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International news in brief – July/August 2017 issue

| August 29, 2017
  • Germany: Revolutionizing the use of crop protection products

Bayer and the Israeli company Netafim are joining forces to enhance the application of crop protection products using a new approach called “DripByDrip”. Both water and crop protection products are distributed throughout the fields via the drip irrigation system and then delivered directly to the roots of the crops. This approach will enable farmers to apply crop protection products in a more targeted way using Netafim’s drip irrigation technology. The companies plan to launch the system in Mexico by the end of 2017.

Bayer & Netafim

Ran Maidan (left), CEO of Netafim, and Mathias Kremer, Head of Strategy and Portfolio Management at the Crop Science division of Bayer, kicking off the new smart irrigation approach.

Bayer and Netafim have already conducted several trials, among others on a farm in Mexico for peppers, tomatoes, melons and grapes. The test results showed that yields increased and net revenues rose due to improved quality, and the number of applications was also reduced significantly, in one trial even by 53%. The drip irrigation system also demonstrably reduces the use of water with tests showing that water use efficiency is increased to up to 95% compared to 40% less with traditional flood irrigation.

Currently, the system focuses on fruit and vegetable producers in all arid and semi-arid regions of the world, but also crops like cotton, sugarcane and rice are targeted in a second wave. After the joint market launch in Mexico, both companies are working towards expanding the system and customizing it to more countries, crops, pest and diseases.
Find more information at: https://www. youtube.com/watch?v=EqOrxDwDnxA

  • EU: Syngenta and Bayer – mergers update

The $43b merger deal of ChemChina with Switzerland- based seeds and crop protection company Syngenta has now closed. Syngenta will keep its independent operations post-acquisition. Syngenta is targeting an increase in its profit and market share by acquisitions, more part- nerships and better sales. The company will expand its funding in digital agri- culture, water-saving and CO2-saving technologies and yield-improving crops. Syngenta also wishes to expand its footprint in China. Meanwhile Bayer has filed an application to the European Commission (EC) to secure approval for its merger with Monsanto. The EC can now begin antitrust probe related to the amalgamation, which will make Bayer the world’s leading agrochemical major. The company intends to con- clude the takeover by end-2017

  • USA: AP&G hires Stan Cope

Dr Stanton Cope Jr.Dr. Stanton Cope Jr. is the new AP&G company’s first vice president of products and technical services. The role was created to gear up for AP&G’s rollout of new mosquito management products. Cope holds a master’s degree in entomology and a PhD in public health. In 2014, Cope was elected vice president of the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA), served as AMCA President (2016) and currently acts as past president. He is also the former director of entomology and regulatory services for Terminix International.

In his role as VP of technical products and services, Cope will take the lead on R&D and field-testing of mosquito related products. This includes the new Catchmaster Ovi-Catch, an autocidal gravid oviposition (AGO) mosquito trap and monitor developed and tested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Additionally, Cope will advise on all matters related to best practices, product training, regulatory matters and other technical issues across AP&G’s range of rodent and insect pest management products.

  • Australia: Sexy sounds lure invasive cane toads into traps

Invasive cane toads are a poisonous pest in Australia and are incredibly toxic to anything that tries to eat them, killing off native predator populations and pets alike. A female cane toad may lay upwards of 20,000 eggs per clutch, so removing a single female with eggs from the population is more effective for control than removing a single male. Cane toads (Rhinella marina) are invasive, and males use advertise- ment vocalisations to attract reproductive females. Some cane toad traps use an artificial advertisement vocalisation to attract toads. Researchers at Centre for Tropical Biodiversity and Climate Change, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia, determined whether variation of a call’s parameters (volume, dominant frequency and pulse rate) could increase the capture rate of gravid females in traps.

ToadOverall, traps equipped with loud calls (80 dB at 1 m) caught significantly more toads, and proportionally more gravid females, than traps with quiet calls (60 dB at 1 m), and traps with low dominant frequency calls caught more gravid females than traps with median frequency calls. Traps with high pulse rate calls attracted more females than traps with low pulse rate calls. Calls that indicated large-bodied males (low frequency) with high energy reserves (high pulse rate) are often attractive to female anurans and were effective lures for female toads in the study.
Source: Muller, B. J. and Schwarzkopf, L. (2017), Success of capture of toads improved by manipulating acoustic characteristics of lures. Pest. Manag. Sci. doi:10.1002/ps.4629

  • Belgium: new biopesticide spin-out from Ghent University

Aphea.Bio has gathered a total of €9M in funding to start working on a new technology to produce biopesticides and biostimulants for European agriculture. The technology behind the new company has been spun out from research on the microbiome and plant-bacteria interactions at Ghent University, KU Leuven and the VIB. This new alternative englobes natural biomolecules and living microorganisms as well as genetically-encoded proteins. They target pests specifically without affecting other organisms and decompose faster. These advantages are spurring the rapid growth of the biopesticide market, which is expected to go from €3Bn in 2016 to close to €8Bn by 2022.

