EPA Registers the Wolbachia ZAP Strain in Live Male Asian Tiger Mosquitoes

On November 3, 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency registered a new mosquito biopesticide – ZAP Males® – that can reduce local populations of the type of mosquito (Aedes albopictus, or Asian Tiger Mosquitoes) that can spread numerous diseases of significant human health concern, including the Zika virus.

ZAP Males® are live male mosquitoes that are infected with the ZAP strain, a particular strain of the Wolbachia bacterium. Infected males mate with females, which then produce offspring that do not survive. (Male mosquitoes do not bite people.) With continued releases of the ZAP Males®, local Aedes albopictus populations decrease. Wolbachia are naturally occurring bacteria commonly found in most insect species. Continue reading

EPA Amends Registration for Enlist Duo Herbicide to Add GE Cotton and Additional States

Enlist Duo, a formula containing the choline salt of 2,4-D and glyphosate for use in controlling weeds in genetically engineered (GE) crops, was first registered in 2014 for use in GE corn and soybean crops. The Environmental Protection Agency is amending the registration to include GE cotton and expand the use to an additional 19 states for GE corn, soybean, and cotton and re-affirming our original decision before the remand.

EPA did a comprehensive review for the initial registration of Enlist Duo and now again in response to the application to amend the registration. EPA’s protective and conservative human health and ecological risk assessments re-confirmed our 2014 safety findings. The pesticide meets the safety standard for the public, agricultural workers, and non-target plants and animal species, including a “no effects” determination for species listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Continue reading

EPA Finalizes Steps to Better Protect Bees from Pesticides

The Environmental Protection Agency is releasing a final policy which describes methods for addressing acute risks to bees from pesticides.  Applications of acutely toxic pesticides would be prohibited under certain conditions when bees are most likely to be present.  While the restrictions focus on managed bees, EPA believes that these measures will also protect native bees and other pollinators that are in and around treatment areas.  New label language will protect managed bees under contract to provide crop pollination services.

The final Policy to Mitigate the Acute Risk to Bees from Pesticide Products is more flexible and practical than the proposed policy.  For example, a product that retains its toxicity to bees for a shorter time might be allowed to be applied under certain circumstances. Also, in some cases, pesticide application would be allowed when it is unlikely that pollinators will be foraging for crops that have extended bloom periods. The EPA will begin implementing this policy in 2017 by sending letters to registrants describing steps that must be taken to incorporate the new labeling.  Continue reading

EPA Seeks Nominations for Environmental Champions

Each year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognizes and honors environmental trailblazers – individuals, businesses and organizations that have contributed significantly to improving the environment and protecting public health. EPA is seeking nominations of environmental stewards within its region covering New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and eight federally recognized Indian Nations who have gone above and beyond for environmental change in local communities. Winners will be honored with this annual award at a ceremony in the Spring of 2017 at EPA’s regional office in Manhattan. The Agency is accepting nominations for its Environmental Champion Awards until February 3, 2017.

“EPA’s prestigious Environmental Champion Award recognizes the hard work, vision and courage exhibited by local leaders who are committed to environmental protection. Everyone is encouraged to nominate people who are stellar leaders in this arena,” said EPA Deputy Regional Administrator Catherine McCabe. Continue reading

EPA Recognizes National Healthy Schools Day

Protecting children’s health where they live, learn, and play is a top priority for the Environmental Protection Agency. Today, April 5, 2016, is National Healthy Schools Day, a day dedicated to promoting healthy school environments for children. Today and throughout the year, EPA supports the use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), a safer, healthier and usually less costly option for effective pest management in schools.

Children in the United States face risks from unnecessary exposure to pests and pesticides in schools. EPA encourages the use of IPM, a smart, sensible and sustainable approach to pest control that focuses on addressing the underlying issues that make schools attractive to pests. Schools that practice IPM see fewer pests, use less pesticides, and may see a noticeable improvement in attendance and academic performance.  Continue reading

Georgia creates guidelines to protect pollinating insects

By Sharon Dowdy, University of Georgia

Many food items, including fresh fruits and vegetables, would never make it to grocery store or farmers market shelves without the help of beneficial insects like honeybees and butterflies. The number of these pollinating insects in the U.S. is declining, and to help, Georgia agricultural experts developed a statewide plan to teach gardeners and landscapers how to care for their plants and protect these vulnerable insects that are vital to food production.

“The issue is that we have broad-scale problems with our pollinators — both in numbers and in diversity,” said Kris Braman, an entomologist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and a member of the team that created the “Protecting Georgia’s Pollinators” plan. Continue reading

SIPMC is participating in the Managed Pollinator Protection Plan Symposium

The Honey Bee Health Coalition is partnering with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture to convene a symposium that brings key Managed Pollinator Protection Plan (MP3) stakeholders together for dialogue and sharing learnings for achieving a well-supported MP3 in each of the states. SIPMC Co-director Danesha Seth Carley is participating in the symposium this week. This Symposium will present best practices to develop a state or tribal Pollinator Protection Plan. Participants will learn about current state plans, work with other stakeholders, and obtain tools to engage their local, state, and tribal stakeholders to develop their state MP3.

MP3 symposium slide

Symposium slide