• 2020 Agricultural Container Recycling Schedule

      By Travis Cleveland, adapted from an Illinois Department of Agriculture July 15, 2020 press release.

      Listen to the audio version of this article.

      The Illinois Department of Agriculture has announced the single day collection sites and dates for the 2020 Pesticide Container Recycling Program. Dates and locations are available on the Illinois Department of Agriculture website

      Year-round disposal is available at two permanent collection sites. Please call to ensure the facility will be open.

      • Carrollton, IL. CHS Inc., contact Bryan McMurtrie, 217-942-6991
      • Lawrenceville, IL. Klein Flying Service, contact Robert Klein, 618-884-1040

      The Illinois Department of Agriculture is encouraging farmers and agrichemical facilities to save their empty agrichemical containers. Beginning in late July, and continuing in August, sites throughout the state will collect containers. The containers will be recycled to make shipping pallets, fence posts, drainage tubing, plastic lumber and other useful products. Over 1.6 million pounds of plastic have been collected since the program started more than 20 years ago.   

      Metal and household pesticide containers are not eligible for the recycling program. Collection sites will accept only high-density polyethylene, #2 plastic agrichemical containers that are clean and dry.  Participants are responsible for rinsing them and removing all caps, labels, booklets and foil seals.  

      The Illinois Department of Agriculture sponsors the program in conjunction with the Agriculture Container Recycling Council, GROWMARK, Inc., the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association, Container Services Network, Illinois Farm Bureau, and University of Illinois Extension.

      To obtain a free brochure about the program, call the Illinois Department of Agriculture toll free at 1-800-641-3934.

      Agricultural Pesticide Containers
      Agricultural Pesticide Containers - Credit: Yevhenii - stock.adobe.com

      Preparing pesticide containers for recycling:

      Rinsing right after use is the best way to ensure a clean container. Depending on what system fits your operation, you can either triple rinse or pressure rinse your containers. Your local agricultural chemical dealer can give you more information about pressurized rinse systems.

      Triple Rinsing

      1. Fill the empty container about 20% full with water.
      2. Replace cap securely and shake the contents to rinse all inside surfaces.
      3. Pour rinse water into spray tank and drain for at least 30 seconds.
      4. Repeat steps 1-3 twice more until container is clean.
      5. Inspect the container (inside and out) for formulation residues. Repeat as needed.

      Pressure Rinsing

      1. Use a special nozzle attached to a water hose.
      2. Hold the container upside down over the spray tank with the cap removed. Puncture side of container with the pointed nozzle.
      3. Pressurized water cleans the inside surfaces while the rinsate flows into the spray tank.
      4. Rinse for 30 seconds or longer while rotating the nozzle to rinse all surfaces.

      Inspect the container (inside and out) for formulation residues. Repeat as needed.

    • Summer Storage of Pesticides

      By Maria Turner

      Listen to the audio version of this article.

      Proper storage of pesticides is essential for protecting not just the chemical but also animals and people. Some items to consider are the container, temperature, and location of the storage of the pesticides. These conditions can have an impact on their shelf life.   

      Temperature extremes in the pesticide storage area can potentially pose several problems. Extreme temperatures can change the chemistry of some pesticides inside their containers, as well as potentially damage the container itself. We often worry more about freezing and thawing than extreme heat, but often don’t think of storage conditions in vehicles. Our trucks, tractors, and other application equipment are not a place for daily storage during the application season. Be sure to take out what will be needed for the day and park in the shade so that the product does not reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The average temperature range for storing liquid pesticides is typically between 40 to 100 degrees. Check the pesticide label for specific temperature ranges for storage.

      Temperature extremes can reduce the effectiveness of pesticides. In the summer, excessive heat can cause some pesticides to volatilize and drift away from the storage site. Additionally, some pesticides are flammable. Excessive heat can also damage the integrity of the pesticide container. High temperatures can cause plastic containers to melt and some glass containers to explode.

      Regardless of the season, pesticides should always be stored in the original container.  The container is specifically designed to store and protect the product; an alternate container might not be able to do the same.  Whether it is the thickness of the material or the lid type that matters, the original container is always best. Be sure to keep the original label affixed to the container. This will provide information on proper storage, disposal, application, ingredient names, as well as any emergency information needed. Don’t leave it up to memory, if the label falls off, stains, or tears. Be sure to contact a dealer for a new container/or label. Labels can be found online but the version may not be for the product you have. It’s best to consult with the manufacturer for guidance, and once a replacement label is obtained, attach it to the container. If storage information cannot be found on the label, contact the manufacturer of the pesticide. 

      For more information about storage, be sure to check out the National Pesticide Information Center’s website or the article by the University of Missouri Extension, “Temperature Effects on Storage of Pesticides”.

    • Is it Spray Drift and What Do I Do?

      By Michelle Wiesbrook and Aaron Hager, updated from a 2016 article by the same authors.

      Listen to the audio version of this article.

      On average, each year the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) receives approximately 120 pesticide misuse complaints, of which 60% are pesticide drift complaints.  Many of you know that the number of complaints has been much higher in recent years due to the allowed use of dicamba on soybeans and the apparent extreme sensitivity of surrounding plants to small amounts of dicamba.  Detailed label restrictions were quickly put into place to reduce the incidence of drift with those products.  Regardless, drift complaints have been around for as long as pesticides have and certainly, dicamba is not the only one to blame.  It’s July and we are in the midst of the growing season for gardens, landscapes, and field crops.  At this point, thousands of acres have been sprayed with herbicides and the emails concerning possible herbicide injury to non-target plants have started to come in.

      With the physical off-target movement of pesticides, prevention is key.  Applicators should take steps to prevent physical drift and most do.  No applicator wants their pesticide to move away from the intended location.  Neighborly discussions before pesticides are applied are important so applicators understand if sensitive plants are growing near the application site.  In the unfortunate case that drift has occurred, it’s a good idea to know the basics of the complaint process and what resources are available to you.

      Before doing anything, both parties should make an effort to discuss the suspected drift incident and rule out other possible causes of the damage.  In cases where the cause of the damage remains unclear or where the parties will not work together, a formal complaint may be necessary.

      The IDOA and University of Illinois Extension have important but different roles in assisting citizens of Illinois in dealing with pesticides. These roles are based on the IDOA’s responsibilities to administer and enforce the laws related to the use of pesticides and University of Illinois Extension’s responsibilities to educate and solve problems.

      “The University of Illinois Plant Clinic does not perform pesticide residue testing. Plant Clinic staff will examine plants to identify pests and pathogens present on the sample which could be causing the symptoms. This allows clients to rule out other possible causes for the injury. Staff and specialists can also note if the symptoms on the sample are consistent with the applied chemicals listed on the sample submission form. Due to COVID-19, the Plant Clinic operations have changed a bit and staff may be limited. Please contact the Plant Clinic at plantclinic@illinois.edu with questions about sample submission and shipping.”

      The IDOA has three roles that impact its handling of pesticide-drift complaints. These roles are (1) education and licensing of applicators and operators via the Pesticide Safety Education Program, (2) investigation of complaints, and (3) enforcement of pesticide laws. The roles of IDOA are determined by laws and statutes passed by the Illinois legislature or the federal government.

      If you choose to file a complaint with IDOA, time is of the essence. The pesticide drift complaint process is started by filling out a pesticide misuse/incident complaint form or by calling IDOA's Bureau of Environmental Programs at 1-800-641-3934 (voice and TDD) or 217-785-2427.  Due to limited staffing from COVID-19, you may need to leave a detailed phone message.  Additional information on pesticide uses and misuses can be found on the agency’s website.

      Complaint forms must be received by IDOA within 30 days of the incident or within 30 days of when the damage was first noticed. Complaints filed after that will be kept on record, but no administrative action can be taken.

      Herbicide Drift on Pekin Lilac
      Herbicide Drift on Pekin Lilac

      The complaint process

      Once a complaint is filed with the department, a field inspector is assigned the case. In most cases, the inspector will interview the complainant and inspect the site. Various types of samples, such as plants, water, or soil, may be collected for analysis at IDOA’s in-house laboratory.

      Due to COVID concerns this season, field inspector contact with complainants and applicators will mostly be limited to phone conversations unless proper social distancing guidelines can be maintained. 

      The inspector may also interview applicators in the area, examine pesticide records and collect weather data in an attempt to determine the nature and cause of the damage. The field investigator will then submit a report to the Department for review.

      Both parties will receive written notification if the Department finds a violation and takes an enforcement action. Penalties range from advisory or warning letters to monetary penalties of $750 to $10,000, depending on the type and severity of the violation. Penalties are determined through a point system defined in the Illinois Pesticide Act.

      Even if a violation of the Illinois Pesticide Act cannot be substantiated, both the complainant and the alleged violator will be notified in writing of the complaint's status. Remember, the Department's role in pesticide misuse incidents is limited to determining whether a violation has occurred. IDA cannot help complainants recover damages.

      Certainly, it is easiest and best to prevent physical herbicide drift from occurring.  Drift can be extremely expensive and often results in poor neighbor relations.  

      Additional information for use when handling potential drift injury

      A free, useful resource that includes information and helpful tips on preventing and dealing with the off-target movement of herbicide applications is an online module titled, “Herbicide Tolerant Crop Stewardship”.  Especially useful would be chapter 5, “Avoiding/Handling Injury.”  While it was created with producers in mind, it would also be beneficial to homeowners, gardeners, and really anyone who grows plants.

