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International news in brief – July/August 2015

| August 15, 2015
  • Australian: New plan to control fruit fly

The Australian Government’s National Fruit Fly Research, Development and Extension Plan aims to tackle issues ranging from the prevention of exotic pests’ entering the country to finding treatments to replace the agrochemicals dimethoate and fenthion as they are phased out. The combination of chemical withdrawal and loss of area freedoms has placed huge economic and management imposts on producers of fruit fly susceptible commodities. The report warns about the expected impacts of predicted climate change scenarios on fruit fly populations.

The documents is divided into two key sections: one that identifies the industry’s RD&E needs to control fruit fly now and in the future, while the second half details specific recommendations for investment areas. The plan promises to enhance Australia’s capability to manage pests that threatened parts of the country’s AUD$9.3 billion (US$7.2 billion) a year horticulture industry and up to $795 million (US$615 million) in horticultural exports.

  • US: Millions of trees killed by 2015 summer drought (and beetles)

In California’s 33 million acres of forest , 12.5 million brick-coloured pine trees are the starkest evidence of the effect of this year’s drought. According to a survey from the U.S. Forest Service, dead trees cover nearly 1 million acres as a result of the extreme weather. The aerial survey used a digital mapping system to track the devastation in California’s many state and national forests, as well as some private land. The vast majority of dead trees were in the Sierra Nevada (home to Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks). For many of the trees, the cause of death was not just lack of water but from bark beetles that thrive in the warm, dry conditions and feast on the drought-weakened trees and successfully attack when the trees are stressed. Officials are anxious about more than the loss of forest as the acres of dead and dried-out trees are effectively giant patches of tinder.

  • New Zealand: Farmers urged to have their say on future plans for TB

Cattle and deer farmers are being urged to get involved in how the fight against bovine TB is carried out, with a review of the Bovine Tuberculosis Pest Management Plan underway. Since the start of 2000, New Zealand has spent more than $1.2 billion fighting bovine TB and controlling the pests (especially possums) that spread the disease. During June and July, review workshops are being held in around 30 locations throughout New Zealand where proposals can be discussed and feedback noted for later analysis. Some limited farmer surveys will also be undertaken to help capture the full range of ‘farm-gate’ views.

  • UK: New invasive gall wasp hits British sweet chestnuts

Oriental chestnut gall wasp Dryocosmus kuriphilus (OCGW) was discovered in a woodland in Kent, England, in June this year, the first time this pest has been confirmed as present in the UK. A second site has been confirmed with OCGW present in a small number of trees in a single street in Hertfordshire. OCGW is an insect of Asian origin which affects sweet chestnut trees in the Castanea family of trees. The only species of the Castanea family grown in significant numbers in Britain isthe European sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa). It does not attack horse chestnut, or ‘conker’ trees, which belong to the Aesculus family, or any other widely grown trees in Britain.

Asian chestnut gall wasp - Dryocosmus kuriphilus Image courtesy Gyorgy Csoka, Hungary Forest Research Institute,

Asian chestnut gall wasp – Dryocosmus kuriphilus Image courtesy Gyorgy Csoka, Hungary Forest Research Institute,

It is a tree pest because its larvae (immature life stage) cause abnormal growths, called galls, to form on sweet chestnut leaves, twigs and petioles (the stalks which attach the leaf blades to the stems). These green or rose-coloured galls weaken the tree and making it more susceptible to other pests and diseases. They can also reduce nut production, and there is some evidence that it can affect timber production.

The most obvious indication ofOCGW infestation is the presence of the green or rose-coloured galls on leaves. These can grow to 4cm in diameter. No other organism is known to cause galls to form on sweet chestnut trees, so the presence of galls is a reliable indicator of OCGW infestation.

  • US: Lassa Fever death in US.

In May, the Centers for Disease Control has confirmed that one person has died from Lassa Fever, a viral disease that is rarely found in the United States. The CDC reports the patient became ill after returning from Liberia via Morocco to JFK International Airport and was in isolation when he died. Experts say the risk to others is low, but all close contacts of the patient will be monitored for 21 days. It is only the sixth known case of Lassa Fever in travellers returning to the U.S. since 1969.

The virus, which is carried by rodents, causes similar symptoms to Ebola, but is less likely to be fatal or spread from person to person. Lassa fever is a viral disease common in West Africa but rarely seen in the United States. In West Africa, Lassa virus is carried by rodents and transmitted to humans through contact with urine or droppings of infected rodents. In rare cases it can be transmitted from person to person through direct contact with a sick person’s blood or bodily fluids.

  • Australia: New pest website launched

Pest Smart Connect – has been launched by the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre (IA CRC). The tool kit is designed as a one-stop shop of practical knowledge to arm farmers and land managers with the information and connections they needed to combat pest animals such as wild dogs, which have become a really big economic and social issue for Australian farmers. The website is also linked to the FeralScan website and app which provides people with the capability to map pest animal sightings and damage – then to use this information to track and control the problem.

