nvdaily.com link to home page

Traffic | Weather | Mobile Edition
Archives | Subscribe | Guide to the Daily

Local News arrow Agriculture arrow Big Picture arrow Business arrow In The Spotlight

| 1 | 0 Comments

EPA OKs pesticide to control stink bugs

View larger image

The EPA has granted an emergency exemption to allow the sale of Dinotefuran, an insecticide that will kill stink bugs, for limited use on certain fruits, including apples and peaches. Daily file

* Breaking News

If local news is breaking and you know about it:
* Call Us: 800-296-5137
* E-mail Us
* Upload Your Photos

By James Heffernan -- jheffernan@nvdaily.com

Virginia's fruit farmers have been given a new weapon to help control the brown marmorated stink bug that is causing significant damage to their crops.

The Environmental Protection Agency has granted an emergency exemption to allow the sale of the insecticide Dinotefuran for limited use on certain fruits, including apples and peaches.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services requested the exemption in April on behalf of seven eastern states as a way to help combat the pests, commonly referred to as "stink bugs" due to the odor they emit to repel predators.

A nuisance to many, the bugs can be devastating to farmers. The invasive Asian insects have no natural predators in the U.S.

The insects feed on tree fruits, leaving dimples on the surface and larger, brown discoloration inside that renders them unmarketable as a fresh product. The U.S. Apple Association estimated the damage to Virginia's apple crop alone last year at $37 million.

Without action, this year's crop could be even more compromised. In late May and early June, mid-Atlantic fruit researchers were reporting damage levels two months ahead of those in 2010.

Some experts worry that the stink bug could spread to other crops like cotton, soybeans and corn.

"These pests are causing our producers economic losses and damaging the state's reputation in the marketplace, so I am grateful that the EPA handled our exemption request in an expedited manner," Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore says in a statement.

Haymore also credits Reps. Frank Wolf, R-10th, and Robert Hurt, R-5th, for raising awareness of the issue in their respective districts.

Wolf held a briefing in the spring at the Alson H. Smith Jr. Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Winchester that included remarks from Christopher Bergh, an associate professor of entomology at Virginia Tech.

The EPA's temporary exemption went into effect last Friday and runs through Oct. 15. A maximum of 29,000 acres of stone fruit (peaches and nectarines) and pome fruit (apples, pears and other varieties with a fleshy outer layer and a central seed core) may be treated with Dinotefuran during the period.

The EPA has also issued guidelines to mitigate unintended consequences in the use of the product, such as its toxicity to honeybees, according to Wolf's office.

Virginia agricultural officials will continue to assess the effectiveness of Dinotefuran in controlling stink bugs and its impact on the ecosystem.

"I commend the EPA for moving quickly to allow Virginia a temporary exemption to regulate the use of this insecticide while efforts continue on a permanent fix," Wolf says.

The congressman has also included language in the fiscal 2012 agriculture appropriations bill that would make the stink bug outbreak a top priority of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The measure, already passed by the House, is awaiting consideration by the Senate.

Leave a comment

What do you think?

(You may use HTML tags for style)


Comments that are posted on nvdaily.com represent the opinion of the commenter and not the Northern Virginia Daily/nvdaily.com.

Comments that contain Web addresses, e-mail addresses, personal attacks, name-calling or personal information considered by the editor to be inappropriate for posting here will not be posted.

Commenters agree to abide by our COMMENTS POLICY when posting. Questions? E-mail us at info@nvdaily.com.


Local News Sections

2010: Year in Review Agriculture Apple Blossom Festival Basye Berryville Big Picture Bob Wooten Books Boyce Breaking News Business Business Spotlight City of Winchester Civil War Clarke County Colleges Corrections Courthouse Notes: Building Permits, Real Estate Transactions Courts & Legal News Crime & Public Safety Economy and Jobs Edinburg Edward N. Bell Entertainment Environment fair Fall 2010 Festivals Fire & Rescue Fort Valley Frederick County Front Royal Great Train Raid Hard Times Health History history Holidays Homes In The Spotlight Jody Lynn Bradley Justin Shane Slater Ledger Livestock Local Government Local Markets Maurertown Media Middletown Military & Veterans Moms Mt. Jackson New Market Page County Pets & Animals Politics Quicksburg Religion School News Shenandoah County Shenandoah National Park Shenandoah River Solar Farm Star Tannery Stephens City Strasburg Swine Flu Technology The Year in Review Toms Brook Tourism Traffic & Transportation Video In The Spotlight Warren County Weather Winchester Woodstock

News | Sports | Business | Lifestyle | Obituaries | Opinion | Multimedia| Entertainment | Homes | Classifieds
Guide to the Daily: Advertise | Circulation | Contact Us | NIE | Place a Classified | Privacy Policy | Subscribe

Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily | nvdaily.com | 152 N. Holliday St., Strasburg, Va. 22657 | (800) 296-5137

Best Small Daily Newspaper in Virginia!

nvdaily.com | seeshenandoah.com