      Another useful resource for sale is the booklet, Field Guide to Herbicide Injury on Landscape Plants. This guide can assist with the challenging task of diagnosing herbicide injury.  It features photographs of specific injury symptoms that resulted from a field trial of various ornamental and vegetable species.

    • Dicamba and Where We Are Now

      By Maria Turner

      Listen to the audio version of this article.

      On June 3, 2020, a ruling for the immediate cancellation for the registrations of Xtendimax, FeXapan and Engenia was issued in the case of National Family Farm Coalition vs. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Case No. 19-70115, in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. On June 8, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a final cancellation order for these three dicamba products. The EPA’s final cancellation order outlines limited and specific circumstances under which existing stocks of the three affected dicamba products may be used. The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDA) created an FAQ on how to handle the use of existing stocks, as use of these products must be consistent with the previously-approved labeling. In Illinois, the application cutoff date was extended from June 20 to June 25, 2020 to help growers use existing stocks.

      Any remaining product must now be returned to the registrant or disposed of following the registrant's instructions for disposal. Be sure to check with the registrants for guidance. Tavium is not subject to the cancellation order since it was not included in the EPA’s 2018 registration decision, but an applicator must follow all label requirements, including the Illinois 24c Special Local Need Label application restrictions.

      So how will this impact the misuse and complaint numbers for 2020?  The short answer is that we are not sure yet. The 2020 cutoff date was 30 days earlier than last year leaving a much shorter window for application. Doug Owens with the IDA reported the number of dicamba complaints as of July 17, 2020 is 71. This is considerably less than in 2019 at this time, but with the delayed planting last season and extended deadline for use of dicamba until July 15, 2019 the numbers are not synchronous. We will know in a couple more weeks if dicamba can maintain a “social distance” between neighboring fields for this season.  


      IDA press release, 6/11/20

      IFCA Press Release, 6/2020

    • Download This Issue of the Newsletter

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    • Editorial Notes

      The development and publication of this newsletter has been supported with funding from the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

      Michelle Wiesbrook, Extension Specialist, Pesticide Safety Education

      The Illinois Pesticide Review is published six times a year. For more information about pesticide safety or for more issues of this newsletter, please visit us at www.pesticidesafety.illinois.edu. You can also reach us at 800-644-2123.

      Disclaimer: Mention of trade names in this newsletter is for general information purposes only and does not constitute endorsement of one product over another, nor is discrimination intended against any product.

      Copyright © 2020, Board of Trustees, University of Illinois

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    • COVID-19 Affecting the Supply of PPE for Pesticide Applicators

      By Maria Turner

      Listen to the audio version of this article

      N95 Respirator
      N95 Respirator

      Pesticide applicators are finding that acquiring Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) required for applications is now challenging as PPE is in short supply. Because many of the sales of respirators, face shields, and N95 face masks are being directed to health care workers and those working on the front line to protect from COVID-19, it is leading to a shortage for the agriculture industry. Increased PPE production might be too late for most agriculture operators and applicators to get them in time for spring and summer applications.

      Homemade face coverings are easily accessible and an acceptable form of protection from COVID-19 but are not adequate for applying pesticides. A pesticide label includes a list of required PPE. The label is a legal document and must be followed. So what should an applicator do if they are unable to secure the necessary equipment?

      Do your homework early:

      • Read the labels of the pesticides you intend to use for the season. If there are items that you can’t secure, consider an alternate product that does not require that level of PPE.
      • Pesticides may not be applied without the label-required PPE.
      • Understand no exemption or relaxation of the requirements has been made by EPA for fit testing or PPE.
      • Use a higher level of PPE. The disadvantage to this is that it may be more uncomfortable, more expensive and could be unavailable.
      • Talk with the University of Illinois Pesticide Safety Education team about alternative practices or products that do not require as much PPE.

      Places to Find Alternative Products and Practices:

      • CDMS Label Database: http://www.cdms.net/Label-Database
        Crop Data Management Systems (CDMS) works with key pesticide registrants, hosting their current labels and Safety Data Sheets online.
      • PICOL: https://picol.cahnrs.wsu.edu/Home/Index
        Pesticide Information Center Online (PICOL) for WA and OR: The search menu can find products by crop and pesticide type, and filter by target pest to seek out alternatives, and view current approved labels.
      • Agrian: https://home.agrian.com
        Works with manufacturers to have labels and other supporting documents. This search engine has a safety tab that lists the PPE requirements without having to search the label. The pesticide label can also be referenced.
      • USDA Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Database: https://ipmdata.ipmcenters.org
        Documents include common pests by crop, and a variety of pest management options.
      • NPIC’s Product Research Online: http://npic.orst.edu/NPRO
        Search for federally-registered pesticides by crop or by pest, and read labels online.




    • Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association 2020 Dicamba Recordkeeping Recommendations and Compliance Clarifications

      By Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association

      Listen to the audio version of this article

      In 2019, the Illinois Department of Agriculture received a record number of pesticide misuse complaints, including more than 700 that were dicamba related.  Many of those complaints resulted in the issuance of monetary penalties to the applicator, in the amount of $750 or $1,000. The misuse findings were split fairly evenly between commercial applicators and private applicators.

      IFCA provides the following recommendations to help you avoid the most common mistakes that occurred in 2019, particularly with recordkeeping.

      Note: All records related to dicamba application to soybean must be recorded within 72 hours of the application. Make sure that none of the 22 items required to be recorded are left blank. Recordkeeping forms are available at https://ifca.com/IllinoisDicambaTraining/Resources

      1. Wind speed and direction records: The dicamba labels require the applicator to record the wind speed and wind direction in the field of application, at boom height, at the start and finish of the application.

        Recommendation on recording wind speed & direction: In the field of application, stand at the boom and acquire the GIS coordinates on your phone, other device, or app. Take a screen shot or photo of the GIS coordinates and the start time of the application. Using a hand-held anemometer, take a photo of the wind speed and direction on the anemometer at the start of the application. Follow the same procedure at the completion of the application. You should also monitor wind speed, direction and gusts during the application; taking a photo of the wind readings in the middle of the application can also greatly strengthen your record of application.
      2. Failure to adequately document buffers (downwind and omni-directional): Applicators must always maintain a 110 or 220 foot buffer when applying these products, from the downwind outer edges of the field. You must document how you implemented the 110 or 220 foot downwind buffer, depending on which product you use and the rate of application. In counties with endangered species, you must also document the 57-foot omni-directional buffer to the other three sides of the field. A map of the endangered species counties is available here.

        Recommendation on documenting buffers: Draw a map or print a map of the field of application. The map or drawing should include all adjacent fields or areas on all sides of the field of application.  If sensitive soybean or another sensitive crop isn’t adjacent but is nearby, you should document the location of those fields as well. On the map, indicate (draw) where you left the down-wind buffer and write down what you used as the buffer. For example: There is a mowed grass area and then a corn field downwind. Indicate (draw on the map) what portion of these non-sensitive areas (in this case the managed grass area and corn field) you utilized as the downwind buffer. Other items that could constitute the buffer include roads, mowed and managed ditches, Xtend soybeans, unplanted fields and footprints of buildings (see the labels). If you had to leave an in-field buffer in the Xtend soybean field you must indicate (draw or highlight) the portion of the Xtend field in which you applied the buffer.

        For fields in endangered species omni-directional buffer counties, you must document the downwind buffer and you must also always document what exists on all other sides of the field. Trees, pastures, bodies of water, natural areas, un-mowed ditches and un-mowed grassy areas are all considered sensitive areas. If any of these areas exist within 57 feet of the edge of the field, you must draw and designate on the map what the areas are and how you implemented the 57-foot edge of field buffer on the three sides that are not the downwind sides of the field. Draw on the map what you used as the omni-directional buffer (i.e. in-field buffer, mowed areas next to the field, road next to the field, etc.).


      1. Consulting and documenting sensitive crop registries and DNR areas: The labels require you consult a sensitive crop registry. In Illinois that registry is FieldWatch (https://fieldwatch.com/). You must document the date you consulted the registry and what you determined from the website in reference to the field of application. ALSO, the Illinois Special Local Needs label requires you to determine if IL Dept of Natural Resources Nature Preserve Commission sites are nearby and protect them as you would a residential area if they are downwind. You can identify and download the coordinates of DNR Nature Preserve Commission sites at either of these sites:

        https://idnr.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=8217cd3aa26a40f2b8b1c123b d4b0cea.