The PestSmart Connect website features pest animal species that have a major impact on biodiversity and agriculture in Australia including wild dogs, foxes, feral cats, rabbits and carp. There are handy guides, videos about trapping and baiting, case studies and links to assistance. The PestSmart Connect website is the culmination of ten years of information gathering and research by the IA CRC – Australia’s largest integrated pest animal management research organisation.

  • Sweden: Non-toxic antimosquito film launched following EU exemption

Silvandersson Sweden AB, a worldwide supplier of environmentally friendly pest control products will, following an exclusive cooperation with Italian B.L. Group, start promoting Aquatain AMF®, a new product for effective mosquito treatments. The main target group will be Swedish municipalities that are especially affected by mosquitos, currently involving distress and suffering for both humans and animals and having a negative impact on both social life as well as various industries and economic growth. Mr.Kenneth Silvandersson explains “Aquatain AMF is a product that has been used and tested in multiple regions worldwide.

In April this year, EU exempted the product from certain regulations that previously hindered it from being available on the Swedish market. The exemption implicates that the product is not considered to be a biocide, as it physically, rather than chemically prevents mosquito reproduction, wherefore registration of the product is not needed. Gratefully, this gives Swedish municipalities an alternative to the commonly used product Vectobac G, which long term effects on the environment is still unclear.

Further, in many important cases, Aquatain AMF involves a superior solution over alternative products, when for instance, it not only effectively treats mosquitos in all life stages (Vectobac G only kills larvae), it is also effective against any mosquito type, which Vectobac G is not. Further, it is easily applied from bottles or tanks and spreads automatically on the treated surface.

  • India: Dengue fever boosts Kiwifruit sales

KiwifruitAn outbreak of dengue fever in Bangalore is driving an increase in kiwifruit sales. Demand for the offering has spiked sharply since the disease became widespread in the Indian city earlier in July, largely due to a popular belief among patients that the fruit’s consumption helps boost the platelet count in the bloodstream. The trend has resulted in a steady rise in price for the fruit across the city. “I had not heard about this fruit but once I started to hear about dengue fever in my area, I also came to know about this fruit,” said a vegetable vendor in Malleshwaram. “Following the demand from consumers I am also now selling this fruit. The rate was around Rs25 (US$0.39) to Rs30 (US$0.47) per piece of fruit. Now it is Rs 40 (US$0.63). Every day I am selling around 40 (pieces of) fruit. Many are taking this fruit as a precautionary measure.” While marketing company Zespri is investing in promotional programmes in India to highlight the nutritional benefits of its kiwifruit offerings, a family physician aid he had never specially prescribed the fruit as a treatment for dengue fever.

  • UK: BCPC Congress 2015 – gets interactive with CRD

This year’s BCPC Congress, organised by the British Crop Production Council, in association with TSGE Forum, will be taking place at the Hilton Metropole, Brighton, UK on 6-7 October 2015.

During Day One, Dave Bench, Director of Chemicals Regulation at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will address working with the Regulation 1107/2009. After the sessions there will be an interactive workshop, entitled, ‘Pesticide Regulation: What are we looking for and how do we get there?’ led by Sarah Shore, Head of Plant Protection Products at HSE. This is open to all registered Congress delegates and will provide a unique opportunity to exchange stakeholder views, to explore expectations and needs for pesticide regulation under 1107/2009 – and discuss first-hand CRD’s views on future developments of the regulatory regime.

“Last year we offered a similar CRD session which proved very popular. A year down the line there is much to report and we are delighted that Sarah has agreed again to present CRD’s views and provide a forum for discussion,” says Dr Colin Ruscoe, Chairman, BCPC.

The comprehensive Congress programme will deliver insight, context and forecasting of EU crop protection regulation in an ever-demanding public and political environment. Details are now available on the dedicated BCPC Congress website at:

Interest in the event is high but some sponsorship and a few exhibitor opportunities are still available for interested companies. Delegate registration is open at
For further information email: TSGE Forum at

  • Iran: Managing pesticide use for better health

In a statement delivered at the 28th Session of the Health and International Cooperation Group of Iran’s Academy of Medical Sciences (IAMS) which focused on the theme of ‘Pesticides and Nutrition’, held in Tehran in July, the FAO Representative to the Islamic Republic of Iran noted that widespread use of pesticides in the country could have a significant impact both on sustainable development and people’s health unless a comprehensive programme is instituted to promote safe food production and consumption. According FAO statistics, 25% of the international production of pesticides is used by developing countries and 99% of the mortality cases caused by exposure to these pesticides are recorded in these countries.

An IPM approach has been advocated to ensure the safety of agriculture produce. Iran has been one of the pioneer countries in the Near East and North Africa region which started the implementation of IPM programmes in April 2004. The United Nations Resident Coordinator expressed the readiness of the UN system to assist the country on pesticides management issues.

In concluding remarks, a FAO representative highlighted the importance of harnessing the substantive contributions that could be made by a wide spectrum of national and international stakeholders and underscored the need for an integrated programme to manage effectively the use of pesticides in the country so as to safeguard the health of people as well as the natural environmental resources of the country.

Published in International Pest Control – July/August 2015 issue

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Category: International Pest News, news in brief

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