

Federal Register: Apr 02, 2014
Trade Name: Command
Crops: Head and stem Brassica subgroup 5A, Southern pea, Cowpea forage and hay, Rhubarb
PR#: A3569, 08934, 08724

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

FDA to Revise Parts of Food Safety Act —by Lee Dean, Editorial Director Vegetable Grower News

Reprinted with permission February 2014, Volume 48 Number 2

FDA will draft what it calls “significant” revisions to part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), and launch an additional comment period for those revisions next summer. Michael Taylor, FDA deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, said Dec. 19 that the agency was reacting to comments from the produce industry during meetings across the country and as part of the official comment period for two of the FSMA rules first published in January 2013, covering fresh produce safety and preventive controls for eliminating pathogens.


IR-4 wishes to thank Monte Johnson and wish him much success in his retirement from USDA-NIFA this past December.

Monte provided national leadership for state and federal activities aimed at developing a greater understanding of the toxicological consequences of human exposure to pesticides and the effects of pesticide residues in foods and the environment. He provided administrative oversight and national leadership for IR-4 since

IR-4 Successes Nov. 2013 - Jan. 2014

The trade names listed below are provided as a means to identify the chemical for which a tolerance has been established. A trade name listed here may not be the name of the product on which the new food use(s) will be registered. Only labeled products may be used on a food crop. Be sure to obtain current information about usage regulations and examine a current product label before applying any chemical.

AmericanHort Formally Launched January 1 National Trade Association to Serve Horticulture Industry

AmericanHort, the horticulture industry’s new trade association, formally began with the consolidation on December 31, 2013 of the Nursery & Landscape Association and OFA – The Association of Horticulture Professionals. The more than two-year effort to bring the groups together was initiated by the volunteer leadership of the legacy organizations in order to better meet the needs of the industry and the respective memberships.

Attractive Toxic Sugar Baits for Vector Control — by Karl Malamud-Roam, IR-4 Public Health Pesticide Program Manager

Culex mosquitoes feeding on flower nectar
Attractive toxic sugar bait sprayed on vegetation, with male Anopheles (malaria mosquito)
What do mosquitoes eat? If you’ve been bitten recently by a mosquito, the answer seems obvious – they feed on us! But when we realize that only female mosquitoes take blood meals, and only a few times during their lives, it looks like the answer must be wider. In fact, feeding behavior by mosquitoes is relatively complex, and recent work on this topic is beginning to point toward a range of potentially useful new mosquito control strategies. In particular, the concept of mixing feeding attractants with sugar and a pesticide is reaching maturity, and attractive toxic sugar bait (ATSB) products are now beginning to enter the vector control market, both in the U.S. and globally. IR-4 is working closely with inventors, product developers, and regulators to help bring these new tools to households and organized vector control programs.

Global Capacity Development, Residue Data Generation Project —by Dan Kunkel, Michael Braverman, Edith Lurvey, IR-4, and Jason Sandahl, USDA-FAS

IR-4 involvement in international harmonization of pesticide residues continues to expand as these needs are consistently communicated by our stakeholders.  The 2014 Farm Bill states that IR-4 should  “assist in removing trade barriers  caused by residues of pesticides registered for  minor agricultural use and for use on domestically grown specialty crops”. This recommendation was also noted by several stakeholders in the recent IR-4 strategic plan survey. The needs of U.S. specialty crop growers are better served with resolving international MRL trade barriers as well as our traditional task of establishing U.S. tolerances.

Biotechnoloy Update- RNAi as a New Technology for Pest Management — by Michael Braverman, Biopesticide and Organic Support Program Manager

Most people have heard of genetically modified crops and the use of biotechnology for crop pest management. The most common of these technologies is the use of genetic material from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) to code for the production of a protein in plants which controls certain insects. Because of the history of biotechnology coming through the microorganism Bt, these products are considered to be biopesticides. These are commonly referred to as Plant Incorporated Protectants (PIPs) and are regulated in EPA’s Biopesticide and Pollution Prevention Division¹. A newer form of biotechnology based biopesticides is RNAi technology.

How can this technology be used?

Geraniums? Pelargoniums? What’s the Difference?

Photo Pelargonium triste. Anonymous from

Photo by Cristi Palmer

Geraniums and pelargoniums are often confused with each other. It is very easy to do since the flower widely grown as a bedding plant and in containers is known as ‘geranium’, but its Latin genera name is Pelargonium sp. The genus Geranium contains 422 species of flowering annual, biennial and perennial plants and are found in temperate regions. Several species are cultivated for horticulture and pharmaceutical uses, but the vast majority of ‘geraniums’ sold in the U.S. are actually ‘pelargoniums’.

Congratulations Doug!

Doug Buhler, director of Michigan State University AgBioResearch and senior associate dean for research for the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), received two awards on Dec. 11, 2013, during the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market EXPO annual banquet in Grand Rapids.

New Product Corner

This new section of the IR-4 Newsletter called ‘New Product Corner’ was suggested by grower stakeholders as a way for IR-4 to help inform specialty crop growers about new pest management tools recently registered by EPA. This is for informational purposes only as IR-4 does not endorse a particular product or registrant.

New Assignment — by IR-4 Executive Director, Jerry Baron

IR-4 has had an acute problem of overcapacity of facilities and staff to run residue field trials in EPA Data Region 2 for the last several years. We have too many high quality field research directors in the region and not enough work and associated funds to maintain all the sites at full capacity.