In addition to microbial biopesticides, the company also wants to tap into biostimulants, which provide an alternative to fertilizers to increase yields by improving nutrient and water assimilation as well as increasing tolerance to stress. The biostimulant market is predicted to reach €2.6Bn by 2021. While Europe struggles with establishing regulations for GMOs, the spin-out could circumvent the issue by going after natural biological alternatives and take a bite off two rapidly growing markets.

  • Australia: Thousands of feral animals killed in bid to tackle pests

Almost 4000 feral and wild animals have been captured and killed in Brisbane over the past four years as Brisbane City Council works to tackle the city’s pest problem. From July 1, 2013, to May 31, 2017, 3975 pest animals were captured as part of the council’s trapping program. Cats made up almost 80% of all captures. All of the animals captured are euthanised.

The council’s lifestyle and community services chairman Matthew Bourke said the council had a comprehensive pest management program that focused on both animals and vegetation. “Pest animals can threaten native wildlife, including endangered species, and harm family pets,” Cr Bourke said. “Council’s pest management program is conducted both proactively and in response to sightings by the public. Trapping is traditionally targeted to natural areas including waterways, bushland and wetlands, as well as in parks and other public areas where pest animals have been seen.” Mr McCallum said trapping and euthanising the animals was the best way to manage the problem.
Source: http://bit.ly/2tZVacI

  • USA: Dow and DuPont receive antitrust clearance for proposed merger of equals

DuPont and The Dow Chemical Company have announced that they have reached a proposed agreement with the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) that will permit the companies to proceed with their proposed merger of equals. In connection with the proposed agreement and consistent with commitments already made to obtain the European Commission’s regulatory approval, DuPont will divest certain parts of its crop protection portfolio and Dow will divest its global Ethylene Acrylic Acid copolymers and ionomers business. The proposed agreement with the DOJ, which remains subject to court approval, does not require the companies to make any additional divestitures. With this agreement, no further approvals are required in the US for the merger to close. The merger is expected to generate cost synergies of approximately $3b and growth synergies of approximately $1b. To date, Dow and DuPont have obtained clearance in many jurisdictions, including approvals in the US, Europe, Brazil and China. The companies expect to close the merger in Aug 2017, with the intended spin-offs to occur within 18 months of closing.

  • NZ: Could Samurai wasp control stink bug?

The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is one of the horticulture industry’s most unwanted pests. New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) is part of a horticulture and viticulture industry steering group that is partnering with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to explore the possibility of using Trissolcus japonicus, also known as the Samurai Wasp, as a biocontrol agent should BMSB make its way to New Zealand. NZW Biosecurity Manager Dr Edwin Massey is not aiming to release the wasp but to get approval from the Environmental Protection Authority to import it into containment for potential release as a response tool to help counter BMSB. BMSB feeds

BMSB feeds off a wide range of plants and emits a long lasting, foul smelling odour when threatened, which can taint grape juice. The female samurai wasp lays its eggs inside stinkbugs’ eggs and the developing larvae destroy the host as they eat their way out. The New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) have a forecast model that indicates that over 20 years, the Samurai wasp could mitigate losses to the wine industry caused by BMSB by approximately $335 million.

  • UK: Government bugged – all night debates become uncomfortable

The London Houses of Parliament, which spent £103,157 combating mice, flies, months, pigeons and gulls in the last year alone is reportedly crawling with bedbugs. Parliamentary authorities said a pest control team was taking ‘urgent action’ after the parasitic insects were spotted in Westminster.

A warning on Parliament’s intranet page this week said, “urgent action” is being taken to stop the infestation, which “did not originate” at Parliament and must have been “brought in from the outside”. The statement went on to say, ‘It is clear that the infestation did not originate on the parliamentary estate and was brought in from outside’.

Further checks across the estate were reportedly under way. MPs have now left Parliament for their summer recess and will not return to until September giving exterminators a chance to remove the bugs. A decision on whether MPs should depart from Westminster for a multibillion-pound restoration could be made this autumn. The building could remain empty for six years while builders restore the Grade I listed 19th Century palace, described as a fire hazard.

  • World: WHO recommends new class of insecticide for malaria prevention

For the first time in more than 30 years, WHO has recommended an insecticide-treated mosquito net that uses a new class of insecticide for malaria prevention, according to a press release. The product, Interceptor G2, is based on chlorfenapyr, a chemical that has been used in agriculture and urban pest control since 1995 but was recently repurposed by researchers at BASF, the Innovative Vector Control Consortium and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine to combat mosquitoes, the release said. The only other insecticide class that WHO has recommended for long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets is pyrethroid, according to the release. Continual use of it, however, increases the risk for resistance.

