Here’s What Electricity Can Teach Us About Pesticide Safety

From the Genetic Literacy Project


Many people may find it difficult to imagine how a pesticide could ever be safe. To understand how that is possible, it is helpful to make the comparison with something more familiar: electricity.

It is hard to envision modern life without electricity. As much as we enjoy and need this source of energy, it involves some hazards. Electricity can, and sometimes does, cause injury or death.  Yet overall, we think of using electricity as a reasonably safe aspect of our lives.

Safety can’t be precisely defined. What we perceive as safe is something where the benefits more than offset the minimal risks. We can enjoy electricity’s benefits with little risk through two main strategies: 1) using low-hazard forms of electricity and 2) keeping ourselves from being exposed to hazardous forms of electricity.


Low-hazard approach

Increasingly, we power the devices central to our lifestyles with forms of electricity that are practically non-hazardous. The prime examples would be our cell phones, Bluetooth devices, or portable music players that run on low-voltage, direct current electricity which is nearly incapable of causing us harm.  That same, low-hazard approach plays an important role in pesticide safety.

In the middle of the last century, a number of the early pesticides in use were chemicals that were quite toxic to mammals, and thus to humans. The U.S. began to seriously address the issue with the establishment of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1970. Soon, the truly dangerous pesticides were removed from the market or their use was greatly restricted.

Since then, billions of dollars have been spent on the discovery, testing and regulatory review of new, far less toxic pesticide options. In the charts below, I’ve examined the toxicity of crop protection materials that have been used through looking at historical U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data on Washington State apples and California pesticide reporting data from all crops in 2013. In these charts, the toxicity is based on feeding studies with rats or mice, which is used as an indicator of potential toxicity to humans. Other measures of toxicity have similar trends.


The EPA has four toxicity categoriesto classify the acute hazards of pesticide products. For use in apple orchards, the data show that pesticides from EPA Category I, Highly Toxic, were never more than 10% of the total pesticides used and that their use has steadily declined. These would be pesticides as toxic as the nicotine that is sold for e-cigarettes. Only 0.2% of the pesticides applied to California crops in 2013 were in this category.

EPA Category II, Moderately Toxic, includes materials with toxicity in the same range as the capsaicin in hot peppers or the caffeine in coffee – familiar and even sought-after natural chemicals in our diets. That category represents very limited use on apples today, and only 18% of what growers applied in California apple orchards in 2013.

The pesticide use category that has grown is termed Slightly Toxic (EPA Category III). Toxicity for crop protection materials in this category is in the same range as the citric acid in a lemon or the vanillin in a vanilla bean.

The largest category of pesticides applied to apples and other crops today is Practically Non-Toxic for mammalian consumption (EPA Category IV). Comparing this to our use of electricity, we can see that low hazard is a major strategy through which we minimize pesticide risk.

To understand how something that is designed to kill or otherwise control a pest could be non-hazardous, consider the example of chocolate which has a flavor ingredient that we humans love but which can be toxic to our pet dogs. Chemicals can have different effects on different species. Scientists use the terms specificity and mode of action to describe how chemicals have their specific effects. With modern pesticides, the mode of action is normally the inhibition of some specific enzyme that is important to the viability of the pest. If the enzyme is inhibited by the pesticide, the pest might stop eating, stop growing and/or die.

That enzyme often isn’t one that even exists in humans and other animals ourselves or in other groups of organisms unlike the pest. A modern insecticide usually only affects enzymes that are found in insects or even a few kinds of insects. A modern herbicide might only inhibit an enzyme that is needed for the growth of plants. A modern fungicide inhibits an enzyme in a pathway of enzymes that is found in certain fungi. While all of these products should still be handled with a reasonable degree of caution, they are, like the electricity that powers our cell phones, low hazard and thus low risk. We can feel safe about their use.

Limiting exposure risk when there is a hazard

We still need the more hazardous forms of electricity (such as the 120 volt alternating current) for needs like lighting, heat, air conditioning etc. To minimize risk, we’ve developed safe guards such as systems of insulated wiring, childproof plugs, circuit breakers and GFCI outlets to keep us from being exposed to that hazard. Where we need 220 volt service, we have even more ways to avoid exposure. To be connected to the grid we need the extremely hazardous, high-voltage electricity coming to us from wherever it is generated. The high-power transmission lines are designed to make it unlikely that anyone will be exposed to that extremely hazardous form of electricity.

