The United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) recently published the revised Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS). The WPS is meant to increase protections for agricultural fieldworkers and pesticide handlers from pesticide exposure when working in farms, forests, nurseries and greenhouses. The changes will definitely affect California agriculture, and soon-- as early as January 2017 in some cases.
What major regulatory changes are in store for us and when will they happen?
Several changes are required to be in place by January 2, 2017. These include:
- All 417,000 fieldworkers in California must attend annual pesticide safety training.
- Records of all fieldworker pesticide safety trainings must be kept on file for 2 years.
- Fields must be posted when the restricted entry interval (REI) exceeds 48 hours.
- Instructors previously certified via Train-the-Trainer to lead pesticide safety trainings must now attend an EPA-approved Train-the-Trainer course to maintain that certification.
The regulatory changes that are required to be in place by January 2, 2018 include:
- Additional training topics for fieldworkers and handlers must be added to the curriculum.
- “Application-exclusion zones” must be implemented to prevent the entry of anyone into areas up to 100 feet from pesticide application equipment. Application-exclusion zone regulations also require handlers to suspend an application if anyone enters the restricted area.
Who do these changes affect?
Many people who work in the California agricultural community will be impacted by the WPS revisions including fieldworkers, pesticide handlers, farm labor contractors, private and in-house safety trainers, growers, farm managers, licensed pesticide applicators (private and commercial), pest control advisors (PCAs), and crop consultants to name a few.
The new changes bring about a shared liability with all those involved in employing or training fieldworkers and handlers.
How can I get qualified as a trainer?
To become a trainer, take an EPA- and DPR- approved Instructor Training (a.k.a. “Train-the-Trainer”) workshop. The University of California Pesticide Safety Education Program (part of the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program, UC IPM), in partnership with AgSafe, will offer multiple workshops this fall that cover the new federal requirements for fieldworker and handler training. Visit the Events and workshops page on the UC IPM website to reserve your spot. At the end of the training you will be a certified pesticide safety instructor.
Remember, even if you've already participated in a Train-the-Trainer workshop, you are required by EPA to retake the program unless you maintain certain licenses/government designations, including PAC, QAC, QAL, PCA, and certain County Biologist licenses. UCCE Advisors are also exempted from the need to retrain.
If I am currently qualified, how can I make sure I stay up to date on all these new requirements?
If you are currently qualified as a trainer because you maintain a California PAC, QAC, or QAL, or if you are a PCA, you can attend a Train-the-Trainer workshop this fall to learn about the new WPS requirements and additional training topics. While a certification may qualify you, a Train-the-Trainer Workshop will prepare you to train! Register today.
- Author: Cheryl Reynolds
Protect bees from pesticides by using bee precaution ratings from UC IPM
—UC Statewide IPM Program
Various insects, birds, and other animals pollinate plants. Bees, especially honey bees, are the most vital for pollinating food crops. Many California crops rely on bees to pollinate their flowers and ensure a good yield of seeds, fruit, and nuts. Pesticides, especially insecticides, can harm bees if they are applied or allowed to drift to plants that are flowering.
Our mission at the University of California Agricultural and Natural Resources (UC ANR), Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM) is to protect the environment by reducing risks caused by pest management practices. UC IPM developed Bee Precaution Pesticide Ratings to help pest managers make an informed decision about how to protect bees when choosing or applying pesticides. You can find and compare ratings for pesticide active ingredients including acaricides (miticides), bactericides, fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides, and select the one posing the least harm to bees.
Ratings fall into three categories. Red, or rated I, pesticides should not be applied or allowed to drift to plants that are flowering. Plants include the crop AND nearby weeds. Yellow, or rated II, pesticides should not be applied or allowed to drift to plants that are flowering, except when the application is made between sunset and midnight if allowed by the pesticide label and regulations. Finally, green, or rated III, pesticides have no bee precautions, except when required by the pesticide label or regulations. Pesticide users must follow the product directions for handling and use and take at least the minimum precautions required by the pesticide label and regulations.
A group of bee experts in California, Oregon, and Washington worked with UC IPM to develop the Bee Precaution Pesticide Ratings. They reviewed studies published in scientific journals and summary reports from European and United States pesticide regulatory agencies. While the protection statements on the pesticide labels were taken into account when determining the ratings, it is important to stress that UC IPM's ratings are not the pollinator protection statements on the pesticide labels. In a number of cases, the ratings suggest a more protective action than the pesticide label.