        The important thing is to document the date in which you checked these registries and what you learned as a result, in terms of the location of sensitive crops and DNR sites to the intended field of application.  The date and your findings must be in the record of application.
      1. Records should be condensed and in one recordkeeping form if possible.  If IDA requests to  review your records of application, when you submit your records to IDA they must be complete. If additional documents are attached (such as maps or load-out tickets) it is helpful to not have to look at multiple documents in order to piece together the 22 required elements.
        We recommend you have the 22 items documented in a single document (record) of application. Supporting documents such as maps or narrative descriptions of buffers can accompany the main recordkeeping form.
      1. Documenting the 85 degree temperature restriction:  In 2020, the Illinois Special Local Needs  label requires you to check the forecasted high temperature for the field of application at https://www.weather.gov/. You can check the forecast up to 24 hours ahead of an intended application. If the forecast high for the zip code in the town where the field is located is 86 degrees or higher, it is a DO NOT SPRAY day. If the forecasted high is less than 86 degrees, you can spray but must also take the in-field temperature at the time of application and if it happens to be 86 degrees at the time of application, you cannot spray.  In all cases, print the screen of the weather forecast site for any day you apply dicamba and keep it in your record of application.   Also take a photo of the temperature reading (from your phone or sprayer    monitor) at the beginning and end of the application and keep it with your records.
      1. Adhere to the cut-off dates: There are three cut-off dates for dicamba application, and WHICHEVER COMES FIRST, you must comply with these cut-off requirements:
      • No more than 45 days after planting (5/20/20, Dr. Aaron Hager adds that if replanting is necessary, the original planting date must be used for determining the application cut-off date. Clearly delineate and document the replant areas separately.)
      • Not beyond the R1 stage of growth (the Tavium label states not beyond V4)
      • Not after June 20, 2020
      1. Other considerations: One of the most common questions IFCA receives is “how many violations can an applicator receive before their license is suspended or revoked?”

        There is no specific number of violations that trigger a suspension or revocation. The Illinois Pesticide Act authorizes the Director of IDA to modify, suspend or revoke any license after an opportunity for an administrative hearing. The Director is also authorized to suspend any license before a hearing when it is in the interest of the people of the State of Illinois.
        Be advised that spraying after the cut-off date could be considered cause for license suspension.

        Another common question is whether IDA is required to find fault if dicamba symptomology is present. Again, each case is different. The Pesticide Act establishes point values for Use and Violation criteria. The Act also establishes what administrative actions or monetary penalties must be imposed based on those point values. Bear in mind that the majority of pesticide labels declare that it is the applicator’s responsibility to comply with the label requirements and avoid drift.

      If you any questions regarding compliance with the dicamba labels and recordkeeping, please contact IFCA.  Feel free to share this guidance document with your farmer customers.

      Dicamba labels including the Special Local Needs labels, recordkeeping forms and other helpful resources can be downloaded at https://ifca.com/IllinoisDicambaTraining/Resources.

      IDA provides dicamba guidance at https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/agr/Pesticides/Pages/Dicamba.aspx.

    • Asian Giant Hornets: Your Questions Answered

      By Sarah Hughson
      Listen to the audio version of this article

      On May 3, 2020, articles and videos discussing the first instance of Asian giant hornets (Vespa mandarinia) identified in the US began to run in the national news. These headlines have raised concern about this animal and may leave some wondering if they have seen it or if we need to worry about it in Illinois. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about Asian giant hornets:

      Where has Asian giant hornet been found in North America?

      In September 2019, a nest of Asian giant hornets was found and destroyed on Vancouver Island in British Colombia, Canada. In Washington State, there were 3 photo sightings, each of a single hornet, in August, October and December of 2019. The December photo was of a dead hornet that was later submitted to experts and confirmed as an Asian giant hornet. This hornet was the only confirmed Asian giant hornet in the US.

      What is being done to detect and remove them?Washington State Department of Agriculture has already begun monitoring the areas where the hornets were sighted and the surrounding counties to determine if any hornets are present. Monitoring efforts include traps baited with food or pheromone attractants to capture foraging adults and infrared monitoring to identify potential nest sites. If Asian giant hornets are identified, they will be eradicated. There have been no sightings or trap captures so far in 2020.

      Asian Giant Hornet
      Asian Giant Hornet


      Asian Giant Hornet
      Asian Giant Hornet
      Asian Giant Hornet
      Asian Giant Hornet

      Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia), Washington State Department of Agriculture , Washington State Department of Agriculture, Bugwood.org

      Where is the hornet from and how did it get to the US?

      Asian giant hornets are native to forested areas in east Asia and southeast Asia. They occur in multiple countries but are most common in Japan. It is unclear how the hornets arrived in North America.

      Are they in Illinois?

       No. There have been no reports of Asian giant hornet in Illinois or anywhere in the US outside of Washington State. The hornets are not capable of reaching Illinois without being transported by humans. If a sighting is ever confirmed in Illinois, United States Department of Agriculture, Illinois Department of Agriculture and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will release a Pest Alert to notify the public and the media.

      How can they impact human health?

      Like our native hornet species, Asian giant hornets sting only if they are threatened or defending their nest. These hornets may also defend the nests of other insects they intend to use as food for their young, creating an additional situation where they could feel threatened and sting. Asian giant hornets feed on honey bees (Apis mellifera), so beekeepers are more likely to encounter these hornets. Beekeeping protective clothing is not thick enough to prevent stings from this hornet so beekeepers should not approach the hornets.

      The media has reported that people can be killed by Asian giant hornet stings. This is not the normal outcome of a single sting. Most people who have died after being stung by this insect were stung many times or had allergic reactions. This hornet’s venom is similar to that of other hornets but, because it is so large, it injects more venom and can have a greater impact on human health. Protecting people is one of the primary goals in monitoring and controlling these insects.

      How can they impact honey bees and wildlife?

      While adult Asian giant hornet workers feed on sweet foods like fruit and sap, they collect protein-rich foods to feed their larvae. These foods are usually other insects, including honey bees. Unlike Asian honey bees (Apis cerana) in the hornet’s native range, European honey bees in the US, are unable to defend themselves against this predator. A group of worker hornets can enter a honey bee hive and kill nearly all of the bees inside, but this occurs only in the late summer, when the hornets are collecting food for their young. In Japan, screens or small bars are placed over hive entrances to allow the bees to come and go but prevent hornets from entering. Currently, we do not know how these hornets could impact native bees or other wildlife. Protecting wildlife and honey bees are among the main reasons to closely monitor and control the hornets.

      What should I do if I see one?

      If you think you have seen this animal, do not approach it or attempt to remove a nest without professional help. Instead, contact University of Illinois Extension and let them know what you have seen. There is a good chance that the insect you are seeing is European hornet, baldfaced hornet or eastern cicada killer, which are all large wasps that occur in Illinois. Extension educators can provide identification and notify Illinois Department of Agriculture and United States Department of Agriculture if necessary.

      European hornet


      European Hornet
      European Hornet
      European Hornet
      European Hornet
      European Hornet
      European Hornet

      European hornet (Vespa crabro), Allan Smith-Pardo, Invasive Hornets, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org

      European hornet (Vespa crabro) was introduced to the US in the 1800s as a biocontrol agent and has become established in the Northeast, South and parts of the Midwest, including Illinois.

      European hornet is about 1 inch long with a yellow and black abdomen. The black bands on the abdomen extend into a V-shape over the center of the first few segments. Each abdominal segment has a black spot on the left and right side. For comparison, the Asian giant hornet is 1.5 – 1.75 inches long and noticeably bulkier than our local hornets. Asian giant hornet has an orange head and an abdomen with orange and black stripes, so if the wasp you see has strong yellow coloration on the abdomen, it is more likely a European hornet.

      The nesting sites of these species also differ. European hornets usually nest in tree holes but Asian giant hornet is a ground nesting species that may choose a nesting site in an abandoned animal hole in a forested area.

      European hornet is unlikely to sting but may approach or bump into a person to intimidate them so they leave the area. They usually only sting if handled or stepped on.

      Baldfaced hornet


      Baldfaced Hornet
      Baldfaced Hornet
      Baldfaced Hornet
      Baldfaced Hornet
      Baldfaced Hornet
      Baldfaced Hornet

      Left: Baldfaced hornet (Dolichovespula maculata), Johnny N. Dell, Bugwood.org
      Center: Baldfaced hornet (
      Dolichovespula maculata), Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org
      Right: Baldfaced hornet (
      Dolichovespula maculata), David Cappaert, Bugwood.org

      Baldfaced hornets (Dolichovespula maculata) are found throughout most of North America. They are 0.5 - 0.8 inches in length and appear bulkier than other native wasps of a similar size. Adults have a black body with distinct white markings on their head and white banding on the last few segments of their abdomen. Asian giant hornets are at least twice the length of the average baldfaced hornet worker and at least twice as wide. Asian giant hornet has a bright orange head and an abdomen with orange and black stripes. While baldfaced hornets appear bulky and proportionately similar to Asian giant hornets, the white markings on the head and abdomen will let you know that you have encountered baldfaced hornet and not Asian giant hornet.

      Baldfaced hornets build papery football-shaped nests on tree branches or shrubs. The nests are positioned at least 3 feet above the ground and some can be located very high in trees. In contrast, Asian giant hornets nest in the ground in forested areas.

      Like many bees, wasps and hornets, baldfaced hornets will sting if they feel threatened or if their nest is disturbed. However, they are a species of yellowjacket and like other yellowjackets, they may feel threatened and sting if you are too close to a nest or if they are swatted or otherwise threatened while foraging. It is a good idea to avoid baldfaced hornet and yellowjacket nesting sites and give foragers a respectful distance.

      Eastern cicada killer


      Eastern Cicada Killer
      Eastern Cicada Killer
      Eastern Cicada Killer
      Eastern Cicada Killer
      Eastern Cicada Killer
      Eastern Cicada Killer

      Left: Cicada killer (Sphecius speciosus), David Cappaert, Bugwood.org
      Center: Cicada killer (
      Sphecius speciosus), Nancy Hinkle, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
      Right: Cicada killer (
      Sphecius speciosus), Jim Occi, BugPics, Bugwood.org

      Eastern cicada killers (Sphecius speciosus) are large wasps native to most of the eastern US. The cicada killer is 1.5 inches long, with a red to brown head and a black abdomen with uneven yellow banding. The Asian giant hornet is similar in length measuring 1.5 – 1.75 inches long but much bulkier. Asian giant hornet has an orange head and an abdomen with orange and black stripes.

