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International news in brief – September/October 2017 issue

| September 22, 2017
  • UK: Ubiqutek™ launches professional RootWave™ hand-weeder

Featured at last year’s October Amenity Conference, Ubiqutek has launched the RootWave Pro, an award winning professional hand-weeder designed to spot weed and treat invasive species. The RootWave Pro zaps weeds with electricity and is presented as an alternative to chemical use. Generating heat directly within the weed ensures that no energy is wasted and the roots are always treated, making the product an economical and sustainable solution for weed management. RootWave Pro uses electricides to treat deep into the roots making it ideal for treating any weed, including the toughest invasive species. RootWave Pro is available to hire as well as buy.
For more information visit: or

  • USA: New ortho® home defense® bed bug trap

Home defense

Ortho Home Defense Provides a Straightforward and Comprehensive Product Line to Fight Bed Bugs

With news reports of bed bug infestations on the rise across the country, Ortho has unveiled its Ortho® Home Defense® Bed Bug Trap. Developed in partnership with Drs. Gerhard and Regina Gries at Simon Fraser University, the trap’s attractant pheromone was developed to lure, trap and detect bed bugs quickly. In conjunction with the trap launch, Ortho commissioned a new survey to uncover fears about bed bugs. It seems nearly 58% would rather be naked in public than have bed bugs. The portable, pesticide-free trap uses a newly identified, patent-pending attractant pheromone to lure bed bugs out of hiding by tricking them into thinking they have reached a safe shelter. If bed bugs are present, the trap captures them permanently in a sticky pad, allowing users to quickly and confidently confirm their presence through a viewing window.
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  • Pakistan: Papaya pest squashed through biocontrol

Papaya once covered some 921 hectares in the two coastal Pakistan provinces, according to the National Agriculture Research Council (NARC) but a severe infestation of the papaya mealybug (Paracoccus marginatus) nearly wiped out papaya orchards. A system was developed by agro-biotechnologists and entomologists at the Pakistani chapter of CABI to replace conventional pesticides with the use of Acerophagus papayae, a parasitoid (insects whose larvae parasite upon and eventually kill the host). In 2014, under CABI’s papaya pest management programme, A. papayae specimens were collected from the coastal areas, reared in the laboratory and then released into papaya plantations after screening and environmental assessments. CABI researchers also set up a Natural Enemies Field Reservoir on the farmers’ fields to breed the parasitoid as well as eight other natural predators of the papaya mealybug.

PapayaThe plan is to boost research and development to strengthen the bio-control process to completely contain papaya mealybug. The provinces’ farmers’ organisations and vegetable and fruit traders’ associations will also be engaged in this regard as key stakeholders. Controlling the papaya mealybug has helped contain its potential spread to commercial crops like citrus, tomato, aubergine, peppers, mulberry, beans and peas, sweet potato, mango, cherry, and pomegranate. Annual losses, had these crops been affected, would have run into millions of dollars. The bio-control approach has saved the papaya (farming) and also increased profits by reducing expenses on the pesticide sprays once used to fight the pest.
Source: Taken from an original article – part of a series on invasive species supported by CABI

  • Kenya: Farmers find respite from ravages of striga weed

The striga weed that has been endemic in bread basket of western Kenya is to blame for reduced maize harvest while escalating food insecurity and poverty among households. It can survive in the soils for a lengthy period while insufficient knowledge among farmers has worsened its spread. Maize farmers in Western Kenya were at some point forced to abandon cultivation of the critical staple due to striga weed attack amid absence of interventions to contain it such as herbicides.

A new maize variety, Imazapyr resistant herbicide – coated seed – kills striga before it damages the crop. The seed, that sells under the name StrigAway is coated with low doses of the herbicide that is attached to the maize roots stimulating germinating maize, killing striga seeds before causing any damage. The herbicide that is not absorbed by the maize plant diffuses into the soil and kills striga seeds that have not germinated.

So far 100,000 farmers are planting the new seed variety in a 25,000 hectares piece of land. In Africa, the invasion affects 1.5 million hectares of land and over 40 million hectares across Sub Saharan Africa (SSA). A total of 3 million U.S. dollars has been given to Kenya Seed, Freshco and Elgon in Kenya, Meru Agro and Tanseed and Naseco and Victoria in Tanzania and Uganda respectively through AATF to speed up the production of seeds.