In addition to Interceptor G2, the German-based chemical company BASF announced that another chlorfenapyr product, an indoor residual spray known as Sylando 240SC, is also in the final stages of WHO evaluation. The efficacy of both products was demonstrated during independent trials conducted in Benin, Burkina Faso, Tanzania and Ivory Coast. BASF anticipates that Interceptor G2 will be available to health ministries and aid organizations toward the end of this year.

  • CH: Annual biocontrol event to reach 1000 attendees – ABIM2017

ABIM 2017 is getting closer and the organising committee anticipate that this year they will reach 1000 attendees, the 12th ABIM. The programme offers very informative talks again, a packed and expanded exhibition area and many product innovations will be presented. It is obvious that it is the premier biocontrol meeting on the planet. In order not to miss it.
Visit: www.abim.ch.

  • EU: In defence of Bacillus thuringiensis, the safest microbial insecticide available

The issue of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) and Bacillus cereus, (Bc) residues in food is an important one for the industry and resulted in a very high-profile meeting in Copa and Cogeca in March. Since then, Brian Federicci and Ben Raymond, eminent scientists in the area of Bt and microbials, have published an open access paper which strongly defends the use of this safe microbial in modern agricultural production, and criticizes linking human health issues of human pathogenic strains of Bc with commercial Bt strains. Much of the issue surrounds a non-discriminating test used for Bc contamination of food and a lack of initiative from the food industry.

Therefore, even though the identification of strains pathogenic to humans is a food industry and health officials’ problem, they currently believe the current test method safeguards them from food contamination. A European Cost Action has just started and steps are now being taken to investigate and propose an appropriate method or series of methodsfor use by the food industry that is discriminatory and permits the use of Bt whilst safeguarding against food being placed on the market with contamination of human pathogenic strains of Bc.
Source: http://bit.ly/2tLJSK1

  • USA: Biological Products Trade Association To Hold Sustainability Symposium

The Biological Products Industry Alliance (BPIA), a rapidly growing U.S.-based trade association representing the biopesticides and biostimulants industries, will be holding a Sustainability Symposium in Orlando, Florida on October 11, 2017, for biological products manufacturers and marketers, distributors, food proc- essors, growers, and service providers supporting agriculture, public health, forestry, and specialty markets such as home and garden, turf and ornamentals, and structural pest control.

The Sustainability Symposium will include topics such as growing consumer interest in biological products, the role of biological products in integrated pest management, what exemption from tolerance really means, and how to continue building credibility for the biostimulants industry.

“BPIA recognizes the important role biological products play in sustainability,” said Scott Peterson, Co-chair of the BPIA Meeting Planning Committee and Eastern Regional Sales Director for Certis. “Consequently, we are hold- ing this Sustainability Symposium on October 11th in conjunction with our annual Fall Meeting on October 10th at the Hyatt Regency Orlando to spread the word about integrating biological products into sustainability goals.”

As interest in the biological products sector continues to grow, attendance at BPIA’s meetings, conferences, workshops, and symposiums is also increasing. BPIA anticipates its program in Orlando this fall to be its largest event to date.
Source: Register to attend at http://bit.ly/2vI7RY2

  • Mexico: Joint Venture announced between Econtrol and 6SenseAI

A Joint Venture agreement has been announced between Econtrol with 6SenseAI, a San Francisco, California based company . The JV will leverage the knowledge and experience of Econtrol of the Mexican, Central and South America markets with the financial and technical strength of 6SenseAI. ‘Both companies will jointly work in these markets before branching into North American and European and Asian Markets’ said by Mr Ajay Shillon President of 6SenseAI.

‘For Econtrol this is a wonderful opportunity to joint efforts with 6SenseAI to serve the Professional Pest Control Market, Food Safety Programs and the Public Health and Vector Programs in Latin America. There is much to do. The industry growth and consolidation is opening new horizons for technology and innovation and we want to serve these needs.’ said Benjamin Gomez Managing Director of ECONTROL.
For more information visit: www. econtrol.com.mx and http://cloudida.com

  • Israel: STK Stockton to speak at Chemical Industry Regulations Conference in September

Guy Elitzur, CEO of STK Stockton will be a featured speaker at the upcoming Chemical Industry Regulations Conference in Nice, France, September 5 – 7, 2017. His presentation, “The 4th ‘P’ of Sustainable Agriculture”, will kick off the Biopesticides Session on September 6. The ‘3 ‘P’s’ for achieving sustainable agriculture are known as “People, Prosperity and Planet” but Mr. Elitzur will introduce the 4th P as ‘Perpetuity’ or the need for ‘perpetual production of food’ in sustainable agriculture programs.

