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International news in brief – November/December 2015

| December 9, 2015
  • UK: World’s largest production site for beneficial nematodes

With the opening of its expanded Littlehampton, UK production site, BASF is strengthening its ability to meet the growing global demand for biological solutions for agriculture and horticulture. At this site, BASF increases its production volumes of beneficial nematodes and inoculants, moving ahead with its strategy to develop solutions beyond conventional crop protection.

“We are making significant investments in innovating and delivering the best in biological and chemical solutions. This will support our customers to produce more efficiently with an even better outcome while meeting the evolving expectations of society. Now and for the long-term we are committed to being an innovative partner in this dynamic area,” said Philipp Rosendorfer, Vice President R&D Functional Crop Care.

The expansion will allow BASF to double production capacities for beneficial nematodes, which are microscopic organisms that can control a diverse range of insect and slug pests. With six different types of beneficial nematodes, BASF offers a unique global portfolio, including the Nemaslug® and Nemasys® products, each with a distinctive mode of action for customers in vegetable, horticulture, and turf.

“The demand for our beneficial nematodes has increased significantly over the past five years, with 2014 being our best year to date,” explained Graeme Gowling, Global Biologicals Marketing, Functional Crop Care. “Our customers see an increasingly important role in using beneficial nematodes in IPM programs, as they are easy to apply, have a longer window of activity and can effectively control yieldrobbing pests,” concluded Graeme.

  • Taiwan:  Snoopy, Miffy and Oatmeal help eradicate fire ants at Taoyuan airport

Three beagles trained by National Changhua University of Education may be among Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport’s most accomplished employees, having successfully detected colonies of red imported fire ants over the past five years. The work of the detector dogs, which have been under contract since 2011, has helped airport management eradicate most of the stinging insects. According to the airport administration, nine-yearold Snoopy, seven-year-old Miffy and four-year-old Oatmeal start their daily four-hour shifts at around 5 am and spend their time sniffing out red fire ant colonies at the airport’s manhole covers and navigation aided lighting facilities. Excluding runways, parking aprons and terminal buildings, the 616-hectare airport area is divided into 94 red fire ant prevention zones, and only one zone on the airport’s periphery continues to have scattered ant colonies. The invasive pests have plagued Taiwan for the past 10 years, mostly in areas with high degrees of moisture. The Taoyuan airport, located near Taiwan’s northwestern coast, found itself infested with numerous ant mounds and unsighted ant colonies years ago, and its management moved to eradicate them because the red fire ants could cause serious damage to electrical equipment. Once the detector dogs locate where ant colonies exist, pest control personnel use potato chips to lure the ants out of their nests and kill them with pesticides.

  • Scotland: Clamp down on illegal pest control and raptor persecution

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has introduced General Licence restrictions in areas of confirmed wildlife crime, after four grouse moors came under suspicion of illegally killing raptors. SNH restricted the use of General Licences on four properties in two wildlife crime hotspots in Stirlingshire and Borders in early November – sites where they believe there is sufficient evidence of crimes against birds of prey in recent years. The decision was based on evidence of wildlife crime against wild birds provided by Police Scotland. General licences allow landowners or land managers to carry out actions which would otherwise be illegal, including controlling common species of wild birds such as crows and Magpies to protect crops or livestock. The new measure complements other recent actions to reduce wildlife crime, including the introduction of vicarious liability for offences against wild birds in 2011. Restrictions will prevent people from using the general licences on the land in question for three years. This period will increase if more evidence of offences comes to light.
Source: . The full licence restrictions are available at