Imazapyr Resistant Maize (IR Maize) that is now selling as StrigAway was developed by scientists from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), Weizmann Institute for Science, and BASF chemical company.

  • NL: King Willem-Alexander opens the Koppert Experience Center

On 14th September, King Willem-Alexander visited the Koppert site at Berkel And Rodenrijs, NL to open the new developed ‘experience center’. Following the opening ceremony, directors Paul Koppert and Henri Oosthoek led the King through the Experience Centre and the displays of insects, mites, and microbiological solutions that the company produces and deploys in agriculture and horticulture. King Willem-Alexander went on to attend the start of the international ‘Partners with Nature Seminar’ which Koppert organized as part of the jubilee celebrations. The family business started fifty years ago with the idea of combating the so-called ‘plaaginects’ that affect crops, with natural enemies rather than with chemical agents. Koppert looks for solutions that occur in nature and produces products that are used by professional growers. Over the years, the company has grown into an international company with 25 subsidiaries. The information centre has emerged from an increasing need to provide visitors with insights into the world of biological crop protection.

Interactively, growers, research institutions, students and governments from home and abroad will get information about, among other things, Koppert’s vision, research and development and production process.

  • Spain: Artificial intelligence for agricultural pest control

For the second consecutive year, Spain’s agricultural ministry has launched a pilot experiment using artificial intelligence techniques (AI) to anticipate the evolution of the olive fly pest. Having access to predictive information on the behaviour of pests is a very powerful tool for technicians and farmers with a view to integrated pest management, since it allows for better decision making, knowing the areas and dates of greater risk and impact, and designing control measures in a more efficient and sustainable manner. To do this, data collected by the Andalusian Plant Protection and Information Network (RAIF) on this pest and on other crop parameters is analysed and fed into an artificial intelligence model that is able to predict the pest’s behaviour up to four weeks in advance, through machine-learning techniques.

This pilot project benefits the Integrated Olive Production Associations (APIs) who will receive a weekly analysis that includes a prediction of the percentage of olives that will be eaten by the fly, as a parameter to take into account for integrated pest management. The APIs will provide weekly information on the status of the pest and the crop in their member farms, that will in turn serve to improve the predictive model. In total there are 12 Integrated Production groups, with 9,000 hectares of olive groves, so this experience will benefit 1,568 farmers in 10 municipalities.

  • EU: 40 countries are affected by the scandal with fipronil infected eggs

Eggs contaminated with the insecticide fipronil have been discovered in 40 countries, including 24 of the European Union’s 28 member states, a German news agency DPA reported on on 6th September, without citing its sources. Millions of eggs have been pulled from European supermarket shelves, though some national regulators have voiced concern that many contaminated eggs have already entered the food chain, mainly through processed products such as biscuits, cakes and salads. Allegedly a spokeswoman for the European Commission confirmed that the only EU member states so far unaffected are Lithuania, Portugal, Cyprus and Croatia. The non-EU states in which contaminated eggs have been discovered include the United States, Russia, South Africa and Turkey. Dutch and Belgian authorities traced the source of the insecticide to a supplier of cleaning products in the Netherlands. Two Dutch men who ran the cleaning company Chickfriend were arrested last month. While many contaminated eggs would need to be eaten to affect health, fipronil is considered moderately toxic and can cause organ damage in humans. It is widely used to treat pets for ticks and fleas but its use in the food chain – for example, to clean out barns – is forbidden.

  • Belgium: Award for Biobest’s Asperello biofungicide

A new biofungicide from Biobest and Biocontrol Technologies, Asperello™ T34 Biocontrol®, won a prestigious 2017 Silver Innovation Award within the production horticulture category at the international Salon du Végétal trade fair. With multiple modes of action, the new biofungicide, contains the unique strain Trichoderma asperellum T34 which colonises plant roots to form a protective barrier against pathogens to support healthy root growth. Triggering a plants’ natural defence mechanisms, while parasitizing and actively killing pathogens, the product offers outstanding biological protection against root diseases such as Pythium and Fusarium. Yann Jacques of Biobest said; “The interest in biological solutions for the ornamentals market is growing rapidly. Soil borne diseases remain a key challenge. We are pleased with recognition by the jury at Salon du Vegetal − made up of leading researchers, growers, suppliers and journalists.” In the United States, Asperello™ T34 Biocontrol® is registered for the use in greenhouse ornamentals against Fusarium, Pythium, Phytophthora and Rhizoctonia. In France, it is registered for the entire ornamental sector (under protection) against Fusarium and for Pythium control in tomato, sweet peppers and eggplants; in Belgium, for annual ornamentals against Fusarium and against Pythium in those vegetables. With the support of the ornamentals sector, the application range was recently extended to all in and outdoor ornamentals (in closed circuit irrigation). In the Netherlands, the product is officially registered only against Fusarium in carnations and against Pythium in key vegetables.