STK practices the 4th ‘P’ by launching its first ever hybrid product REGEV, which combines plant extract biologic formulation with chemical pesticides to to create a highly effective pre-mixed product, thus reducing chemical residues and managing resistance, while at the same time, eliminating the need for mixing or rotating. The hybrid technology allows more farmers to adopt biological solutions and integrate these into their spraying programs. The product from STK represents a bridge between the current chemical programs into a future, where healthier fully-biological programs will be implemented. The hybrids will also introduce biological food protection formulations to row crop growers who are currently less exposed to these products. The new hybrids will be integrated into spraying programs where biologics are currently not in use. In this manner, hybrids will assist in the continuity of food production, while helping growers to evolve toward healthier and safer solutions.
For more information visit: www.stockton-ag.com.

  • Australia: Biology to transform lots of industries

As Dickinson Professor at the California Institute of Technology, Frances Arnold’s research focuses on protein engineering by directed evolution, with varied applications. Prof Arnold delivered the plenary talk at the Royal Australian Chemical Institute Incorporated centenary chemistry congress in Melbourne in July. “Nature is the best chemist and everything in nature comes from a process of evolution, and we should learn how to use nature and evolution to solve human problems and do new chemistry for sustainable living,” Prof Arnold said. “Specially, I evolve new enzymes and biological catalysts in the laboratory to do chemistry that nature never discovered but humans did, and I make enzymes do that so we genetically design new chemistry.” One of the projects Prof Arnold has worked on is replacing pesticides with insect pheromones. “You can spray a few grams of bug pheromone in a field and they can’t find each other, it confuses the males, and you need much less pesticides,” she said. “They can make this at a much lower cost than conventional chemicals. It’s a whole different way of looking at agriculture. You have to produce these molecules and chemists have a hard time doing this at a low enough cost to use in agriculture, so with this new technique we started making these in microbes, using enzymes” Prof Arnold said. “A lot of things we now create using synthetic chemical processes one day can be made in biological systems and it’s going to be a new suite of technology that is available to all industries.

  • USA: Sustainability among cotton’s challenges

Cotton pest

A boll weevil-free growing environment has saved millions of dollars for cotton growers in Mississippi and across the cotton belt as a result of a years-long program to eradicate the pest that has plagued farmers for decades.

“Our goal,” says Craig Brown, National Cotton Council, “ is to convince key people who ultimately send signals on what type of fabric they want in consumer apparel that U.S. cotton is responsibility produced and strives for continuous improvement. “said Craig Brown, vice president for producer affairs for the National Cotton Council at the joint annual meeting of the Mississippi Boll Weevil Management Corporation and the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Cotton Policy Committee. Among the industries efforts, are the continued demonstration to the Environmental Protection Agency that neonicotinoids are being used responsibly by cotton producers, and that they are not harmful to pollinators when used in accordance with labels.

Commenting on the Mississippi Boll Weevil Management boll weevil eradication program, Brown noted that the program has resulted in elimination of the pest across the cotton belt, except for a small area in south Texas and across the Rio Grande River in Mexico. A boll weevilfree growing environment has saved millions of dollars for cotton growers in Mississippi and across the cotton belt as a result of a years-long program to eradicate the pest that has plagued farmers for decades.

Complete eradication for the entire cotton belt is considered within reach, as soon as the boll weevil is eliminated in the lower Rio Grande Valley and across the river in Tamaulipas, Mexico.
Source: http://www.deltafarmpress.com/cotton/sustainability-other-issues-among-cotton-s-challenges

  • …And Finally…US: When biocontrol goes native

Praying mantises are carnivorous insects, generally eating insects or spiders (and notoriously, their mates after mating). On occasions, they consume smaller vertebrates such as frogs, lizards, salamanders or snakes. Zoologists from Switzerland and the U.S. documents have now documented 12 species that preying on small birds in the wild. Aside from the discovery, it seems we humans have unwittingly played. Of the 147 documented cases, more than 70% occurred in the U.S., where mantises grab hummingbirds from feeders. Decades ago alien species of mantises like the European mantis (Mantis religiosa) and the Chinese mantis (Tenodera sinensis) became popular for biological pest control. In theory, using insects to eat the pests is a great idea – in practice, when non-native insects are introduced, things can go awry. Imported mantis species now constitute a new potential threat to hummingbirds and small passerine birds.

Chinese praying mantis

Chinese praying mantis (Tenodera sinensis) with a Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) as her prey. Illinois, USA (Image: courtesy “What’s That Bug?”, Randy Anderson).

For more information: see The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 129(2):331344. 2017 https://doi.org/10.1676/16-100.1

Published in International Pest Control – July/August 2017 issue

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Category: International Pest News, news in brief

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