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International news in brief – March/April 2018

| April 20, 2018
  • DE: Bayer to sell vegetable seeds business

Bayer is in exclusive talks with BASF on the sale of its entire vegetable seeds business. On 13 Oct 2017, Bayer had already agreed to sell selected Crop Science businesses to BASF for EUR 5.9bn This first package covers Bayer’s global glufosinate-ammonium business and the related LibertyLink technology for herbicide tolerance, essentially all of the company’s field crop seed businesses, and the respective research and development capabilities. The seed businesses being divested include the global cotton seed business (excluding India and South Africa), the oilseed rape/canola business in North America and Europe, and the soybean seed business. Any sales and licences would be subject to a successful closing of the proposed acquisition of Monsanto, which remains subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of required regulatory approvals. The European Commission recently extended the examination deadline for the acquisition until 5 Apr 2018. Bayer is working closely with the authorities worldwide in order to successfully close the transaction in 2Q 2018.
„„Source: Bayer

  • UK: Sweet chestnut blight site in London revealed

The public service provider used by FC (Forestry Commission) to survey areas for any spread of disease, Place Services (Essex County Council) has revealed the exact location of an outbreak of sweet chestnut blight previously reported to be somewhere in ‘east/southeast’ London in July 2017

The Place Services website says: ‘Reason for the surveying was blight having been found on sweet chestnut in Burstead Wood’, a 12-hectare site comprising mature English oak and sweet chestnut coppice with some other broadleaved species, at Bexleyheath (London Borough of Bexley in south east London). This London outbreak, like others occurring near Maidstone in the County of Kent (2015) and in south west England (Devon and Dorset) in 2016/17, may originate from infected trees imported from a French nursery and planted between 2008 and 2011, but not identified by FC and Fera (Fera Science Limited – formerly the Food and Environment Food Agency) during a 2013 trace forward exercise due to insufficient documentation (FERA 2013)

This latest failure to find any movement of disease may provide further reassuring evidence that sweet chestnut blight, caused by the fungus Cryphonectria parasitica is not generally spreading from sites where infected trees, imported from plant nurseries in Europe, have been planted.
„„Source: Dr Terry Mabbett Consultants. E-mail:

  • UK: Stickers for professional pest controllers on the road

BASIS PROMPT has refreshed its vehicle stickers to help members promote their professional credentials on the road. Featuring the distinct blue and white branding, the stickers are being posted out to full and associate members with their renewal packs. The vehicle graphics are the latest offering as part of an ongoing drive to provide materials and resources to support the work and professional status of members – and to encourage them to use the logo in their own marketing materials.

PROMPT registerA logo request form is available for members in the resources section on the new website Launched at PestTech last year, the new site has been designed to provide content that is bespoke to each member. It includes a dedicated login area where members can check their own CPD tally and each event they have attended. The facility also shows the total number of CPD points they need to collect. BASIS PROMPT has also launched a mobile app that provides technicians with an at-a-glance picture of where they’re up to with their training goals – and provides members with an identity card which acts as proof of their credentials.
„Members can find the app at where they can add it to their device’s home screen.

  • EU: Expansion of Certis Europe

Certis Europe BV and Spiess-Urania Chemicals GmbH, two European crop protection subsidiaries of Mitsui & Co., Ltd., have announced their intention to merge into one company, Certis Europe BV, headquartered in Maarssen, Netherlands. The merger will be operational from 1st April 2018. The expanded business will be headed by Mark Waltham, CEO of the existing Certis Europe business.

By combining the two companies, access to the whole of the EU market providing integrated product development, registration, marketing and distribution services will be offered through one company, Certis Europe BV, to its shareholders and suppliers across the region.

Spiess-Urania’s copper chemicals business, headed by Scott Boothey and Dr. Nicolaus-Erik Clausen, will continue under the name of Spiess-Urania Chemicals GmbH after demerging from the crop protection business and will work closely with Kocide LLC, USA to realise existing synergies while remaining as a key supplier and partner to Certis Europe.

  • EU: EC conditionally approves Bayer’s proposed acquisition of Monsanto

In March, the European Commission conditionally approved Bayer’s proposed acquisition of Monsanto. Bayer has now received approvals for the transaction from substantially more than half of the some 30 regulatory authorities, including those in Brazil and China. The conditions cover in particular the divestment of certain Bayer businesses, including the global field crop seeds business such as canola, cotton, and soybean (with minor exceptions restricted to the Asia region), the R&D platform for hybrid wheat, the global vegetable seeds business, the global glufosinate ammonium business as well as certain glyphosate-based herbicides in Europe, predominantly for industrial use.

