The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Jan. 12 announced two actions to help protect America’s citrus industry from HLB and citrus canker. One action is for the insecticide aldicarb; the other is for the antibiotic streptomycin.
EPA is registering one technical product, a supplemental label and one new end-use product for the insecticide aldicarb for use on oranges and grapefruit in Florida. The registration limits the product’s sale and distribution to an amount allowing up to 100,000 acres in Florida to be treated each application season (Nov. 15–April 30) for three growing seasons, expiring on April 30, 2023. The product label also requires specific application restrictions to help protect potential runoff and leaching to drinking water sources.
Unlike other foliar-applied chemicals that at most have an average of four to eight weeks of activity in controlling the HLB-spreading Asian citrus psyllid, aldicarb lasts on average 10 and 15 weeks for nymphs and adults, respectively, EPA stated. A further advantage of aldicarb is its low impact on some natural predatory insects that provide biological control services against other plant-feeding pests, EPA added.
Florida citrus growers in October told EPA why they wanted aldicarb registered for their crops; learn about that meeting here.
EPA is also amending one technical and one end-use product for streptomycin, an antibiotic derived from the bacterium Streptomyces griseus, to be used on citrus crop group 10-10, which includes varieties of orange, grapefruit, lemon and lime. These registrations will be time limited to seven years, expiring on Jan. 12, 2028.
Streptomycin suppresses HLB disease and will aid resistance management of citrus canker because it provides a different mode of action than registered alternatives.
EPA collaborated with the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to evaluate potential antibiotic resistance. The label contains requirements to delay antibiotic, fungicide and bactericide resistance. Registration terms require resistance management plans, monitoring and annual sales reports. Mitigation is being implemented to address potential antibiotic resistance, applicator exposure and spray drift.
Human health risk assessments for both aldicarb and streptomycin are complete and present no risks of concern, including to young children, EPA stated.
Ecological risks to birds, mammals, aquatic organisms and honeybees are the same as aldicarb’s existing uses and registrations. Registration terms for orange and grapefruit uses require submission of additional pollinator data.
The ecological risk conclusions for streptomycin are similar to those of its other registered uses.
Florida Citrus Mutual Executive Director/CEO Mike Sparks pointed out that state regulators still have to approve the EPA’s decision. He added that Mutual will monitor the aldicarb situation “as the administration changes and a new EPA administrator is seated.”
Sources: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Florida Citrus Mutual
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