Some pesticides that we need to manage certain pests represent a possible hazard to mammals, like humans, or sometimes to other non-target organisms like birds, fish amphibians or aquatic invertebrates. The safe use of these pesticides is all about limiting exposure. For all pesticides used in agriculture, anyone who is directly involved in the mixing or application of the chemical must follow specific requirements regarding protective clothing and equipment. For low-hazard materials, that might just be gloves, closed shoes and a dust mask. For something that could be a significant human hazard, those restrictions would include a respirator and a protective whole-body TYVEC™ suit.

Restrictions can also dictate how soon after an application anyone can re-enter a treated field (re-entry interval or REI). For low-hazard pesticides, that time period can be a few hours or less. For more hazardous pesticides, the REI can be a number of days. For pesticides that are hazardous to fish or other aquatic organisms, restrictions mandate how close applicators can apply them to waterways. Similarly, for pesticides that are hazardous to bees or other pollinators, restrictions control when applicators can apply them relative to bloom times and/or times of the day when bees and other pollinators are working.

For all pesticides, the EPA conducts an extensive risk assessment and uses that information to set up a detailed set of restrictions designed to prevent the existence of any residues of concern to consumers by the time the crop is harvested. The details of this system are discussed in another post titled, Do I Need to be Concerned about Pesticide Residues on and in My Food?

The moral of this story: Just like electricity, pesticides can be used in a way that meets our need for clean, productive farming while giving us a comfortable and functional level of safety.

A version of this article originally appeared on the GLP on Dec. 15, 2016.

This article originally appeared on the Putting Pesticides in Perspective blog under the title “How Can Pesticides Be Safe?” and has been republished with permission from the author. 

Steve Savage is an agricultural scientist and consultant whose previous employers include Colorado State University and DuPont. Follow him on his blog, Applied Mythology, or Twitter @grapedoc

Spotted Lanternfly: Guidelines for the control of the Spotted Lanternfly

From the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture


Figure 1 Lateral view of an adult Lycorma delicatula
Photograph by Lawrence Barringer, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Demonstration of Egg Mass Scraping


On September 22, 2014, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, confirmed the presence the Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula, (WHITE)) in Berks County, Pennsylvania, the first detection of this non-native species in the United States. Upon determination that the potential impact to Pennsylvania’s agricultural economy and natural resources was great, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture issued a quarantine with the intent to restrict the movement of the Spotted Lanternfly on November 1, 2014. Townships and Burroughs in eastern Pennsylvania are under a limited movement quarantine as the Department and its federal, state, local and non-governmental cooperators develop a strategy to eliminate this pest from the Commonwealth. Up to date maps of the quarantine are available from the side bar: “Lycorma Quarantine Map”.

The Spotted Lanternfly is a plant hopper native to China, India and Vietnam, and has been introduced in South Korea and Japan.  In Korea, where it was first detected in 2004, the Spotted Lanternfly is known utilize more than 70 species, 25 of which also occur in Pennsylvania, including cultivated grapes, fruit trees, and hardwood species.  In the U.S., the Spotted Lanternfly has the potential to greatly impact the viticulture (grape), tree fruit, plant nursery and timber industries.  This pest poses a significant threat to the state’s more than $20.5 million grape, nearly $134 million apple, and more than $24 million stone fruit industries, as well as the hardwood industry in Pennsylvania which accounts for $12 billion in sales.

Early detection is vital to the effective control of this pest and the protection of PA agriculture and natural resources-related businesses.

Figure 2 Lycorma adult with wings spread showing colorful hind wing
Photograph by Holly Raguza, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

In Pennsylvania, the Spotted Lanternfly overwinters in egg masses laid on smooth bark, stone, and other vertical surfaces. The first of four immature stages, or instars, began emerging from the egg masses in mid-May, with a few individuals that had molted to second instar nymphs by the end of May. The first instar nymph is black with white spots and wingless.  As it grows, the Spotted Lanternfly develops red patches in addition to the white spots.  Nymphs spread from the initial site by crawling or jumping up any woody or non-woody plant it comes across to feed.  In Korea, the Spotted Lanternfly is known to gradually prefer Tree-of-Heaven/Paradise Tree (Ailanthus altissima) as it nears the adult stage.