  • USA: Terminix expansion

Mid November, Terminix announced the acquisition of Alterra Pest Control, one of the largest pest control companies in the U.S. Alterra was founded in 2012 by David Royce and employs 400 people in 22 branches across 15 states. Terminix is a subsidiary of Memphis-based ServiceMaster. “It was an easy decision to sell to Terminix,” Royce said. “We built this company with core values based on exceptional customer service, environmental responsibility and, above all, a positive team mentality. We were only interested in finding a company that met these high standards and made commitments to develop our employees and meet the expectations of our customers.” Terminix will continue to operate the company under the Alterra name. This is the latest acquisition the company has made in the last 12 months. Terminix has also acquired Ace Pest Control, Atlanta Pest Control, Bug Busters, Cabot Pest Control, Capelouto Termite and Pest Control, and Excel Pest Control. “By adding Alterra’s customers and employees to Terminix, we build on our already strong presence in the residential pest market,” said Bill Derwin, president of Terminix. “This acquisition is a perfect complement to our existing business and enables us to leverage our technical expertise, marketing strength and systems to bring value to these new customers.”

  • Canada: Disease carrying mosquito found in British Columbia

A mosquito that is both invasive and able to carry a number of serious diseases, including La Crosse encephalitis and West Nile virus, has been found in stagnant water in Western Canada. This is the first sighting of the species Aedes japonicas, a native to Asia that scientists believe was brought in from the U.S. as a result of human action. According to a study published in the Journal of Entomology, the mosquito could be a significant threat to the health of humans and domestic animals, and its population should be monitored. They believe that the mosquito is now established in the Lower Mainland region and will likely be found in other parts of B.C. The species was discovered after a resident of Maple Ridge called a Vancouver hotline in July 2014, reporting mosquito larvae in stagnant water caught in a garden tarpaulin. Researchers from Simon Fraser University and Burnaby pest control company, Culex Environmental Ltd. investigated and collected larvae of the species. Returning in February this year, they discovered over 200 adult mosquitos.

Although the study says the mosquito could pose a significant threat, Dr. Michael Jackson, one of its authors who works at Culex, said there’s almost no risk to the public. The mosquito is capable of carrying particular diseases only if that disease is present, and none of the diseases it carries are present.

  • Australia

Landowners are being urged to help monitor rabbit numbers during the run up to next autumn’s release of a Korean strain of the Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus, known as RHDV1 K5. K5 is expected to boost the effectiveness of the current RHDV1 strain released in 1996. Invasive Animals CRC chief executive officer Andreas Glanznig said the more people who were involved across Australia, the more the effective pest management could be delivered. “We are asking all Australian’s to get involved and help us monitor rabbit numbers” Mr Glanznig said. “Rabbits don’t stop at fence lines and we need landholders, Landcare groups and councils alike to take a coordinated community-led approach to assist in monitoring the effectiveness of our management methods. “An integrated approach is crucial – K5 is not a silver bullet. The data collected by the community will be used to provide advice for land managers and farmers on the effectiveness of their management programs and best practice approaches for future management methods.” Anyone wanting to be involved in monitoring rabbits can also download the free RabbitScan App to their phone and contribute to a rabbit sightings map maintained by the Invasive Animals CRC.
Find out more via:

  • USA: New EPA pesticide related websites

EPA’s pesticide websites have a new look, feel, and address. With the new pesticides web- sites, information should now be easier than ever to access, regardless of the type of electronic device used, including tablets and smartphones. With the transition to the new site completed, web page addresses will be different. This may cause previous links and bookmarks to break and EPA is working to fix any broken links. The majority of the old pesticide pages will redirect to the new web areas.

Below are the updated URLs for some of the most popular web areas:
Pesticide Registration –
Bed Bugs –
Worker Safety –
Pollinator Protection –
Endangered Species –
Biopesticides –
Pesticide Labels –
Managing Pests in School –
Pesticide Safety for Consumers –