      Their nesting sites also differ from those of the Asian giant hornet. Cicada killers are not social insects, each female digs a hole in an open area with bare soil where she rears her young. Female cicada killers collect cicadas and bring them back to their hole to feed the young. Asian giant hornets are eusocial, with many individuals living in a nest and working together to rear their young. Asian hornets prefer to nest in the ground in forested areas away from open areas and humans.

      Male cicada killers defend a territory where they may approach people who pass within the boundary. While this is an intimidating behavior, male cicada killers do not have a sting and cannot harm you. Female cicada killers do have a sting but usually do not approach people and only sting if handled or stepped on.

      Additional Resources:

      Asian giant hornet and human health. Washington State Department of Agriculture. https://agr.wa.gov/departments/insects-pests-and-weeds/insects/hornets/agh-human-health

      Asian giant hornet fact sheet. 2020. Susan Cobey, Tim Lawrence and Mike Jensen. Washington State University Extension. https://s3.wp.wsu.edu/uploads/sites/2091/2020/04/AGHPreReview4Factsheet.pdf

      Asian giant hornet: What gardeners need to know. Washington State Department of Agriculture. https://cms.agr.wa.gov/WSDAKentico/Documents/Pubs/831-AsianGiantHornet-FactSheet-Gardeners.pdf

      Asian giant hornet: What outdoor workers need to know. Washington State Department of Agriculture. https://cms.agr.wa.gov/WSDAKentico/Documents/Pubs/834-AsianGiantHornet-FactSheet-OutdoorWorkers.pdf

      New pest response guidelines. 2020. Amber Tripodi and Trace Hardin. United States Department of Agriculture. https://cms.agr.wa.gov/WSDAKentico/Documents/PP/PestProgram/Vespa_mandarinia_NPRG_10Feb2020-(002).pdf

      Sizing up the Asian giant hornet. Washington State Department of Agriculture. https://agr.wa.gov/departments/insects-pests-and-weeds/insects/hornets/size-comparisons


    • Resources for Safe Disinfectant Use

      By Michelle Wiesbrook

      Listen to the audio version of this article

      As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces remains an important part of preventing the spread. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to determine the difference between facts and myths regarding COVID-19. When used properly, disinfectants can be effective against the spread of diseases such as COVID-19. However, when used incorrectly, they can cause harm. Exposure too soon after use can irritate the skin. A freshly wiped down shopping cart can be hazardous to a child who is placed inside before the product has dried. Additionally, due to supply shortages of certain cleaning products and sadly an abundance of misinformation on social media, many have taken a do-it-yourself approach when it comes to disinfecting, whether it be mixing different cleaners or using them in an unlabeled manner. As a result of these misuses of cleaning products, several poisonings have occurred unfortunately. 

      The American Association of Pest Control Centers has issued an Alert titled, “Using Disinfectants:  COVID-19”. The goal is to get the word out about preventing poison exposures to commonly used medicines, hand sanitizers, and cleaning products. A primary point addressed in the alert is that disinfectants are not intended to be used on the skin or in the body. Tips on preventing harmful exposures as well as links for more information and emergency numbers are provided as well. This resource can be found at:  https://piper.filecamp.com/uniq/tWyujn4aphIEG7lh.pdf.

      On April 30th, the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) and the American Association of Poison Control Centers worked in conjunction to host a Disinfectant Q&A on Facebook. Commonly asked safety questions about disinfectants were addressed and can be found at https://www.facebook.com/aapcc. Scroll down their page to find the posts. Questions such as these are answered:

      • How often should I be disinfecting “high-touch” surfaces?
      • Why shouldn’t I use a disinfectant on food packaging or produce?
      • Will my protective equipment still be effective if I try to disinfect masks or gloves for COVID-19?
      • I can’t find disinfectants (or hand sanitizers) at the store. I saw a great recipe online, what are the risks if I try DIY?
      • Why can’t I spray disinfectants into the air to kill COVID-19?
      • What are the differences between sanitizers, disinfectants and antiseptics?

      Additionally, EPA has created a poster on “6 steps for Safe and Effective Disinfectant Use” available at:  https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2020-04/documents/disinfectants-onepager.pdf.

      NPIC has created a new infographic to help people navigate disinfectant label directions at:   http://npic.orst.edu/outreach/covid-infographic.pdf

      For assistance with finding disinfectant products that are effective against COVID-19, check EPA’s List N which is featured on a newly revamped website. At https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2. Additionally, there is a new app to launch which allows for easier sorting and searching of disinfectant products. It can be found at: https://cfpub.epa.gov/giwiz/disinfectants/index.cfm. For further assistance, check out “Help with Selecting Disinfectants for COVID-19” in the last issue of this newsletter, at https://extension.illinois.edu/newsletters/illinois-pesticide-review-newsletter/marchapril-2020#anchor-1. These steps can protect consumers from purchasing illegal and unregistered disinfectant products. EPA and Customs Border Protection have been working diligently to stop those sales and seize illegal products. 


      EPA email 4/24/20 and 5/12/20.

      NPIC email 4/30/20.

      American Association of Poison Control Centers news release 4/23/20.

    • Download This Issue of the Newsletter

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    • Editorial Notes

      The development and publication of this newsletter has been supported with funding from the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

      Michelle Wiesbrook, Extension Specialist, Pesticide Safety Education

      The Illinois Pesticide Review is published six times a year. For more information about pesticide safety or for more issues of this newsletter, please visit us at www.pesticidesafety.illinois.edu. You can also reach us at 800-644-2123.

      Disclaimer: Mention of trade names in this newsletter is for general information purposes only and does not constitute endorsement of one product over another, nor is discrimination intended against any product.

      Copyright © 2020, Board of Trustees, University of Illinois

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    • COVID-19 Effects on Illinois Pesticide Applicator Training, Testing, and Licensing

      By Michelle Wiesbrook

      **Updated with a link to the new workbook on 4/16/20.

      Listen to the audio version of this article

      The impact of the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) continues to create uncertainty and concern both globally and here in our community. Following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, the University of Illinois has implemented social-distancing protocols that impact all university events. Illinois Extension, as the outreach program of the university, aligns with all policies related to public health and safety.

      The Pesticide Applicator Training and Testing Clinics jointly administered by the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDA) and University of Illinois Extension Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP) are cancelled for the remainder of the clinic season (through May). Refunds will be issued as soon as possible.

      For those currently licensed, but needing to retest:  The Illinois Department of Agriculture will extend licenses that expired on December 31, 2019 until December 31, 2020.  If license verification is required, contact IDA at AGR.CLM@illinois.gov or (217) 785-2427. 

      For those who are unlicensed and would like to become an operator for 2020:  Due to the special circumstance, non-certified applicators (operators) will not have a testing requirement for the remainder of 2020. Operators must continue to work under the direction of a certified applicator and receive general pesticide training. The supervising applicator must be certified in each category applicable to the pesticide use.  A training option is this video, Agricultural Worker and Handler Pesticide Safety Training at https://vimeo.com/215241678.

      For those NOT currently licensed and still needing to test in either General Standards or any category:  All in-house testing has been suspended.  IDA is offering online testing for a limited number of exam categories.  To request and register for an exam, please carefully follow the instructions at https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/agr/Pesticides/Pages/online-testing.aspx.  Please note that these exams are being offered in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  IDA has stated that all individuals who take an online exam to receive a temporary license will be required to re-test in 2021.    

      For those who still have licensing and testing questions:  Please consult IDA’s FAQ site at https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/agr/Pesticides/Pages/Cancellations-FAQ.aspx.

      For those who need training:  PSEP offers several online trainings that can be used for individual study. For those preparing for the General Standards exam, the Private Applicator course online can serve as a substitute.  **A new workbook created for this purpose in English only is now available.**  Registration is required and the fee is $15.  For more information, visit www.pesticidesafety.illinois.edu.

      For those who need study materials:  Manuals and workbooks are available for order at pubsplus.illinois.edu. Shipping delays will likely occur due to the shelter in place mandate and restrictions in campus mailing.  We are currently unable to accept publication orders through the Pesticide Safety Education Program's website.

      Training and testing opportunities will be available at a later time, once stay at home restrictions are lifted.  We are already starting on the 20-21 training and testing season schedule.  Please consult the University of Illinois PSEP Facebook Page for up-to-date information regarding training and testing.



    • Help with Selecting Disinfectants for COVID-19

      By Maria Turner

      Listen to the audio version of this article

      In general, disinfectants control a wide range of pathogens that are or could be a problem on hard, porous and/or nonporous surfaces. These pathogens may include; Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella enterica, Escherichia coli (commonly known as E. coli), and even some strains of the flu. Some pathogens are known problems; some are not likely to be an issue; and others are emerging and therefore have been unavailable to study. In the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic, we are turning to disinfectants for help, but how do we know if they are effective?