Figure 3 First Instar Lycorma delicatula nymph
Photograph by Leo Donovall, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Figure 4 Fourth instar Lycorma delicatula nymph
Photograph by Miriam Cooperband, United States Department of Agriculture

Adults can be seen as early as the middle of July and take on a much different appearance.  Adults at rest have a black head and grayish wings with black spots.  The tips of the wings are a combination of black rectangular blocks with grey outlines.  When startled or flying the Spotted Lanternfly will display hind wings that are red at the base and black at the tip with a white stripe dividing them.  The red portion of the wing is also adorned with black spots.  The abdomen is bright to pale yellow with bands of black on the top and bottom surfaces.  While a poor flyer, the Spotted Lanternfly is a strong jumper.

In the fall, adults prefer Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima), another introduced invasive species in Pennsylvania, as their primary food source, mating and egg-laying location.  However, Tree of Heaven is not the only tree or surface the Spotted Lanternfly will lay eggs upon – any smooth trunked tree, stone or vertical smooth surface can provide a potential host for eggs masses.  Manmade items like vehicles, campers, yard furniture, farm equipment or any other items stored outside are suitable sites for egg laying.  Egg laying begins in late September and continues through late November or early December.

Tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima), also known as Paradise tree, is a fast growing deciduous tree that is native to China.  It is often found growing in disturbed sites or along roadways where it can establish rapidly.  Ailanthus has smooth, light gray bark with large “palm-like” leaves that can grow up to 3 feet in length.  The leaflets have smooth edges and 2-4 identifying glands on the underside of the leaflet near the stem.  When crushed, the leaves will have a rancid smell often described as “spoiled” or “burnt” peanut butter.  The tree of heaven tends to grow in clumps where many individual stems share one common root system.  Some of these stems may succumb quickly while others may reach a height of 60-80 feet.  Large clusters of blooming yellow-green flowers will hang from the end of new shoots in summer.  Flowers will turn to seeds encased in winged, papery samaras (similar to maple seeds), that are tan to red in color, becoming dry and brown as fall approaches.

Tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima) seeds and leaves

Photo credit: Chuck Bargeron, University of Georgia,

There are several trees that are look-alikes to the tree of heaven.  Toona sinensis is very similar in looks but there are several distinct differences.  The bark of this species is dark brown with a reddish tint, often flaking in vertical strips as the tree ages.  The “palm-like” leaves emerge pink or red and will turn green as they age.  Unlike the rancid crushed leaf smell of the tree of heaven,Toona leaves have an oniony smell.  Flowers are sweetly scented and cream in color producing a seed capsule that has 5 petals and contains winged seeds.  This tree reaches 30- 40 feet in height. Smooth and staghorn sumac (Rhus glabra and Rhus typhina) are often confused with tree of heaven due to similarities in appearance and form.  Sumacs produce red, fuzzy flower clusters which are very different from tree of heaven or Toonis.  If the flowers are not present, identification can be made by the teeth present along the leaf edge and the tree’s mature height of approximately 20 ft.  The crushed leaves do not have an offensive odor.

Ailanthus altissima in the landscape

Photo credit: Oregon State University

Black walnut (Juglans nigra), although more similar to the tree of heaven when young, can often be ruled out as the invasive Ailanthus rather quickly when older.  The leaves follow the same shape and “palm-like” look of the tree of heaven but are toothed along the leaf edge.  Black walnut can become very large as they mature with rough, gray- black bark which is deeply furrowed.  Fruits of the black walnut are edible nuts covered in a green, spicy smelling husk, and are approximately 3” in diameter.  These will drop to the ground in early fall.

Black walnut leaves and fruit 

Photo credit: Larry Korhnak, University of Florida>

Signs and Symptoms:

In the Spring, beginning in late April to mid-May, search for the nymphs on smaller plants and vines, and any new growth on trees and shrubs.  Fruit trees and grapes may be more susceptible to damage and mortality when larger populations of Lanternflies are found nearby.

As the year progresses third and fourth instar nymphs and adults will migrate to Tree of Heaven, as a primary host, and may be seen feeding on the trunk and branches of the tree.  Trees can be afflicted with weeping wounds of sap on the trunks, with heavy populations causing honey dew secretions to build up at the base of the tree, blackening the base of the tree and surrounding soil around the base with sooty mold fungal growth.  Increased activity of wasps, hornets, bees, and ants can be seen feeding on honeydew secretions and at tree wounds.  In large population areas, adults will also be seen feeding on other trees in the surrounding area, including willows, maples, poplars, tulip poplars, birch, ash, and others.