  • France: Paintballing pine tree pests

M2i Life Sciences has been presented with an Enterprises & Environment Prize in the Innovation category, at the inaugural Paris World Efficiency show and congress, for its innovative solution using pheromone paintball technique to manage Pine Processionnary Moth (Thaumetopoea pityocampa) that affects over 300,000 ha of forest and 67% of French municipalities.
The pest, besides its impact on pinewood forests, is a major public health concern because the hairs produced by the larvae are highly irritant and dangerous for people and animals. M2i has developed a process to deliver a pheromone mating disruption solution, when during the flight period for the adult moths, the air is saturated with a large amount of the insect specific sex pheromone. This prevents males and females from detecting each other and therefore limiting mating and thus egg laying and caterpillar emergence.
The M2i approach micro-encapsulates the active pheromone ingredient in a natural wax emulsion which allows for a prolonged and controlled release over time. The pheromone formulated gel is inserted into biodegradable paintballs (developed by the French company Polytek) that are then propelled onto trees over 10m in height (the higher the pheromone is deposited the more effective it will be) and thus spread throughout the plot. The release is claimed to be 120 days which covers the entire life cycle of the pest.
This solution is currently the subject of an experiment on multiple sites in France in collaboration with INRA as part of an Eco Phyto program started in July 2014.
For more information visit: and

  • Japan: Pest management among Japan’s climate change adaptation plan

In October, Japan unveiled a draft of its first 10-year plan to ease the effects of global warming, that cannot be prevented just by cutting emissions, including building levees against floods and countering rice diseases with new technology. The government aims to adopt the climate change adaptation plan by Cabinet approval before the U.N. climate change conference opens in Paris at the end of November, as it has lagged behind other countries such as the United States, China, South Korea and major European nations in formulation one. With Japan’s average temperature forecast to climb by as much as 4.4C through this century and the risk of major rivers flooding increasing by 1.8 to 4.4 times, the plan, subject to review in five years, outlines measures to address key issues such as floods, heatstroke and agricultural damage. Saying floods are likely to increase with concentrated rainfall occurring more frequently, the plan not only calls for building more levees but also constructing them so that they give people more time to evacuate, as well as visualizing flooding risks to encourage people to move to low-risk areas. As the quality of rice is expected to fall and diseases to increase due to climate change, technologies will be developed by around 2019 to reduce damage caused by agricultural pests and diseases, according to the plan. The plan also covers spreading public awareness on how to prevent getting heatstroke and introducing more robots in farming to reduce the burden on people working outside in hot weather.

  •  Korea: Protecting cross border forest assets

South and North Korea plan to jointly treat pine trees damaged by insects at Mount Kumgang on North Korea’s east coast. For this project, Seoul will deliver relevant treatment including insecticide and sprayers worth 130 million won (US$109,900) to the North. A group of South Korean forestry experts visited the mountain in late July to look into the cause of the  diseased pine trees at the mountain. Sitting on the east coast near the heavily fortified inter-Korean border, Mount Kumgang is famous for its scenic views, impressive peaks and thick pine tree forests. The ministry earlier said that two types of diseases caused by insects were found in the pine trees, adding that it would be appropriate to conduct an extermination treatment on such trees in spring and autumn. South Korean company Hyundai Asan kicked off a cross-border tour program at Mount Kumgang in 1998, a symbol of interKorean reconciliation. But Seoul suspended the tour program in 2008, after the fatal shooting of a South Korean female tourist by a North Korean soldier at the resort. The ministry said that Mount Kumgang is an asset that the two Koreas need to protect together, but Seoul’s recent probe into the ailing trees has nothing to do with the possible resumption of the joint tour program.
Source: „


  • Northern Ireland: Biopesticide company named agri-inventor of the year

News in Brief NovDec15_page3_image1NextGen Biopesticides, a company which uses selective breeding approaches to develop effective and safe biopesticides for the control of crop pest insects, has won the Agri-Food Invention of the Year Award at the recent Northern Ireland Science Park (NISP), Invent 2015 Awards. Coming top in the Agri-Food category, which was sponsored by Fujitsu, NextGen Biopesticides not only secured a share of the £33,000 prize fund, but will also now travel to California on Northern Ireland’s Tech Mission to pitch to prospective investors and partners. Dr Jonathan Dalzell from Queen’s University who heads up NextGen Biopesticides said “I’m absolutely delighted to win the AgriFood category of Invent 2015 with our NextGen BioPesticides venture. This represents a strong foundation from which we can commercialise our enhanced nematode bioinsecticides. In particular, the opportunity to join the NI Tech Mission to San Diego will help us create important international links.  As a lecturer within the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University Belfast, my research focus is to address the biggest challenges we face locally, as well as globally. This is another example of research from Queen’s University Belfast meeting the challenge of food security head on.  Fujitsu are developing a big reputation for innovation within the global AgriFood sector, and represent a valued supporter of our work.”
NextGen Biopesticides use selective breeding approaches to develop more effective organic biopesticides. They are working with insect parasitic nematodes, that is, microscopic worms that find and kill pest insect larvae in the soil.

