The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has granted a specific exemption to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) to allow the sale of the insecticide Dinotefuran for limited agricultural use on apples and peaches to combat the outbreak of the brown marmorated stink bug, according to Rep. Frank Wolf (VA-10).
Facing potentially devastating economic damage from the stink bug invasion across the region, the Commonwealth of Virginia requested a temporary exemption under provisions of section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act for the regulated use of Dinotefuran.
Dinotefuran is an insecticide already regulated for commercial pesticide control for some other agricultural products, including melons and grapes. The EPA exemption effective through October 15 would allow farmers and growers in Virginia and elsewhere in the region to also use this product for stink bug control on stone and pome fruit. As part of the exemption, the EPA issued guidelines for the use of the product to mitigate unintended consequences, including its toxicity to honey bees.
Virginia agricultural officials will continue to assess the effectiveness of Dinotefuran in controlling stink bugs and its impact on the ecosystem and work with the EPA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in considering additional solutions.
Rep. Wolf has been leading the charge to find a permanent solution to combat stink bugs after talking with local farmers and growers about the major crop losses from the bug.
“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 said.
Wolf also recognized the Virginia Department of Agriculture for pushing for the exemption. Virginia placed the EPA request on behalf of Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
Wolf held a briefing for farmers and growers in April with agriculture researchers, including Dr. Christopher Bergh, a Virginia Tech associate professor of entomology at the Alson H. Smith Jr. Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Winchester. Wolf applauded Bergh’s efforts in working with VDACS to gain approval for use of Dinotefuran to assist with managing the stink bug.
Wolf included language in the FY 2012 agriculture appropriations bill now working its way through Congress that would make the stink bug outbreak a top priority of the USDA. The measure, passed by the House, awaits consideration by the Senate.