The Spotted Lanternfly begins laying eggs in masses of 30 to 50 eggs, covered in a brown, mud-like substance, in late September or early October.  Egg masses may be found on adult host trees, especially Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus alitissima), moderately-sized stones and other smooth surfaced outdoor items, such as lawn furniture, stone and brick work, and outdoor recreational vehicles.  The egg mass poses, perhaps, the greatest risk for accidental transport of the Spotted Lanternfly to new areas.

Two egg masses on tree bark
Photograph by Holly Raguza, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture


  • Initial delimiting survey
  • Federal assistance with the goal of eradication
  • Volunteer programs (Egg mass scraping and Volunteer tree bands)
  • PDA Tree banding program
  • Collaboration and research
  • Quarantine
  • Evaluation of efforts

Initial delimiting survey:

An initial delimiting survey was conducted from October 2014 through December 2014 which suggested that the introduction of Spotted Lanternfly was limited to a small area of Eastern Berks County in Pennsylvania, and had likely only been there for a few years. Several businesses operate in the infested area and worked with PDA to provide locations where material might have been moved. These locations were inspected by PDA plant inspectors and their counterparts in other states. No detections were made at these sites.

Federal assistance with the goal of eradication:

The United States Department of Agriculture assembled a new pest advisory group directly after the detection of the spotted lanternfly.  This group meets weekly by teleconference and helps determine the impact of new pests, identifies resources, and offers guidance to a new pest response.  This includes the identification of resources and the formation of a technical working group comprised of plant hopper experts, which is able to answer questions about the pest.  This group has supported Pennsylvania’s response by putting the state in touch with resources needed to respond to this new pest.

In March, Pennsylvania was awarded almost $1.5 million through the Farm Bill to perform control work, conduct research, and implement outreach to affected citizens.  Part of the award was made available to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to implement control and perform survey work.  The rest of the grant was made available to Kutztown University, Penn State University, and North Carolina State University to conduct research on the pest.  Efforts will focus on identifying the host range of the pest, its impact on grapes, and an analysis of its DNA. A grant to perform outreach and extension was also awarded to Penn State University.

In addition, through the efforts of the technical working group, several important questions are being investigated.  These include testing the effects of chipping woody material on spotted lanternfly egg mass survivorship, the effects of various existing pesticides on immature life stages, and the attractiveness of certain plant volatiles for use in trapping programs.

Volunteer Programs:

The Berks County communities, and local businesses operating in the area, have played a key part in Pennsylvania’s response to the introduction of Spotted Lanternfly.  Public officials from Berks County have participated in several informational conferences, have donated resources, and have helped to keep their citizens engaged.  Local businesses have agreed to operate under compliance, and many have voluntarily implemented mitigation practices as part of their operations.  Citizens can help in several ways and several have participated in one of two official volunteer programs, the egg mass scraping program and the tree banding program.

Egg Mass Scraping Program:

Egg masses are live and viable from about October through July.  Volunteers can scrape them off of trees or smooth surfaces, double bag them and throw them in the garbage, or place the eggs in alcohol or hand sanitizer to kill them.  Please also let us know of your efforts by clicking on the picture below and recording the number of eggs masses you scraped and/or destroyed.


Report Egg masses You Have Scraped Here >>

Reporting Scraped Egg Masses Instructions >>

For directions on how to report your scraped and destroyed eggs masses follow the instruction on this page “Report Scraped Egg Masses Instructions” page.

Current Death Count

The estimated number of Spotted Lanternfly killed by Egg Mass Scraping based off of reported efforts.  This number comes from the “Reporting Scraped Egg Masses Instructions” page.  This number will be periodically updated to reflect the efforts of PDA and the community.

Old Total: 1,526,070 (May 10,2017)
New Total: 1,526,770 (May 16, 2017)

Volunteer Tree Banding Program:

Existing literature demonstrates that brown sticky tree bands are an effective, environmentally friendly way to catch spotted lanternfly nymphs.  Through Federal Farm Bill funding, a limited number of bands have been made available for owners of confirmed infested properties.  Two training sessions for owners of infested properties were conducted in April of 2015 and property owners began banding properties in May of 2015.