  • India:  Mosquito-breeding spots will get residents in trouble

Mumbai has witnessed a spike in the number of dengue cases. To make matters worse, a few housing societies, which are considered plush, have been stonewalling attempts by municipal workers on their campus to check for mosquito-breeding spots. So, the municipal corporation will initiate action against those housing societies which forbid them access, especially if conditions conducive to mosquito-breeding are found to exist in any flat or elsewhere on the premises of the same society. A senior municipal official said, “The chairman, secretary and other office-bearers of the housing society are responsible for taking adequate steps so that there is no mosquito breeding on the terrace, in flats, and in the compound and lobby area of the society buildings. However, if mosquitoes are still found to be breeding, we will slap a notice on the society’s office-bearers.”The municipal corporation’s pest control department has, since the beginning of the year, been conducting training for citizens on how to detect breeding spots. Civic officials from the insecticide department said that despite the continuing public awareness sessions, which they have been conducting, it is disappointing that they still find mosquitoes breeding in feng shui plants, petri dishes, drums or buckets used to store water and in flower vases. Workshops to train citizens were held in the city. “When any dengue patient is found in a particular housing society, we need to check the adjoining areas too. However, not everyone cooperates with us,” said a civic official.
Source: „

  • UK: Location, location…infestation

For any home buyer there are obvious deal breakers such as location, space, condition, transport links, crime, schools and so on. But what about the many hidden factors that could make an otherwise keen property buyer reduce their offer – or worse, lose interest in the purchase entirely? A UK property blog ‘SellingUp’ has conducted an exclusive survey with Populus, one of the UK’s leading market research firms, to look into some of the lesser known reasons that potential buyers may be put off entirely, or encouraged to make a reduced offer. The 1000+ who were surveyed were asked ‘Imagine you are looking to buy a property, and you noticed there was an issue. To what extent do you think each of the following would influence your offer on the property?’ In the results, evidence of an infestation such as droppings or mousetraps would be enough to send almost half (44%) of buyers scurrying off. Around a quarter (23%) would be inclined to make a substantially lower offer and 16% would drop the price by a few hundred pounds. A mouse-sized minority of 3% would have no reservations in proceeding despite the potential presence of some pesky house guests.

  • And finally… USA: 10 Most bugged cities in America 2015

News in Brief NovDec15_page4_image1Earlier this year  the US Census Bureau released data from 2013 in its American Housing Survey which shows Tampa, Florida is the city with the most cockroaches and Seattle and Austin have the most rats. But that was two years ago and a lot has changed since then.  Data analysers at Thumbtack ( were able to see what bug and pest removal services are most requested in real time. To determine which were the buggiest cities, they looked at 159 of the largest metro areas across the U.S. and measured the number of requests for pest-removal services, relative to the population in that metro, using these figures to develop a Thumbtack Pest Index. This index ranges from 0 to 100, with the former representing cities with the fewest pest-related requests per person and the latter the most. The categories included in the measure of pest-removal requests were: pest control services, bed bug extermination, outdoor pesticide application, and termite and pest inspection. Phoenix, Arizona was far and away the leading bug zone followed by not one but four metropolitan areas in Texas. Some surprises on the list were the relatively colder (in the winter) areas like Kansas City, Dover, Delaware, and Indianapolis. The least ‘buggy’ metro areas in the U.S. with almost no demand for pest removal include El Paso, Texas, Fresno, California and Santa Cruz, California.
Our thanks to the folks at Thumbtack.

Published in International Pest Control – November/December 2015 issue

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Category: International Pest News, news in brief

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