      The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registers disinfectants for use and, as such, classifies pathogens into three tiers: small non-enveloped viruses, large non-enveloped viruses, and enveloped viruses. According to EPA, corona viruses are enveloped viruses, which is the easiest tier of virus to kill with the appropriate disinfectant product. The criteria for that classification is based on how the three types are inactivated by disinfectant. When an emerging viral pathogen is identified, a disinfectant manufacturer has to provide evidence to EPA that their particular product can be effective against the pathogen if they wish to make pesticidal claims against that pathogen. 

      The product label lists pathogens it is effective against.

      Normally, in order for a product to endorse a claim to kill a pathogen, it must first prove its ability to be effective against the known pathogen with extensive scientific research, which takes considerable time. In the case of an emerging pathogen, time is of the essence. The EPA offers guidance to registrants on the required criteria when making claims on emerging pathogens not previously listed on their label. This guide, “Emerging Viral Pathogen Claims for SARS-CoV-2: Submission Information for Registrants” can be found at: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/emerging-viral-pathogen-claims-sars-cov-2-submission-information-registrants. The provisions allow manufacturers to be able to request an amendment to the label by proving that the disinfectant has provided efficacy against harder-to-kill pathogens. (For example, Rotavirus is harder-to-kill than SARS-CoV-2). The EPA reviews the claim to determine its safety and then can approve the claim, thus allowing the manufacturer to make off-label claims to the public. The scientific testing will still need to be conducted and submitted to EPA, but this expedited process can be used to get something in place immediately.

      Picture of the label the EPA Registration Number circled
      Check the EPA registration number on the product label.

      As many products are coming to market, the EPA has been helping manufacturers work through the amendments and create a list of products that can be used against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. EPA is referring to this list as “List N”. When purchasing a product, consumers can check the EPA registration number to see if it is included on the list and will therefore be effective against COVID-19. This list, found at: www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2, is being updated frequently. The label and table images below are provided as an example of what to look for. Again, refer to the website for an up to date list. 


      List N with bottom row highlighted
      Locate the same EPA registration number on EPA’s List N.

      In List N, the column that reads “Follow the directions and preparation for the following virus” shows Rotavirus, and the question might be asked, why doesn’t it say SARS-CoV-2?  This column lists either viruses that are another type of human coronavirus similar to SARS-CoV-2 or viruses that are harder-to-kill than the human coronavirus.  EPA allows both.  Be sure to note the next column over.  Pay close attention to the contact time, which is the amount of time the surface should be visibly wet, which is listed in minutes.

       Before making your final selection and heading to the check out, be sure to fully read the directions for use on the product’s label. Special attention should be given to the contact time on the surface that is treated so there is full effectiveness. Carefully follow all label directions. If a product is not on the list, it has not been qualified for use against COVID-19. Remember that disinfectants are pesticides and the label is the law. For additional information about using disinfectants effectively with steps to reduce your risk while using them, check out http://npic.orst.edu/ingred/ptype/amicrob/covid19.html.




      https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-releases-list-disinfectants-use-against-covid-19 (March 5, 2020)




    • University of Illinois Plant Clinic Operations during COVID-19

      By Sarah Hughson

      Listen to the audio version of this article

      The University of Illinois Plant Clinic is currently open and accepting samples. The Plant Clinic is running on a reduced staff in accordance with social distancing guidelines. As a result, fewer staff are in the lab and they have a reduced ability to return phone calls. They ask that clients please send an email, which can be replied to by staff members even when they are not present in the lab. However, if a client does not have access to email, they are welcome to call and leave a voicemail with their question and contact information, and a staff member will call them back when they are able.


      Submitting samples

      Samples can be submitted by mail or dropped off at the Plant Clinic with slight changes in procedure:

      Mail Samples:

      • Please use USPS to ship samples and email the Plant Clinic with the tracking number, if there is a tracking number. Mail is currently arriving once or twice per week, but low numbers of samples are being submitted so they are being processed very quickly.
      • If UPS or FedEx are used, clients MUST provide a tracking number. Neither UPS or FedEx are currently delivering to the building so Plant Clinic staff have to go pick up packages (they won’t know to expect a package without a tracking number).

      Drop-off Samples:

      • Samples can be left in a large, green, drop-off box located at the south doors of Turner Hall (opposite the greenhouse). A map of the drop-off location is pictured below. Sample submission forms and pens are available in the box. The box is checked daily.
      map showing where the drop-off is
      Map of the U of IL Plant Clinic with the Drop-off location indicated.

      University of Illinois Plant Clinic Contact Information

      Website: https://web.extension.illinois.edu/plantclinic/

      Email: plantclinic@illinois.edu

      Mailing Address:

      University of Illinois Plant Clinic

      S-417 Turner Hall, 1102 S. Goodwin Ave.

      Urbana, IL 61801

      Phone: 217-333-0519

    • Dicamba Resource Available

      By Maria Turner

      Listen to the audio version of this article

      The Pesticide Safety Education Team has updated the reference guide for applicators who will use Dicamba on soybeans. Knowing that planting is approaching quickly this year, it is crucial to now become familiar with the requirements before it is time to spray and you find yourself in a time crunch.  Read the label closely and follow the additional state restrictions. Remember the last application of Dicamba on soybeans is June 20th or 45 days after planting or after R1 and there is a V4 cut off for Tavium. There is also a temperature restriction. Do not apply if the air temperature at the time of application at the field is over 85 degrees F or if the National Weather Service forecasted high temperature for the nearest available location for the day of application exceeds 85 degrees F. Wind speed and wind direction can impact the application.  If you use a wind meter, take a picture of the mph reading on the screen, so that you can use this for your label required record sheet. Please check out the link to the resource (

      Putting the Pieces Together about Dicamba on Soybeans in 2020


    • 2020 Fungicide Table Available for Corn and Soybeans

      By Maria Turner

      Listen to the audio version of this article

      The 2020 fungicide efficacy tables for corn and soybeans are now available at the Illinois Field crop disease hub. These tables allow producers to study individual trials that have been done by plant pathologists across the United states for fungicides in corn and soybeans. There have been several additions in products and new diseases as well, including Tar Spot in corn. This can be a valuable tool for your 2020 growing season.


    • Download This Issue of the Newsletter

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    • Editorial Notes

      The development and publication of this newsletter has been supported with funding from the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

      Michelle Wiesbrook, Extension Specialist, Pesticide Safety Education

      The Illinois Pesticide Review is published six times a year. For more information about pesticide safety or for more issues of this newsletter, please visit us at www.pesticidesafety.illinois.edu. You can also reach us at 800-644-2123.

      Disclaimer: Mention of trade names in this newsletter is for general information purposes only and does not constitute endorsement of one product over another, nor is discrimination intended against any product.

      Copyright © 2019, Board of Trustees, University of Illinois

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    • Pesticide and Field Record-Keeping App Available

      By Maria Turner

      Listen to the audio version of this article

      Screenshot of Pesticide and Field Records App
      "Pesticide and Field Records App"

      Iowa State University has developed a free pesticide and record-keeping app for iPads, Phones and Android users. It is called Pesticide and Field Records II and can be found on Apple's App Store or Google Play. The app includes Iowa products with EPA registration numbers in it but users can add additional products if they need to.

      The app can link data across devices by logging in with the same email and password on multiple devices to sync data, meaning that you can use this with your phone and then sync data back to the office.

      If you use and Android phone, download the Pesticide and Field Records app from Google Play®

      If you use an iPhone, download the Pesticide and Field Records II app from the Apple® App Store®

      The development of the app was partially funded by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and EPA Region 7.

    • Are You Following All of the Record-Keeping Requirements When Applying Dicamba on Soybeans?

      By Maria Turner

      Listen to the audio version of this article

      We have all read about the record number of dicamba related complaints that occurred in the 2019 growing season. When the Illinois Department of Agriculture investigates a complaint, they begin with the application records and if the applicator followed the label instructions of the products used. This year, one of the standout issues, of what would be considered a label violation, was that many did not complete a label required record sheet for each of the dicamba products for soybean (Engenia, Xtendimax, Tavium, and FeXapan). If you apply these products, please make yourself familiar with this requirement so that you won’t be in violation.

      By the Illinois Pesticide Act, all applicators using a Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP), must take and maintain records of their application for two years; recording who made the application, the product, the amount, the date and the location. So, what makes dicamba for soybeans so different from another restricted use pesticide? The four dicamba/auxin specific product labels require a record sheet to be completed within 72 hours after the application. These record sheets require applicators to record: conditions before application, target pest(s), sensitive downwind crops, the nozzles used, application timing, and spray specifics. There are roughly 21-22 items that need to be completed. This should not be confused with record-keeping requirements for RUP’s. The specific information required for traditional record-keeping on RUP’s includes the following:

      1. The name and the certification number of the certified applicator who applied or who supervised the application of the restricted use pesticides 
      2. The pesticide product name and its U.S. EPA registration number 
      3. The amount of chemical concentrate applied per unit (e.g., pounds or ounces per acre) 
      4. The date of application (M/D/Y)
      5. The location of the application, followed by a concise description of the location (county, range, township, section or legal property description) and type of treatment (spot or broadcast).