In addition, Monsanto’s global business with the nematicide NemaStrike must be divested. The conditions also stipulate the transfer of three Bayer research projects in the area of non-selective herbicides and the granting of a licence to Bayer’s digital farming portfolio. BASF is the intended purchaser of these assets. The transaction remains subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of required regulatory approvals. Bayer and Monsanto are working closely with the authorities – including the Department of Justice in the United States – with the goal of closing the transaction in the second quarter of 2018.

  • UK: NPTA announce details for PestTech 2018

The NPTA’s PestTech 2018 exhibition and conference will take place on Wednesday 7th November. Following from the success of last year’s event at the Ricoh Arena Coventry, the 2018 PestTech will move slightly south to the Arena MK at Milton Keynes, a new and very impressive facility.

“After more than 20 years at the Motorcycle Museum, which we had outgrown, last year we took the big decision to move to a specialist exhibition centre at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, which proved to be a big success. The feedback we got was overwhelmingly positive, from both exhibitors and pest controllers who attended”, notes Adam Hawley, NPTA Chairman. “We had hoped to make the Ricoh our new home for the event, but we ran into problems during the negotiations with the venue for this year’s event”. “We were able to have free parking for delegates in 2017, but this turned out to be just an ‘introductory offer’ and the venue refused to offer the same terms for this year,” he continued. “We felt it was very important to continue to offer free entry and free parking for all attendees to this event, as we have been able to offer for so many years before. When the Ricoh refused to play ball on this, we saw no alternative but to look elsewhere. We have been very impressed with the facilities at the Arena MK, so we are greatly looking forward to this year’s event.”
„„For more information visit or email

  • EU: Parliament totally mobilised against chemicals

In an unprecedented move, the European Parliament set up a Special Committee on the Union’s authorisation procedure for pesticides (PEST). This came after a grassroots citizen’s initiative movement raised over 1 million signatures contesting the European Food Safety Agency’s risk asssessment regarding Glyphosate. Citizens did not trust the agency due to industry links. MEPs amplified their voices and set a clear direction: first there should be a complete ban on household use of Glyphosate as well as a farming ban because biological alternatives exist and work well.

This is yet another example at large scale in which products are contested and as a trend, it will have an impact on the use of insecticides in public health situations. The only way forward is the clear differentiation and understanding between professional use of a substance versus private, household use.
„„Source: The Confederation of European Pest Management Associations (CEPA)

  • EU: Vigilance needed to stop citrus black spot

Copa and Cogeca sent a letter to the EU Commission in February urging them to be vigilant to prevent the introduction of black spot in the EU via imports this year. Copa and Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen explained “Latest reports show that as many as 36 cases of citrus black spot were intercepted at the borders in 2017, with two thirds of them coming from South Africa. This is a big rise on levels seen in 2016, after the EU relaxed the rules. This runs contrary to the objectives set out in the EU monitoring programme EUROPHYT which aims to protect the EU against the introduction of new pests and plant diseases”. “Unless the EU is vigilant this year, there is a serious risk that it will enter the EU.

Black spot is a disease that is not present in Europe and its presence could have a disastrous impact on the citrus sector in producer countries where it is very important both economically and socially”, Pesonen added. Based on advice from the EU Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the EC Decision 2014/422 stated that controls should be stepped up after the 6th interception in the same year. In view of the rising numbers, Copa and Cogeca urge the EU to refer to this decision and make sure that exceptional measures are taken when the level of interceptions exceeds a certain level and that rules are strengthened.

  • AR: 15th Jornadas Tecnicas in Argentina set for 22nd and 23rd May

Many pest management professionals, not only from Argentina but for many other Latin American countries are expected to converge on Argentina again in May, for the 15th Jornadas Tecnicas, hosted by Chemotecnica. With parallel sessions, the event will include a symposium on Latin American pest control and also a Workshop on Food Industry. This key event is a showcase for the progress of the pest control market in Argentina and is vital in showing both Argentinians and the wider Latin American visitors s how the market has developed and the latest tools to improve professionalization of the sector. The environmental health business is growing in South America and all are invited to visit or participate.
„„For more information visit

  • NENA: Fall Armyworm (FAW) Status in Near East and North African (NENA) countries

Fall Armyworm (spodoptera frugiperda) is an insect native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas. Its larval stage feeds on more than 80 plant species, including maize, rice, sorghum, millet, sugarcane, vegetable crops, and cotton. FAW can cause significant yield losses if not well managed. It can have many generations per year and the moth can fly up to 100 km per night.