Link Banding and Data entry Instructions: View it here >>

Volunteer Banding Program Report Page: View it here >>

PDA Tree Banding Program:

In conjunction with the volunteer effort, the main focus is a large scale tree banding program, targeting known positive properties. In May of 2016 two-person crews spotted lanternfly crews will resume banding properties in the quarantined area, as well working with volunteers banding their own properties. While residents in quarantined area are notified by direct mailings, PDA employees are instructed to make every attempt to contact property owners before entering a property for banding. Employees carry state issued identification and wear safety vests that read “Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Pest Survey” on the back.

Tree Band Death Count: 932,922 Spotted Lanternflies Controlled as of August 4, 2017

Collaboration and Research:

Many groups and organization are pulling together to find solutions to stop this new pest.  In addition to the Farm Bill funded efforts, through the efforts of the technical working group, several important questions are being investigated.  These include testing the effects of chipping woody material on spotted lanternfly egg mass survivorship, the effects of various existing pesticides on immature life stages, and the attractiveness of certain plant volatiles for use in trapping programs.  Temperature data is being compiled by the US Forest service to help determine when immature stages hatch out.  The DCNR has provided technical expertise on egg mass survey techniques and assisted with the mapping of Ailanthus altissima.  The DEP has provided technical advice on chemical control options.  Local groups like the Berks County conservation district and cooperative extension have assisted with logistical support and communications.  The Plant Health Resource Center has provided for the rapid production and distribution of outreach materials.  A huge amount of credit is due to District Township who have provided a staging area for PDA crews to operate from as well as space for public meetings.  Working together, all of these entities, and others not mentioned here are helping to respond in a coordinated manner and to answer questions about the pest that still need to be answered.


  • Since the pest is new to the United States, the department is reviewing a variety of options including eradication.  Currently a quarantine is in place to stop the movement of this pest to new areas and to slow its spread within the quarantine.
  • The quarantine affects a variety of plant, wood and stone products.
  • Surveys are currently underway to determine the complete spread of this pest in Berks County and the surrounding counties.  Efforts are also underway to ensure the Spotted Lanternfly is not present in other parts of the commonwealth.

Who will be affected by the Spotted Lanternfly quarantine?

The quarantine is currently in place in the following municipalities:

Berks County: Amity Township, Oley Township, Rockland Township, Longswamp Township, Earl Township, Pike Township, District Township, Douglass Township, Colebrookdale Township, Washington Township, Hereford Township, Maxatawny Township, Alsace Township, Exeter Township, Richmond Township, Maidencreek Township, Centre Township, Ruscombmanor Township, Robeson Township, Union Township, Muhlenberg Townships, Topton Borough, Bally Borough, Kutztown Borough, St. Lawrence Borough, Betchelsville Borough, Fleetwood Borough, Centreport Borough, Birdsboro Borough, Lyons Borough, Laureldale Borough, and Boyertown Borough.

Bucks County: Milford Township, Richland Township, Haycock Township, Springfield Township, East Rockhill Township, and West Rockhill Township Trumbauersville Borough, Quakertown Borough, Richlandtown Borough, Sellersville Borough, Perkasie Borough, and Telfrod Borough.

Chester County: South Coventry Township, North Coventry Township, East Coventry Township, East Vincent Township, Warwick Township, East Pikeland Township, Spring City Borough.

Lehigh County: Lower Macungie Township, Upper Macungie Township, Upper Milford, Lower Milford, Upper Saucon, Whitehall and South Whitehall Townships, Alburtis borough, Macungie borough, Bethlehem City and Allentown City.

Northampton County: Bethlehem City

Montgomery County: Douglass Township, Upper Hanover Township, New Hanover Township, West Pottsgrove Township, Lower Pottsgrove Township, Marlborough Township, and Upper Frederick Township, Upper Pottsgrove Township, Limerick Township, Upper Providence Township, Lower Frederick Township, Upper Salford Township, East Greenville Borough, Pennsburg Borough, Red Hill Borough, Royersford Borough, Pottstown Borough, and Telford Borough.
The quarantine may be expanded to new areas as further detections of the Spotted Lanternfly are detected and confirmed. Intentional movement of the Spotted Lanternfly is expressly prohibited and is a serious offense. Violations could result in criminal or civil penalties and/or fines.