      The additional information required by the labels of the dicamba/auxin specific products (Engenia, Xtendimax, Tavium, and FeXapan) include:

      1. The date neighboring fields were surveyed for susceptible crops 
      2. The name of sensitive crop registry consulted
      3. The date of dicamba or auxin specific training completed and provider
      4. The crop it was applied to
      5. The buffer distance calculation
      6. The size of the treated area
      7. The total amount applied
      8. The record of tank cleanout and procedure prior to use of dicamba
      9. The nozzle information (manufacturer brand, type, orifice size, and operating pressure)
      10. The application timing (burn down, pre-plant, at planting, pre-emergence, post-emergence)
      11. Date the crop was planted
      12. The spray information – at the start and finish must include time, air temperature, wind speed, wind direction, approved dicamba rate per acre, spray volume applied and tank-mix products (brand names, EPA#’s)
      13. The record of the spray system equipment cleanout (additional information might include date and method of cleanout before and after applications).

      The product labels clearly stated the record keeping requirements. They were also included in the mandatory annual training for all applicators using Engenia, Xtendimax, Tavium, and FeXapan herbicides. Despite these facts, many applicators received label violations because they were not aware of, or ignored the label’s record keeping requirements. Be sure to complete all of the required records following each application. Product stewardship will be essential for dicamba to remain as an available tool for years to come.

      The product manufacturers have record-keeping sheets available to help applicators remain compliant. Specific product records sheets can be found at the following links:

      Tavium (Note: Currently the record sheet posted has 14 days listed.  Watch for updates.)

      Sprayer in bean field
      Product stewardship will be essential for dicamba to remain as an available tool for years to come.


    • The EPA’s Review of Glyphosate: Determinations for Human Health, the Environment and Label Changes

      This EPA docket was summarized by Sarah Hughson

      Listen to the audio version of this article

      The EPA has reviewed the registration for glyphosate.  Scientific studies are periodically reviewed for all pesticides to make sure they meet the EPA’s standard of maintaining the pesticide’s function without unreasonable impacts on human health or the environment.

      The EPA did not identify any risks to human health from glyphosate when applied as directed but they did incorporate some label changes for all glyphosate products to limit environmental impacts.

      The following is a summary of the determinations and label changes for all glyphosate products made by the EPA.

      Human Health Risks

      The EPA assessed cancer and non-cancer risks to human health from all routes of exposure for all registered uses and did not identify any risks of concern when glyphosate was used according to the labeled directions.  There was no dietary risk of concern for humans and there were no residential, non-occupational bystander or occupational risk of concern to people.  They also concluded that no additional human health data is currently needed to make this determination.

      Ecological Risks

      No potential risk was identified for fish, aquatic invertebrates or amphibians when applied as described on the label.  A low potential for risk was identified for birds and mammals.  This risk is mainly posed by spray drift into their habitat.  The EPA has made a number of label changes to limit the impact of spray drift.

      While the EPA identified low adverse impacts on bees at the individual or colony levels, they determined that more research was needed to fully evaluate exposure when higher application rates are used.

      A draft of the endangered species assessment is planned to be released later in 2020.

      Label Changes

      Spray Drift Management

      The EPA is requiring label changes to reduce off-target spray drift that will be consistent across all glyphosate products.  This is expected to reduce environmental exposure and risk to non-target plants and animals without reducing the benefit of glyphosate to applicators.

      Label language will include changes to droplet size restrictions, removal of advisory statements for spray drift using airblast applications because it is not used in airblast applications, and updated swath displacement language for aerial applications.

      The following spray drift reduction language is mandatory and will be included on all glyphosate products applied in a liquid spray application.

      • “Applicators must not spray during temperature inversions.”
      • “For ground boom applications, apply with the release height no more than 4 feet above the ground or crop canopy.”
      • “For ground and/or aerial applications, select nozzle and pressure that deliver Medium or coarser droplets as indicated in nozzle manufacturer’s catalogues and in accordance with American Society of Agricultural & Biological Engineers Standard 572.1 (ASABE S572.1), unless tank-mixing with a pesticide product that requires use of a finer droplet size (ASABE S572.1).  If a finer droplet size is used, applicators are required to use a fine or coarser droplet size (ASABE S572.1).”
      • “For aerial applications, do not apply when wind speeds exceed 15 mph at the application site.  If the wind speed is greater than 10 mph, the boom length must be 65% or less of the wingspan for fixed wing aircraft and 75% or less of the rotor blade diameter for helicopters.  Otherwise, the boom length must be 75% or less of the wingspan for fixedwing aircraft and 90% or less of the rotor diameter for helicopters.”
      • “For aerial applicators, if the windspeed is 10 miles per hour or less, applicators must use ½ swath displacement upwind at the downwind edge of the field.  When the windspeed is between 11-15 miles per hour, applicators must use ¾ swath displacement upwind at the downwind edge of the field.”
      • “For aerial applications, the release height must be no higher than 10 feet from the top of the ground or crop canopy, unless a greater application height is required for pilot safety.”

      On updated labels, applicators will find language stating that only “medium” or coarser droplet sizes can be used when glyphosate is the sole active ingredient being applied.  However, “fine” or coarser droplet sizes may be used when glyphosate is tank-mixed with other pesticides that require “fine” or coarser droplets, like insecticides.  These statements are expected to eliminate the need for VMD (volume median diameter) information.

      Maximum Application Parameters

      The EPA is requiring that maximum application parameters be defined on the glyphosate labels, something that has not been required for all labels in the past.  The goal of this decision was not to change the application rates but to provide clarity and consistency among the labels.

      Statements for Aquatic Uses

      Updated environmental hazard statements will be required on labels for aquatic uses so they are consistent with statements on newer pesticide labels.  An additional statement will be added to the Directions for Use section on aquatic use labels directing users to apply glyphosate in strips to avoid oxygen depletion when weeds cover the total surface area of a water body.

      Rotational Crops

      Since many glyphosate labels do not provide instructions about crop rotation, the EPA is requiring that glyphosate labels now include a statement with crop rotation information.  The statement should indicate that treated fields can be rotated to a labeled crop at any time or that the last glyphosate application must be made a minimum of 30 days before a field is rotated to a nonlabelled crop.

      Pollinators and Other Non-target Organisms 

      The EPA is requiring a non-target organism advisory statement.  “This product is toxic to plants and may adversely impact the forage and habitat of non-target organisms, including pollinators, in areas adjacent to the treated site. Protect the forage and habitat of non-target organisms by following label directions intended to minimize spray drift.”

      Herbicide Resistance Management 

      Registrants will be required to provide growers and users with information and recommendations to slow the development and spread of herbicide resistant weeds.

      Learn More

      To learn more about the specific details described in the EPA docket, including specific label phrasing for aquatic uses and maximum application parameters, please refer to the 2020 Environmental Protection Agency document, Glyphosate Interim Registration Review Decision Case Number 0178.

    • Common Pesticide License Questions

      By Michelle Wiesbrook, adapted from an article originally written by Bruce Paulsrud

      Listen to the audio version of this article

      Do I need a license to apply pesticides to my own land?

      Answer: Yes, if you choose to use a restricted-use pesticide (RUP), you are required to show proof of license before you may buy the RUP. These products have an obvious “Restricted-Use Pesticide” statement at the top of the pesticide label. If the product is not a RUP, it is a general-use pesticide and, as a farmer or homeowner, you do not need a license to apply it to your own land or land you rent.

      Do I need a license to apply fertilizer as part of my lawn-care business?

      Answer: No, as long as the fertilizer does not contain a pesticide. Fertilizers of the “Weed-n-feed” and “Grub-n-Feed” type contain pesticides and, as a commercial applicator, you must be licensed to apply these products. Whether you apply pesticides or only fertilizers, you must post the turf area after application. 

      What is the difference between “Private,” “Commercial for Hire,” and “Commercial Not for Hire” pesticide license designations?

      Answer: A Private Applicator license is required for persons who—for the purpose of producing an agricultural commodity primarily intended for sale, consumption, propagation, or other use by humans or animals—use or supervise the use of a restricted-use pesticide (1) on property owned, rented, or leased by themselves or their employer, or (2) on no more than two neighbors’ farms as exchange for labor.

      A Commercial for Hire Applicator or Operator license is required of persons who apply a pesticide (restricted or general use) for any purpose on property other than that owned, rented, or leased by themselves or by their employer. If you apply pesticides for profit, this license designation is appropriate for you.

      A Commercial Not for Hire Applicator or Operator license is required of persons who apply pesticides (restricted or general use) for any purpose on the property of their employer when such activity is a requirement of the terms of employment and the application is limited to property under the control of the employer only. Examples include grain elevator managers and workers, rural electric company field personnel, railroad rights-of-way maintenance personnel, groundskeepers in public cemeteries and golf courses, park-district maintenance personnel, foresters (public land), mosquito-abatement-district personnel, county and township weed commissioners, groundskeepers of public establishments, State Department employees, state university and college employees, Extension educators, vocational agricultural teachers, and other public employees who apply pesticides as part of their job requirements.

      I farm and operate a custom pesticide application business. Which license do I need?

      Answer: If you use restricted-use pesticides on your farm, you must be licensed as a Private Applicator. In addition, for your custom application business, you must be licensed as a Commercial for Hire Pesticide Applicator.

      I’m confused about the terms “Applicator” and “Operator.”