FAW was first detected in Central and Western Africa in early 2016 and since then has been reported and confirmed in all of mainland Southern Africa (except Lesotho), Madagascar, and Seychelles (Island State). To-date, FAW has been detected and reported in almost all of Sub-Saharan Africa, except in Djibouti, Eritrea, and Lesotho. For the FAW Situation in NENA countries, FAW was detected and confirmed in several states of Sudan (Blue Nile, Gedaref, Sinnar, River Nile and Khartoum States) at the end of 2017. Since the pest was detected in Sudan, it is very important that Egypt, Libya and Yemen must be on alert. The Regional Office for the Near East and North Africa (RNE) is monitoring the FAW status closely and it has been providing the support for emergence management and surveillance programme in Sudan in addition to providing 500 pheromone trap kits that will help to monitor the situation for three months.

FAW is a dangerous trans boundary pest with a high potential to continually spread due to its natural distribution capacity and trade. Farmers will need significant support to sustainably manage FAW in their cropping systems through Integrated Pest Management.
„„Source: Arab & Near East Plant Protection Newsletter (ANEPPNEL) No.73 April.

  • AU: Scientists confirm a new and improved mega-pest

The cotton bollworm, widespread in Africa, Asia and Europe and which causes damage to over 100 crops, including corn, cotton, tomato and soybean and the corn earworm, a native of the Americas with a comparatively limited resistance and host range, has potentially combined, in a novel hybrid with unlimited geographical boundaries.

Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) researchers in a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA provides clear evidence of the hybridisation of the two moths in Brazil.

“A hybrid such as this could go completely undetected should it invade another country,” Research Director leading CSIRO’s Biosecurity Risk Evaluation and Preparedness Program Dr Paul De Barro said. “It is critical that we look beyond our own backyard to help fortify Australia’s defence and response to biosecurity threats.

While a combination of insecticides currently controls these pests well in Australia, it is important to study the pests themselves for sustainable long-term management world-wide. The scientists confirmed that among the group of caterpillars studied, every individual was a hybrid. A concerning finding among the Brazilian hybrids was that one was 51% earworm but included a known resistance gene from the bollworm.

Lead author of the paper Dr Craig Anderson, a former CSIRO scientist now based at The University of Edinburgh, believes the hybrid study has wide-ranging implications for the agricultural community across the Americas.
„„Source: CSIRO Australia

  • FAO: Managing locusts with drones

Represented by the Desert Locust Control Commissions in the Western (CLCPRO), Central Region (CRC) and the Desert Locust Information Service (DLIS), the FAO in cooperation with the specialized company HEMAV, has tested the use of drones in Desert Locust surveys and control operation. The assessment was conducted in Nouakchott, Mauritania, in early March. The results of the assessment were positive with the need for some adjustments to suit user in this area.

  • And Finally…CA: AnimalKind Pest Control

In British Colombia, Canada, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BC SPCA) has developed an animal welfare accreditation program to help people choose pest control companies that have a more humane approach to dealing with pests. Pest control is a growing industry currently valued at about $400 million in Canada but according to Dr. Sara Dubois, Chief Scientific Officer for the BC SPCA, many companies use the word humane in their marketing but there can be doubts over their definition of humane. AnimalKind accredited companies focus on quickly and effectively removing wildlife such as raccoons, squirrels, birds or skunks and preventing future problems instead of using poisons, glue traps or methods that cause animals to die slow, agonizing deaths.

Animal Kind BCSPCAAt Wild ARC, the BC SPCA’s wildlife rehabilitation centre, Dr. Dubois said they receive many animals that have suffered due to inhumane pest management practices. Examples include young raccoons and squirrels who were orphaned when their mothers were trapped and songbirds who are brought in stuck to glue traps.

Accredited companies follow AnimalKind’s evidence-based standards and the BC SPCA audits companies every year to check they are meeting the standards. The standards and audit are both certified by the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO).

Published in International Pest Control – March/April 2018 issue

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Category: International Pest News, news in brief

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