EPA Announces Opportunity to Nominate Additional Experts to Serve as Ad Hoc Members for the FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel Reviewing Physiologically-Based Pharmacokinetic (PBPK) Modeling

On December 18, 2017, the Agency published a Federal Register notice to announce the opportunity to provide additional nominations for experts to serve as ad hoc members for the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Scientific Advisory Panel (FIFRA SAP) reviewing PBPK modeling to address pharmacokinetic differences between and within species on six selected pesticidal active ingredients. The public can provide nominations until January 17, 2018.  Nominations can be provided by following the instructions in the Federal Register announcement (EPA-HQ-OPP-2017-0180) or by forwarding the nomination to the Designated Federal Official listed below.  Continue reading

Researchers have discovered a fungus deadly to snakes

One of the first hints that yet another fungal disease that could devastate wildlife was emerging in the United States came in 2006 with a report that an isolated winter den of timber rattlesnakes in New Hampshire had suffered a population crash.

Those snakes were on the far northern edge of their species’ habitat, and showed signs they had suffered from inbreeding. But they also had skin lesions, often called hibernation blisters or hibernation sores, that caught the attention of scientists. Continue reading

Entomologists to holiday travelers: Don’t let the bedbugs bite

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologists say a few simple practices can help holiday travelers deal with bedbug infestations and avoid spreading the pest.

“All it takes is one traveler with bedbugs in their luggage to stay at a hotel and that hotel can become infested,” said Dr. Mike Merchant, AgriLife Extension urban entomologist in Dallas. “Unless the problem is noticed and dealt with right away, the next hotel visitor may end up bitten or bringing home some unwanted hitchhikers.” Continue reading

EPA Releases Draft Risk Assessments for Glyphosate

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is releasing for public comment the draft human health and ecological risk assessments for glyphosate, one of the most widely used agricultural pesticides in the United States.

The draft human health risk assessment concludes that glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.  The Agency’s assessment found no other meaningful risks to human health when the product is used according to the pesticide label.  The Agency’s scientific findings are consistent with the conclusions of science reviews by a number of other countries as well as the 2017 National Institute of Health Agricultural Health Survey. Continue reading

New Publication Features Hedgerow Plants to Attract Helpful Insects

The recent ATTRA publication, “A Pictorial Guide to Hedgerow Plants for Beneficial Insects,” is a meticulously photographed pictorial guide to numerous beneficial hedgerow plant species used in farmscaping for native pollinators and insect predators and parasites in California. It provides plant names,on-farm photo documentation, bloom times, heights, and descriptions that note considerations for selection and establishment.

You can download the publication for free at https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/summaries/summary.php?pub=582. Continue reading

APHIS Makes Import Guidance for Wood and Wood Products Easier to Find and Understand

On December 14, 2017, APHIS published the revised Wood and Wood Products section of the Miscellaneous and Processed Product Manual (MPPM).  This major update does not change APHIS’ import requirements for wood and wood products; it simply makes them easier to find and understand. Specific changes include:

  • Reorganizing requirements into subsections, such as wood products from Canada or wood packaging material
  • Placing information in shorter tables, making it easier for the user to follow a decision pathway
  • Removing redundant language that is provided directly to importers on their permits, helping to reduce the wood and wood product section’s overall length by 50%
  • Identifying and eliminating decision “dead ends” which left users without final, clear direction
  • Creating a new section in the manual that provides clear guidance for importing handicrafts, including wooden handicrafts

Continue reading

EPA Releases Neonicotinoid Assessments for Public Comment

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is releasing preliminary ecological and human health risk assessments for these neonicotinoid insecticides — clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and dinotefuran — and a preliminary ecological risk assessment for imidacloprid, assessing risks to birds, mammals, non-target insects, and plants. Preliminary pollinator-only risk assessments for these chemicals were published for comment in 2016 and 2017, and preliminary human health and ecological assessments (for aquatic species only) for imidacloprid were also released in 2017.

The Agency is also releasing new cotton and citrus benefits assessments for foliar applications of the neonicotinoids as well as its response to public comments on the 2014 Benefits of Neonicotinoid Seed Treatment to Soybean ProductionContinue reading