      Answer: After you decide which license designation is appropriate for you (see above question), you need to decide if you should be listed as an Applicator or Operator. Simply stated, an Operator works under the direct supervision of their Applicator. To become an Operator, you must pass the General Standards exam. An Applicator must also pass this exam, plus one or more category exams (for example, Turf, Field Crops). Both Applicators and Operators are permitted to operate application equipment; handle, mix, and apply pesticides; store pesticides; and dispose of excess pesticides and containers. However, the Applicator must be accessible to his or her Operators when they are working with pesticides.  If you work alone or are the only one in your company that applies pesticides, you must be licensed as an Applicator.

      I have two Applicators where I work; one is licensed in Turf and the other in Ornamentals. As an Operator, may I apply pesticides to turf and trees?

      Answer: Yes, but each Applicator’s license number must be listed on your operator’s license. If you want to add or change an Applicator, simply call the Illinois Department of Agriculture, (800)641-3934, and ask to have your paperwork and license changed.

      Occasionally, I am asked to spray and kill the grass and weeds along fences and weeds growing driveways and parking lots. Which category do I need?

      Answer: Although you may be spraying grass in these sites, the grass is not maintained as turf, so the turf license is not appropriate for these applications. For these jobs, you need the Rights-of-Way category. In addition, this category allows you to spray roadsides, electric powerlines, pipelines, railroads, and other rights-of-way sites. 

      I work at a grain elevator and several local farmers have asked me to fumigate their grain. Does my Commercial Not for Hire Grain Facility license allow this?

      Answer: With your current license, you may not fumigate the farmer’s grain if the grain does not belong to your company. To custom fumigate, you need to be licensed through the Illinois Department of Public Health, (217)782-4674. A farmer who wishes to fumigate his or her own grain must be certified first as a Private Applicator and then certified in Grain Fumigation to purchase and use grain fumigants.

      Is there any way I can take the test today before 12:30 or can I take my category tests on day 1 of this 2 day clinic? 

      Answer: Unfortunately, you cannot. It takes time for IDA to set up all the equipment and supplies needed for testing so they won't be ready until their published, schedule time. They can't make exceptions or chaos would ensue when everyone else expected the same. Thank you for understanding. Also, due to the large number of General Standards exams (up to 400) being given on day 1, it makes sense to focus on only one exam that day.

      Can I take my category exam first and then worry about taking General Standards?

      Answer: No. You should take category exams such as Field Crops and Turfgrass only after first successfully passing the General Standards exam.

      I forgot my letter from IDA. Can I still take the test or do I need to go home to get it?

      Answer: Yes you can still test without it but you will need to provide your social security number for the paper work instead of the USA Plants ID number provided on the letter. Your pesticide license may already contain that number, so check your wallet. 

      I'm between jobs right now. Can I still take the test and who do I write down as my employer?

      Answer: Yes, you can still test. Simply write on the forms "seeking employment" for the employer's name. Once employed, call IDA with the new information.  

      Can I just use the calculator on my phone?

      Answer: No. Only basic function calculators are allowed during testing. Phones have too many functions that lend to cheating. "Phone a friend" is an option on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" but not with pesticide testing.

    • National Pesticide Safety Education Month
    • Download This Issue of the Newsletter

      Download, save, and share the 2020 January/February issue of the newsletter. 

    • Editorial Notes

      Editorial Notes

      The development and publication of this newsletter has been supported with funding from the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

      Michelle Wiesbrook, Extension Specialist, Pesticide Safety Education

      The Illinois Pesticide Review is published six times a year. For more information about pesticide safety or for more issues of this newsletter, please visit us at www.pesticidesafety.illinois.edu. You can also reach us at 800-644-2123.

      Disclaimer: Mention of trade names in this newsletter is for general information purposes only and does not constitute endorsement of one product over another, nor is discrimination intended against any product.

      Copyright © 2020, Board of Trustees, University of Illinois

    • Fruit Crops Manual Revised

      By Travis Cleveland

      Illinois Pesticide Safety Education Manual – Fruit Crops (39-20) was recently revised and is available through the University of Illinois Pesticide Safety Education Program website, at Illinois Extension's online publications store, or at most county Extension offices. Each manual costs $15 plus shipping and handling. The previous edition (39-17) included content for both fruit crop applicators and vegetable crop applicators. That edition has been replaced with two separate manuals, Illinois Pesticide Safety Education Manual: Vegetable Crops (39-19) and Illinois Pesticide Safety Education Manual: Fruit Crops (39-20).

      The revised Fruit Crops manual covers topics including integrated pest management strategies, common weeds, insects, and diseases of Illinois fruit crops, as well as pesticide application and calibration for those crops. The manual includes color images for many of the pests, giving applicators an easy-to-use reference for identifying and controlling the many fruit crop pests. The manual is intended to be used in preparation for Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Fruit Crops Pest Control certification exam.

      This fruit crops category is for commercial and non-commercial applicators using or supervising the use of pesticides in production of small fruits or tree fruits and nuts as well as on grasslands and non-crop agricultural lands associated with the land on which fruit or nut crops are grown.

    • Revised Guide on Air Temperature Inversions Available

      By Michelle Wiesbrook and Matt Gill, adapted from an email by Andrew Thostenson, North Dakota State University

      Listen to the audio version of this article

      North Dakota State University (NDSU) Extension has recently released a revised version of their publication, “Air Temperature Inversions: Causes, Characteristics and Potential Effects on Pesticide Spray Drift.” Pesticide applicators can use this detailed guide to help understand and recognize inversions. This knowledge is critical, as spraying during an inversion can greatly increase spray drift.

      The normal daytime air temperature profile is characterized by decreasing air temperature with increasing altitude. In contrast, an air temperature inversion corresponds to an increase in air temperature with increasing altitude. The real issue with inversions is that air density is inversely related to air temperature. If the air at ground level is at a lower temperature than the air at (for example) 10 feet, then the air at ground level is also denser than the air at 10 feet. The result is very stable air near the ground, allowing only lateral movement of air within the height of the inversion. Spray droplets released in these conditions, especially when humidity is also high, are at risk to drift much longer distances than would be possible during normal air temperature conditions.

      The guide characterizes inversions and explains how clouds, wind, and surface conditions come into play. One must-read section focuses on misconceptions about inversions, such as “cold air and warm air are treated as separate masses”. Truly, there is much information in this guide that would benefit pesticide applicators, and after reading it in its entirety, you may find you know more than your local weathercaster. This publication was first released in 2014. According to Andrew Thostenson, NDSU Pesticide Program Specialist, this revision includes more graphics describing the timing, duration, and intensity of air temperature inversions. These graphics were developed using real world data, collected from weather stations across North Dakota and Minnesota during 2017 and 2018, and really do help to visualize the concepts.

      This publication is available online and can be viewed by section or downloaded in its entirety as a pdf. For additional reading on inversions, please read Scott Bretthauer’s article in the November/December 2010 issue of this newsletter.

      Much research has been conducted on temperature inversions and the resulting effect on spray drift. The University of Missouri has been leading this charge and they summarize their recent research. Their short video explaining temperature inversions is helpful. When it comes to spraying pesticides and inversions, there isn’t an easy button unfortunately, but there are tools out there to help make good decisions. One example is the Pocket Spray Smart app in the March/April 2017 issue of this newsletter.

      Illustration Credits: NDSU

    • Changes for Dicamba Use on Soybeans in Illinois for 2020

      By Maria Turner, adapted from an Illinois Department of Agriculture Press Release

      Listen to the audio version of this article

      The Illinois Department of Agriculture announced additional dicamba label restrictions for the 2020 growing season. Illinois had the highest record of complaints for dicamba use at 724 for 2019 with most of those occurring in July/August. Dicamba related complaints for previous years were 330 in 2018 and 246 complaints in 2017.

      Before dicamba-tolerant crops were introduced in Illinois, the state’s regulatory agency typically dealt with only around 100 pesticide injury complaints per year. With the numbers on the rise, the Illinois Agriculture Director, John Sullivan, determined IDOA will move forward pursuing a Special Local needs section 24(c) label for use of dicamba on soybeans in Illinois in 2020.

      FIFRA section 24(c) authorizes state lead agencies such as the Illinois Department of Agriculture to register additional uses of federally registered pesticides. These are also called Special Local Needs or SLN registrations. The SLN permits distribution and use only in the registering state. All SLNs must be submitted to EPA for review subsequent to registration by the state. Illinois specific labels for the use of dicamba on soybeans in 2020 will require the following additional provisions:

      1. Do not apply dicamba if the air temperature at the field at the time of application is more than 85 degrees Fahrenheit or if the National Weather Service’s forecasted high temperature for the nearest available location for the day of application exceeds 85 degrees F.
      2. Do not apply dicamba after June 20, 2020.
      3. Before applying dicamba, the applicator must consult the FieldWatch sensitive crop registry and comply with all associated record keeping label requirements.
      4. Maintain the label-specified downwind buffer between the last treated row and the nearest downfield edge of any Illinois Nature Preserves Commission site.
      5. It is best to apply dicamba when the wind is blowing away from sensitive areas, including but not limited to bodies of water and nonresidential, uncultivated areas that may harbor sensitive plant species.

      These new cutoff requirements are in addition to the federal label requirements that apply to Engenia, XtendiMax, FeXapan and Tavium. Illinois is the first state to announce stricter requirements for the coming year in an attempt to give farmers answers as they purchase seed for next season.

