EPA Allows Pesticide Exemption For Some Fruit Crops

Pesticide will control BMSB to limit economic losses of certain fruits.

Published on: Jul 12, 2011

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has granted an emergency exemption to use the pesticide dinotefuran in Virginia this year to control Brown Marmorated Stink Bug on stone and pome fruits. The exemption allows application of two registered products to combat BMSB, namely Venom Insecticide by Valent, and Scorpion 35SL, produced by Gowan.

Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore announced that the emergency exemption was requested by state authorities in April 2011 and the announcement of EPA's decision came on June 29. The exemption will expire on October 15, 2011.

"Agriculture is Virginia's largest industry and our fruit products are known domestically and abroad for their exceptionally high quality and outstanding taste," says Secretary Haymore.  "These pests are causing our producers economic losses and are damaging the state's reputation in the marketplace, so I am grateful that the EPA handled our exemption request in an expedited manner. 

He also noted that Virginia representatives Frank Wolf (R-10th) and Robert Hurt (R-5th) helped get the ball rolling by indicating support of the emergency exemption request. They noted it would provide growers in their districts and others in the state another tool to control and minimize the damage caused by stink bugs. VDACS requested an expedited review in order to obtain an exemption for the current growing season.

In addition to Virginia dinotefuran also received the Section 18 exemption in a number of additional states in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast region, including North Carolina and West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Farmers are concerned about the damage that stink bugs do to apples, peaches and grapes. According to apple industry statistics BMSB caused about $37 million in damage to the state's apple crop in 2010. VDACS says some experts are worried the pest could also spread to cotton, soybeans and corn, all of which are major crops in the state.

VDACS notes the pests are referred to as "stink bugs" because of the odor they emit. Brown Marmorated Stink Bug causes economic damage to tree fruits by marking them with "cat facing," a distortion that ruins the fruit's marketability as a fresh product.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug initially came to the U.S. from southeastern Asia where birds, bats and spiders feed on them; however, the insects have no natural predators in the United States.

The EPA emergency exemption went into effect on June 24, 2011 and is effective until October 15, 2011. 

A maximum of 29,000 acres may be treated under the exemption to stone fruit (peaches, nectarines) and pome fruit (apples, pears and other fruits with a thickened outer fleshy layer and a central seed core).  Wine grapes, certain vegetables, and cotton may already be treated with these products and do not count against the acreage in the exemption. 

Special application instructions apply to help reduce risk to pollinators.

Learn more about Scorpion 35SL at www.gowanco.com/ProductInfo.aspx?pid=112&Scorpion%2035SL.

You can read more about Venom Insecticide at http://www.valent.com/agriculture/products/venom/index.cfm.