  • France: Epidemiological update on Chikungunya

As of 30 August 2017, France had reported six confirmed autochthonous chikungunya cases and one probable case, all living in the same neighbourhood in Cannet-des-Maures (Var). At the time of print, there were no reports of imported chikungunya cases in the Var or Alpes-Maritimes Departments that could account for the introduction of the virus in the area. French authorities have implemented successive vector control campaigns, case finding, blood safety measures, community measures for personal protection and vector control, and widely sensitised the public and physicians to this cluster of chikungunya cases.

Aedes albopictus is established in the southern part of France and in regions of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Italy, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Malta, Montenegro, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland (see VectorNet map). The report of a cluster of autochthonous chikungunya cases in areas of Europe where Aedes albopictus is established is not unexpected during the summer months, when environmental conditions are favourable for mosquitoes. In previous years, France detected several autochthonous clusters of chikungunya and dengue and has acquired experience in managing such clusters.

This cluster is currently limited to cases infected within a 200-metre radius during a period of three weeks. However, further transmission in the area is unlikely as a result of the vector control measures implemented in the affected area. The risk for a large expansion of the transmission area is very low.

  • USA: Oxitec’s solution to tackle growing diamondback moth pest begins field trials

UK company Oxitec Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Intrexon Corporation has announced that field trials of its genetically engineered diamondback moth have commenced following the Finding Of No Significant Impact (FONSI) recently issued by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Farmers globally are struggling to control the diamondback moth (DBM), a non-native species in the USA and the world’s most damaging agricultural pest of brassica crops. This highly invasive pest costs farmers over $4b yearly in crop losses and control management. DBM has a diverse set of mechanisms for insecticide resistance and is considered one of the most difficult pests to control. Since its reported resistance to DDT in 1953, DBM has developed resistance to other widely-used insecticides including spinsosad, indoxacarb, chlorinated hydrocarbons, carbamates, organophosphates and pyrethroids. DBM is also one of the first agricultural pests to have evolved resistance in the field to Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) proteins.

Tony Shelton, Ph.D., Professor of Entomology at Cornell University will lead field evaluation at the university’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. Oxitec’s platform has been successful in rapidly suppressing and eliminating the diamondback moth population and holds substantial promise as an effective, versatile control option against this agricultural pest. The engineered moth (OX4319L) represents one of several self-limiting insect technologies that is being developed by Oxitec and Intrexon Crop Protection to manage hard-to-control or resistant crop pests.

  • UK: Insect Pest Control Market projected to grow at a CAGR of 5.67%”

The global insect pest control market is projected to grow significantly from an estimated value of USD12.46b in 2016 to USD17.35b by 2022, at a CAGR of 5.67%. The insect pest control market is driven by government regulations on food hygiene, public health, and environmental health and the growing public awareness; the need to improve service quality for customers are expected to provide an impetus for innovative pest control solutions. Lack of skilled technicians and delayed regulatory approval process for chemical products in different applications (such as residential, commercial, and industrial areas) have been considered as restraining factors for the market.
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  • UK: Drone attacked by Asian hornets at Jersey nest

A fire service drone was attacked by Asian hornets as it was sent to scout out a nest. It happened as crews used infrared and high resolution cameras to take a closer look at it on behalf of Jersey’s Department for the Environment. Drawn by the sound of propellers, the hornets “swarmed out”, spraying the drone with venom, operators said. It was the first larger “secondary nest” found in the Channel Islands, thought to contain about 6,000 hornets. The nest was hidden 60ft up a tree. The drone, was being used for reconnaissance for pest control as they made plans to remove it. Bob Hogge, of the Jersey Beekeepers Association, said: “It is vital that we get rid of the nest in the next few weeks before the queens emerge because there are about 200 queens in each nest and once they’re out and mated they’re lost to us. And if each one of those makes a nest like this one, very soon the island will be overrun.” He said there could be as many as four other secondary nests on the island, formed after a queen creates enough (hornet) drones in a smaller initial nest.

