Monday, February 4, 2013

Pyrethroid label requirements tweaked again

Last year I posted a story about the new pyrethroid insecticide label requirements being sent to pesticide manufacturers by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The requirements were designed in 2009 to reduce the risk of drift (wind carried contamination) and runoff (stormwater-carried contamination) of these commonly used insecticides. Since last spring, when pesticide manufacturers were officially informed of the new standards, the EPA has continued to dialog with both regulators and the pest control industry.  The results of this dialog are now out, and the final product is a big improvement, in my opinion.

The new EPA label requirements will
continue to allow pyrethroid applications
to eaves and protected sites around homes
where mosquitoes and other pests
may be resting.
At issue were applications needed to control certain overwintering insects like brown marmorated stink bug and kudzu bug, both of which aggregate on the sides and eaves of structures prior to entering the home or other building.  Under the 2009 rules, outdoor applications to the sides of structures were limited to crack and crevice applications or building foundations up to a height of three feet only.  In addition, all outdoor applications to impervious surfaces such as sidewalks, driveways, patios, porches and structural surfaces (such as windows, doors, and eaves) were to be limited to spot and crack-and-crevice applications, only.

After consultation with the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), the Association of Structural Pest Control Regulatory Officials (ASPCRO) and the State FIFRA Issues Research and Evaluation Group (an EPA advisory group also comprised of regulatory officials), the EPA agreed to make further changes to the original label requirements to allow for better control of overwintering insects.

While restrictions on insecticide applications to impervious surfaces and prior to expected rainfall have not changed, there are some big changes on applications to structures, as published in a January 10 letter to pesticide manufacturers.  The three changes are summarized as follows:

  • Now applications of pyrethroids may be made to the exterior of buildings where the treated surfaces are underneath eaves, soffits, windows or doors that are protected by coverings, overhangs, awnings or other structures that protect the residues from rainfall;
  • application bands up to one inch-wide may be applied to cracks or other potential pest entry points;
  • and applications may be made using a coarse, low-pressure spray to portions of surfaces that are directly above bare soil, lawn, mulch or other vegetation.
The purpose of these requirements is to prevent pyrethroid pesticides from entering storm water and getting into streams, something that is most likely when pyrethroid sprays land on impervious surfaces like asphalt or concrete.

In addition to giving back to PMPs the ability to use pyrethroids against overwintering pests these new regulations should help applicators control nuisance and public health mosquitoes that frequently rest on the sides of buildings and around doorways.  This was, in my view, a potentially serious public health issue with the 2009 rules.

So what will be the big change to the way your company applies pyrethroids after the dust is all settled? The new labels will prohibit power spraying driveways and over sidewalks, garage doors and any vertical building surfaces over pavement. Assuming the manufacturers follow these guidelines closely, labels should allow low-pressure sprays to the sides of structures over vegetation or soil and in sites protected from the rain, in addition to cracks and crevices.

Congratulations to the EPA and to those regulators and NPMA experts who took the time to look for ways to keep the pyrethroid label requirements reasonable while continuing to protect the environment. This is one of those examples of how the system sometimes works in everyone's favor--except, in this case, the pests'. 

1 comment:

Ken Martin said...

Thanks Mike. This is very good news for those of us battling what I call "Fall Invaders." It's nice to see the implementation and subsequent improvement of such regulations.