The quarantine restricts the movement of certain articles.  If you are seeking to enter into a compliance agreement to be able to move these materials you can request a permit by contacting Dana Rhodes.  Industries and regulated articles under the quarantine that are not to be removed/moved to a new area are:

  • Any living stage of the Spotted Lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula.  This includes egg masses, nymphs, and adults.
  • Brush, debris, bark, or yard waste
  • Landscaping, remodeling or construction waste
  • Logs, stumps, or any tree parts
  • Firewood of any species
  • Grapevines for decorative purposes or as nursery stock
  • Nursery stock
  • Crated materials
  • Outdoor household articles including recreational vehicles, lawn tractors and mowers, mower decks, grills, grill and furniture covers, tarps, mobile homes, tile, stone, deck boards, mobile fire pits, any associated equipment and trucks or vehicles not stored indoors.

Evaluation of Efforts:

Spotted lanternfly is new to North America.  Though a good deal of information is available, there are still a number of unknowns.  In 2015, efforts by PDA and the other cooperating partners, researchers, and volunteers will need to be evaluated.  Egg mass scraping and the tree banding programs will remove many insects from the population and reduce the size of the current population, but these activities will also help to better characterize how the pest is behaving in this new environment.  Evaluation of methodology will lead to a stronger program as PDA and its partners continue to battle the spotted lanternfly.

What can you do?

Limit the spread of Spotted Lanternfly: You can take steps personally to limit the chance you may spread Spotted Lanternfly. You can use the “Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine Checklist” to make sure items on and around your home are pest free before moving them. You can also check your vehicle for hitch hiking Lanternflies if you plan on leaving the quarantine area. Taking steps to not park or leave items under tree lines will also reduce the risk of Spotted Lanternfly becoming an unwelcome hitch hiker.

Collect a specimen:  Turn the adult specimen or egg mass in to the department’s Entomology Lab for verification.  First, place the sample in alcohol or hand sanitizer in a leak proof container.  A Sample Submission Form can be found in the Publications section below.

Take a picture:  Submit photographs to

Report a site:  Call the Bad Bug hotline at 1-866-253-7189 with details of the siting and your contact information.

Spotted Lanternfly Webinar:  View it here >>

National WPS Manual for Trainers

Available now!  National WPS Manual for Trainers

The Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative (PERC) in conjunction with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is delighted to announce that printed copies of the “National Worker Protection Standard (WPS): A Manual for Trainers of Agricultural Workers and Pesticide Handlers” are now available for sale through the National Pesticide Safety Education Center (NPSEC). PERC is collaborating with the NPSEC to promote and market these manuals to help support pesticide safety education nationally.


Changes to the WPS recently made the previous manual obsolete. This updated manual is written in English and PERC plans to release a Spanish version in late fall 2017. Single copies are about $25.00 plus shipping. Bulk discounts are available.


Purchase printed copies of the manual here:


The purpose of this manual is to help trainers conduct effective training sessions to meet WPS training requirements. As of January 2, 2018, annual WPS training will be required for agricultural workers and pesticide handlers who work in outdoor and enclosed spaces, including farms, forests, nurseries, and greenhouses.


This manual for trainers includes:

  • An introduction to pesticides and pesticide safety and the federal pesticide regulations
  • A discussion of each of the specific points that is required in WPS training sessions
  • Valuable information to help trainers prepare for and conduct pesticide safety training, including training techniques and how to address various situations that may arise during training sessions


The manual is also available for download here free:


This manual was developed through a cooperative agreement between the EPA and the University of California Davis Extension, in cooperation with Oregon State University (cooperative agreement #X8-83616301). EPA personnel reviewed and contributed to each chapter/section of this manual. However, it is not a stand-alone training program for WPS trainers, nor does EPA require that you use this material to train trainers.


Remember that a Trainer must be a certified pesticide applicator or have completed an EPA approved Train the Trainer course and be EPA certified to provide training to workers and/or handlers.

Here is a link to an EPA Approved Train the Trainer course at Iowa State University.  It is free and takes 1-2 hours to complete.



SAFETY NOTICE: Comfo® Air-Purifying Respirator CartridgesMS

A recently determined that a small percentage of Comfo Combination Cartridges, manufactured from September 1, 2016 through December 11, 2016, may not comply with the NIOSH required P100 filter minimum efficiency level of 99.97% for particulates.  The affected cartridges types are listed below:

safety chart

Our investigation confirmed that the reduced efficiency is due to leakage caused by separation of the adhesive used to bond the P100 filter component to the cartridge body.  The adhesive separation was found to occur after final production and testing.  Since this condition is internal to the cartridge assembly, it is not detectable by the user during normal respirator inspections or seal checks.