  • India: Pest control professionals have key role in public health.

“The pest control industry in the country has a role to play in areas of civic health management and protecting food grain from rodents”, industrialist and United Phosphorus Limited Chairman R D Shroff said on Saturday. “Pest control professionals must participate in government efforts to control diseases spread by pests and also educate people on the importance of pest control”, Shroff said. Shroff was speaking as the chief guest at IndiaPest 2017, the 50th annual golden jubilee conference of the Indian Pest Control Association in the city. The three-day conference has drawn pest control professionals from across the country. Shroff said India, being a populous country, was vulnerable to diseases spread by pests and controlling the menace can greatly help in maintaining public health. India is the largest producer of foodgrain in the world and yet loses a huge part of it to rodents, Shroff said, adding that the country could use effective pest control to deal with this contradiction.

  • USA: The legal view of mattress encasements and their role in IPM

Product manufacturers and pest management professionals (PMP) typically advance the narrative that mattress encasements serve a role in bed bug prevention. While encasements serve as a tool in the PMP’s toolbox for assisting in the prevention of progression of bed bugs by limiting their ingress and egress from the bedding covered, the primary function of the product, is that it protects the asset—the mattress. The asset protection function of the product is also limited to integrity of the encasement.

Mattress encasementsSince encasements have no insecticidal products that kill bed bugs, their usefulness is limited to protecting the mattress from stains, preventing bed bugs from creating harbourage sites on the new mattress and keeping bed bugs that are encased in an existing mattress from escaping. The hotel must understand the limitations of encasements and cannot rely on the manufacturer’s marketing narrative that encasements prevent new introductions of bed bugs or remediate existing bed bugs that are not trapped within the product. Understanding the role of encasements in the world of IPM and their limitations is important. The encasement kills and exterminates absolutely nothing. The PMP has a duty to educate their customer on the difference between asset protection and human protection. A bed bug that hides in the headboard, footboard, carpet, behind the moulding or couch will still be able to have the same access to its host with or without an encasement. The legal implication of relying on them as a standalone or primary preventive measure will surely land the hotel in legal turmoil.
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  • USA: When vector management meets pollinator protection

Managing mosquito and tick populations and protecting the health of pollinators are growing concerns on a global scale, but success in both requires teamwork on the local level. A cross-disciplinary task force of scientists, government agencies, and industry stakeholders convened by the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign has examined common vector-management and pollinator-protection practices and urges community-level connection among professionals in both fields. “Different localities generally have different vector and pathogen species and different pollinator species,” they note.  Findings from the group’s research have been published in the Journal of Medical Entomology.

Vector-control practices based on the principles of integrated pest management (IPM) already aim to minimize impact on non-target organisms, but the complexities of conditions in any given area necessitate close coordination with local pollinator experts to develop effective strategies. As just one example, application of granular (rather than sprayed) pesticide for tick management minimizes impact on pollinating insects on flowers, but it can potentially harm soil-nesting insects such as some bees and wasps. Pollinator experts with knowledge of local nesting sites can inform such vector-control decisions.
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  • Italy: SBM takes over marketing and sales of Valagro’s Gardening Products in the EU and USA

Valagro, a leader in the production and marketing of biostimulants and specialty nutrients, and SBM Company, an international group dedicated to plant protection and Home & Garden care, have signed a partnership agreement. Thanks to this agreement SBM Company will take over marketing and sales activities of Valagro’s gardening products in the European and the US markets, through its Home & Garden entity, SBM Life Science.

The deal, which goes into effect on October 1st, 2017, will allow SBM Life Science to commercialize a hundred references developed by Valagro, including notably NutriOne brand and range in Italy and Spain, MaxiCrop brand and range in the UK and Italy, and Max Greentherapy brand and range in Italy. Furthermore, the agreement provides for the launch, in 2019, of several gardening solutions developed by Valagro within other key markets in Europe and the US. Following this agreement, SBM will become the sole supplier of Valagro’s garden products.
Source: Press release

  • Africa: Could biopesticides halt huge maize losses if Fall Armyworm poorly managed

CABI has confirmed (on (7 September 2017) that Fall Armyworm (FAW) has been reported in 28 African countries, following the pest’s arrival in Africa in 2016, presenting a now permanent agricultural challenge for the continent. FAW feeds on more than 80 crops, but prefers maize and can cut yields by up to 60%. In research funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), CABI now estimates the pest will cost just ten of the continent’s major maize producing economies in Africa a total of $2.2bn to $5.5bn a year in lost maize harvests – if the pest is not properly managed.