The UC IPM ratings also include active ingredients that may not be registered in your state; please follow local regulations. In California, the suggested use of the bee precaution pesticide ratings is in conjunction with UC Pest Management Guidelines (for commercial agriculture) and Pest Notes (for gardeners). Each crop in the UC Pest Management Guidelines has a link to the Bee Precaution Pesticide Ratings database and provides guidance on how to reduce bee poisoning from pesticides.
A psyllid, perhaps new to the Western Hemisphere and that causes a distinctive, tight, typically complete leaf rolling , has been found on Ficus microcarpa (Chinese banyan, Indian laurel fig) in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Ventura, San Diego,and Riverside counties.
So far we have observed the FLRP only on Ficus microcarpa. Damage is fairly obvious and unusually conspicuous on heavily infested trees. Leaves at the branch and twig tips are tightly and typically completely rolled into a narrow cylinder. One rolled margin eventually overtakes the other, actually forming a cylinder with two tubes. In some instances only one margin rolls, in which case the rolling stops at the leaf blade midrib. The rolled leaf is brittle and remains green throughout
The rolled leaves could be mistaken initially for damage from Gynaikothrips ficorum (the Cuban laurel thrips). However, careful observation will quickly show the distinct difference between the rolled leaf (cause by the FLRP) and folded leaf (caused by Cuban laurel thrips). Indeed, the FLRPs shape the leaf to look more like the Mexican food taquito (tightly rolled tortilla) while the Cuban laurel thrips cause the leaf to look more like a taco (folded tortilla).
Because the FLRP is likely a new arrival, we know nothing about its long-term impact on tree health. If damage is mostly restricted to few or several leaves, long-term health would likely not be significantly affected; in such cases it could be considered simply a nuisance esthetic issue. On the other hand, if most or every new leaf is infested and rolled, as it appears it is going to be on at least one of the trees we saw, esthetic damage would be significant and tree health would likely decline because of reduced photosynthesis.
The FLRP appears to be nearly exclusively attracted to the newest developing leaves, which are softer, more pliable, and easier to roll, rather than simply the leaves' position on the canopy periphery where they would be first encountered. If further study shows this observation to be true, it will impact how this pest can be managed culturally and mechanically.
To see the entire article with photos and more details go to
If you see this kind of damage, please let one of the authors know as we are trying to describe its current range in California.
- Author: Cheryl A. Wilen
|APHIS Removes Requirement for Trapping Light Brown Apple Moth at Plant Nurseries in Regulated Areas in California|
FOR INFORMATION AND ACTION
Subject: APHIS Removes the Requirement for Trapping for the Light Brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana) at Plant Nurseries in the Regulated Areas in California
To: State and Territory Agricultural Regulatory Officials
Effective immediately, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) removes the requirement for trapping for the light brown apple moth (LBAM) on farms and premises that are eligible to move—under certificate—any nursery stock, cut flowers, garlands, wreaths or greenery of any plants, trees and shrubs, and green waste in any of the regulated counties.
The attached Federal Order describes the changes in the trapping requirement and the requirements for the interstate movement of LBAM-regulated articles. This action is necessary to relieve restrictions that have been determined to have no risk-based reason for continuance. APHIS, in cooperation with the California Department of Food and Agriculture and local county agricultural commissioners, maintains its survey and regulatory framework to prevent the artificial spread of LBAM to other states or trading partners.
LBAM is native to Australia and has established populations in New Zealand, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Hawaii. The host range for LBAM includes more than 250 plant species. Maps and a list of the federal quarantine area are provided at:
For further information about the LBAM program, you may call National Policy Manager Richard Johnson at 301-851-2109.
- Author: Cheryl A. Wilen
From Alda Pires
Are you a livestock and/or poultry small-scale farmer or backyard producer? We are seeking your help for an ANR and UC Davis survey regarding animal health concerns on small-scale farms, or for peri-urban and urban animal agriculture in the West (California, Oregon, Washington and Colorado). This survey aims to identify the needs of livestock and/or poultry owners related to animal health, animal husbandry and food safety.This study will serve as a benchmark for designing effective educational programs to train farmers, backyard producers and veterinarians working within this sector.
Survey Link: http://ucanr.edu/survey/survey.cfm?surveynumber=15917.
All your answers will remain completely confidential and no personal information about you will be recorded. You have the option to not participate and you can quit the survey at any time. This project is approved by the UC Davis, WA and CO University Institutional Review Boards.