As a result of this condition, MSA requests that you immediately remove from service all affected cartridges indicated above that were manufactured during the specified time period.  MSA has corrected this condition and will replace affected cartridges free of charge.

Identifying Affected Cartridges:
All affected individual cartridges, six-pack cartons of cartridges, and over-pack boxes of cartridge six-packs are marked with a date code containing the two-digit week, followed by the two-digit year of manufacture.  The date codes of affected cartridges range from:  “3516” through “4916” and represents the time period from September 1, 2016 through December 11, 2016.  Disregard any letter that follows the four-digit code.  See the photos on the attached Safety Notice for examples of date code locations.

Obtaining Replacement Cartridges and Returning Affected Cartridges:
To obtain replacement cartridges, please complete the attached Return/Replacement Cartridge Order Form (page three) and email it to MSA Customer Service at the appropriate email address below.  Replacement cartridges will be shipped to you immediately and we will forward instructions for returning the affected cartridges.

MSA Customer Service Contact Information:
If you have any questions regarding this Safety Advisory, please contact MSA Customer Service as follows:U.S., Canada, or U.S. Territories – 1-866-672-0005 or email: the U.S., Canada, and U.S. Territories – 724-776-8626 or email:

Again, we apologize for any inconvenience that this situation may cause; however, your safety and continued satisfaction with our products is most important to us.

Best Regards,

ron campbell

Ron Campbell

BASF rebuilds dicamba chemistry with new BAPMA salt in Engenia™ herbicide

New molecule mitigates potential for volatility by up to 90%


What do heavier molecular weight and stronger chemical bonds get you in an herbicide?

When the solution is Engenia herbicide, the answer is simple: You get a powerful new weed control solution that’s worth its salt. BAPMA salt, to be specific.

BASF has built an entirely new dicamba molecule, one with unique properties among dicamba formulations. The most flexible and advanced dicamba for dicamba-tolerant cotton and soybeans, this BAPMA formulation is unique relative to DGA and DMA dicambas with its heavier molecular weight and stronger bond. The result: greatly reduced volatility — up to 90% reduction.


Another benefit is use rate: At 12.8 oz/A, Engenia herbicide has the lowest use rate of any dicamba product on the market, making it well suited for direct injection and saving applicators additional time and money.

Engenia herbicide also has been formulated to allow flexibility in future tank-mixing options, which include glyphosate, upon EPA approval. Visit for a list of EPA approved tank-mix products.

Important Notice Regarding Reclassification of Neonicotinoid Pesticides

The State of Connecticut Legislature has ordered the reclassification of neonicotinoid pesticides to restricted-use.

Important Notice Regarding Reclassification of Neonicotinoid Pesticides


Public Act 16-17 requires that, not later than January 1, 2018, the Commissioner classify all neonicotinoids (as defined by the Act) that are labeled for treating plants, as restricted use.  Pursuant to the Act, the classification of pesticide products currently registered in Connecticut which contain clothianidin, dinotefuran, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam will be changed from general use to restricted use effective January 1, 2017.

The Notice of Reclassification of Neonicotinoid Pesticides Used for Treating Plants and the Notice to Wholesalers/Distributors/Retailers provide a list of the affected pesticides and the schedule for implementing the Act.

EPA releases new Bee Advisory Box on labels

WASHINGTON – August 15, 2013 –  In an ongoing effort to protect bees and other pollinators, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed new pesticide labels that prohibit use of some neonicotinoid pesticide products where bees are present.

“Multiple factors play a role in bee colony declines, including pesticides. The Environmental Protection Agency is taking action to protect bees from pesticide exposure and these label changes will further our efforts,” said Jim Jones, assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.

The new labels will have a bee advisory box and icon with information on routes of exposure and spray drift precautions. Today’s announcement affects products containing the neonicotinoids imidacloprid, dinotefuran, clothianidin and thiamethoxam. The EPA will work with pesticide manufacturers to change labels so that they will meet the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) safety standard.

In May, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and EPA released a comprehensive scientific report on honey bee health, showing scientific consensus that there are a complex set of stressors associated with honey bee declines, including loss of habitat, parasites and disease, genetics, poor nutrition and pesticide exposure.