Farmers face the risk of the pest developing resistance to treatment, which has become a widespread problem in the Americas. Biopesticides are a lower risk control option, but few of the biopesticides used in the Americas are yet approved for use in Africa, raising the need for urgent local trials, registration and the development of local production.

“Research is urgently needed, and a huge awareness and education effort is required so that farmers monitor their fields, and can make decisions on whether and how to control,” said Dr Roger Day, CABI’s Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Coordinator. “Resource poor farmers are often unwilling or unable to buy the appropriate safety equipment and in some cases, they use pesticides without appropriate application equipment. Farmers may also be disinclined to use safety equipment when hot weather makes it extremely uncomfortable. Recognizing that farmers will still want to use pesticides, specific measures are needed to make lower risk biopesticides more accessible,” said Dr Day.

  • EU: Worries over Bayer-Monsanto merger.

The deal, announced a year ago, was to achieve closure by 2017 end. However, regulators in EU, US, Brazil and India are yet to approve the $66 billion merger and it is likely the closure date will extend beyond the end of 2017. A full investigation into the Bayer-Monsanto merger was declared by the European Commission on 22 Aug 2017. The merger was filed on 30 Jun 2017 to the Commission. The agency has until 8 Jan 2018 to release a ruling on the merger. According to the terms of the deal announced in September last year, Bayer pledged to pay Monsanto $2 billion if regulators blocked the deal. However, sources say both companies are optimistic about the approvals coming through, though they may be delayed slightly and hence the two firms will agree on extending the time for the merger to close.

European anti-trust authorities raised concerns that the deal would “reduce competition in a number of different markets, resulting in higher prices, lower quality, less choice and less innovation” hence the probe into German chemical giant Bayer’s $66 billion purchase of Monsanto, as the mega-merger will reshape the global agri-business industry, creating the world’s largest supplier of seeds and crop chemicals. The future giant would be the most integrated agrochemicals player, with the strongest global footprint in seeds and traits, and would have the biggest pesticide offering globally.
Source: and others

  • USA: DowDuPont merger successfully completed

DowDuPont announced the successful completion of the merger of equals between The Dow Chemical Company and EI du Pont de Nemours & Company, effective 31 Aug 2017. The combined entity is operating as a holding company under the name “DowDuPont” with three divisions – Agriculture, Materials Science and Specialty Products.
Original source: Dow, website:

  • USA: AgShift and Marrone Bio Innovations to assess impact of biological pesticides

Marrone Bio Innovations has joined a pilot project with AgShift, a Santa-Clara based agriculture technology startup, to assess the impact of the use of biological pesticides on the quality of fresh produce. AgShift has developed a new digital tool to assess the quality of fresh produce that MBI is piloting to determine the effectiveness of its biopesticides.

This pilot test is being implemented on strawberries in California. The project will more efficiently produce digital and visual records of crop input treatments, such as biopesticides and the resulting correlations with the produce quality. The project will also analyse the impact of other external factors, such as weather, soil and irrigation patterns on produce quality.

There is currently a digital revolution in agriculture with both large multinationals and startup companies seeking to help farmers increase productivity and profits by organizing and analyzing on-farm data, including yield, soil test, fertility, chemicals, traits and seed varieties. The application of “big data”, sensors, precision tools and robotics to improve and enhance pest management tools and decisions is just beginning. The use of these and digital tools in the use of biological pesticides is in its infancy.
For more information visit:

  • And Finally…USA: The Mosquito Defeating Sports Chair

At last a personal protection device that is comfortable and practical. This folding chair is designed to shield the sitter from mosquitoes and other nuisance flying insects. The polyester chair is covered by a canopy with four sides comprised of 1.0mm-wide super-fine netting. Building on concerns about insect-borne diseases such as Zika and West Nile virus the chair provides continuous, nontoxic and environmentally friendly coverage without DEET or fragrances, while still allowing cooling cross breezes. The polyester canopy provides 50+ UPF protection and provides a shade that blocks light rain. The chair’s steel legs comfortably support up to 113Kg/250 lbs and the netting unzips to allow easy entry and exit (that’s handy). Assembly required.
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Published in International Pest Control – September/October 2017 issue

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Category: International Pest News, news in brief

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