      For more information

    • New Working Group Focused on Dicamba and 2,4-D Drift Risk

      By Maria Turner and Michelle Wiesbrook, adapted from a press release from the North Central IPM Center

      Listen to the audio version of this article

      The North Central IPM Center has awarded a $20,000 grant to the North Central Region Herbicide-Drift Risk Management Working Group. The group has been tasked with developing and disseminating new resources for both row crop and specialty crop farmers, in order to assess and manage drift-damage risk. Certainly, we have seen more instances of herbicide drift damage in recent years, greatly in part due to the expanded use of dicamba on dicamba-tolerant soybeans.

      Growing nearby these soybean and corn fields are horticultural crops. The North Central region produces vegetables, fruits, wines, and organic certified products. These are among the fastest growing sectors of the U.S. agriculture industry. Unintended drift can result in yield loss to these sensitive crops. The expanding use of highly phytotoxic herbicides that contain dicamba and 2,4-D chemicals are threatening their survival and profitability. Additionally, according to a recent report by the Weed Science Society of America, damage has also occurred in home gardens, landscape plants and natural vegetation including trees – cypress and certain oak species, and native herbaceous ground cover that serves as food for pollinators. This group will serve to increase awareness in these areas and provide needed resources.

      This working group will be made up of a variety of stakeholders, including weed, agronomic, and horticulture crop specialists. The group will help all farmers recognize and respond to dicamba and 2,4-D drift risk. They are hopeful that these efforts will result in more exact exposure numbers. For more information about this group and its efforts please contact Ethan Stoetzer with the North Central IPM center.

    • Winterizing Your Spray Equipment

      By Maria Turner

      Listen to the audio version of this article

      Now is the time to service and winterize your equipment. Your sprayers should be at the top of that list. The end of the season is an excellent time to conduct a deep cleaning and inspection of all your sprayer’s components. This inspection will ensure that your sprayer is free of residues, properly functioning, and ready for those early in the spring applications.

      Ideally, you should be thoroughly cleaning your sprayers on a regular basis, especially as you switch pesticide formulations. Regular cleaning helps to remove pesticide residues that could cause cross-contamination with other pesticides or fertilizers, possibly resulting in turf injury. Trace amounts of one pesticide can react with another or carry-over to the next spraying, causing damage, especially with herbicides. Thoroughly cleaning your sprayer at the end of the season will also help extend the lifespan of its components. Some pesticide formulations are corrosive, and even small amounts of residue can damage sprayer components, including stainless steel tips and fiberglass tanks when left for extended periods, like overwinter.

      Thoroughly clean the spray tank, including all irregular surfaces, such as baffles, plumbing fixtures, and agitation units. The inside of the top of the spray tank is often forgotten and should be cleaned as well. Many applicators incorrectly focus all of their attention on cleaning the sprayer’s tank. Even after cleaning a spray tank, residues may remain in the sprayer’s screens, filters, and plumbing. Inspect all hoses for wear or tear and for residues that often accumulate in dips and low areas. Check sprayer parts that have dead ends, like the boom’s end caps.

      Consult the pesticide label(s) for information on cleaning the sprayer and disposing of rinsates. Some pesticide labels will provide recommendations for specific tank cleaners and instructions for how to properly dispose of rinsates. Even though you will be dealing with a product that is very dilute, it doesn’t mean that you don’t need to use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

      The next step in the winterization process is to remove as much water from the system as possible. This can be done by allowing the pump to push water through the lines, and then by opening all the valves and allowing the water to drain. Some sprayer’s manuals also recommend using compressed air to blow out hosing and manifolds.

      Despite your best efforts, water will likely remain in various parts of the sprayer. That remaining water could freeze, expand, and damage your sprayer. The last step when winterizing is to displace and dilute the remaining water with antifreeze. There are different types of antifreeze on the market, so be sure to read the label of the antifreeze to determine if it will work. RV antifreeze, made from propylene glycol, is often recommended because it is inexpensive, works well, and is less hazardous to people, pets, and the environment. To begin, add enough antifreeze into the tank fill to fill the volume of plumbing and hoses. Turn on the sprayer and continue running until undiluted antifreeze exits the nozzles. Be sure to write down how much antifreeze it took to go through the lines so that you will know this for future winterizations.

      Proper cleanouts and winterization, while time-consuming, are essential tasks for maintaining your spray equipment. Saving time by skipping steps can result in costly damage and possibly a delayed start while trying to fix all the broken or burst lines. Take the time now to winterize your sprayer properly and be ready for next season.

      For more information

    • Illinois Pest Alert: European Pepper Moth (Duponchelia fovealis)

      By Sarah Hughson

      Listen to the audio version of this article

      European pepper moth (Duponchelia fovealis) has the potential to become a significant greenhouse pest in Illinois. This pest is not likely to survive winter temperatures in Illinois, but it can live and reproduce in greenhouses year-round on a broad range of host plants (a list of host plants is provided on page 3). It is transported in infested plant stock, so incoming stock should be closely inspected.


      If you find an insect you suspect to be European pepper moth, please contact your local Extension office and do not sell or distribute infested plants. Find your local extension office online.

      Life Cycle and Damage:

      Adults are active for 1 - 2 weeks. Adult females deposit white-ish eggs on the undersides of leaves. Eggs turn red as they develop, hatching in 4 - 9 days.

      Larvae feed on the roots, leaves, flowers and plant debris of host plants. They chew crescent shaped holes in leaves growing near the base of the plant, eventually consuming whole leaves. Larvae can also bore into the stems of host plants, causing instability or collapse of the plant and facilitating infection by fungal pathogens. Damage by this pest can be easily misidentified as fungal disease.

      After 3 - 4 weeks of feeding, larvae will produce silk and build cocoons in which they pupate. Cocoons and webbing can be found on the undersides of leaves, along the edges of pots near the soil surface or on the outside or underside of pots. They pupate for 1 - 2 weeks.

      The entire life cycle can be completed in 6 - 8 weeks at 68° F, making it possible for a greenhouse to support 8 or 9 generations per year.


      Figure 1. European pepper moth; Mark Dreiling, Bugwood.org

      Moths are 0.35 - 0.5 inches long and have a wingspan of 0.75 - 0.83 inches. The wings are gray to brown with two white to yellow transverse lines. The rearmost line has a distinct rear-facing U-bend (noted with an arrow in Fig. 1)The abdomen is often upturned at the rear end.

      Each larva has a dark head capsule and a cream-colored body with dark spots on each segment. The larva has a hard plate on the segment directly behind the head (noted with an arrow in Fig. 2), which distinguishes the larva from species that are similar in appearance, such as sod webworm.

      Where to Look:

      Inspect plants for:

      • Crescent shaped holes and defoliation of leaves near the base of the plant
      • Unstable or collapsing stems
      • Cocoons and webbing on the undersides of leaves, where leaves meet the soil, along the edges of pots, or on the underside of pots
      • Adult moths or eggs on the undersides of leaves

      Monitoring traps:

      Figure 2. European pepper moth larva; Kurt Ahlmark, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org
      • Species specific pheromone lures can be place inside aquatic traps or delta traps to monitor moth populations.

      Cultural and Mechanical Controls:

      Exclusion is the most effective way to prevent or limit infestation. Inspect plants for signs of infestation and isolate infested plants to prevent moths from infesting additional plants.

      If infested plants are found, freezing temperatures can kill insects within the plants. Pots and greenhouse surfaces can be sanitized to remove larvae or cocoons.

      Plant debris and lower leaves can be removed and the media can be allowed to dry to reduce preferred habitat.

      Biological Controls:

      Treatments containing Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) microbes are effective in controlling the larvae of many moth species. Bt treatments are most effective on young larvae but are not effective in treating pupae or adult moths. Bt products are applied to the surface of plants a will not reach larvae that have bored into plant stems.

      Biocontrol agents such as predatory mites (Gaeolaelaps aculeifer, Stratiolaelaps scimitus), rove beetles (Dalotia coriaria), entomopathogenic nematodes (Heterorhabditis spp., Steinernema spp. or parasitoid wasps (Trichogramma spp.) can be effective in controlling larvae.

      Chemical Controls:

      European pepper moths have shown no resistance to common insecticides. Contact insecticides applied to the surface of plants are most effective in treating young larvae but will not reach mature larvae that have bored into plant stems. It is sometimes helpful to lay plant pots on their sides so spray treatments can easily be applied to the undersides of leaves.

      Always be sure to read and follow all directions on the pesticide label. Do not apply a treatment that is not labeled for your target pest or application site.


    • 2019 Operation S.A.F.E. Fly-Ins: Takeaways

      By Matt Gill

      S.A.F.E. stands for Self-regulating Application and Flight Efficiency. The program has oversight by the NAAA (National Agricultural Aviation Association) and NAAREF (National Agricultural Aviation Research and Education Foundation). At an Operation S.A.F.E. Fly-In, spray pattern deposition is collected and measured. A certified analyst then processes the data and provides the applicator with printouts of spray deposition across the swath, effective swath width and droplet spectrum information. If corrections are needed, the applicator may adjust the aircraft setup and immediately run another test series to verify that the adjustments have improved the spray pattern or droplet size. Some of the basic adjustments to be made include nozzle orifice size, deflection angle, boom pressure, and spray height. In many cases, an aerial applicator may run multiple series, checking different setups for various spray application rates used across a spraying season.

      Each year the Illinois Agricultural Aviation Association (IAAA) holds an Operation S.A.F.E. fly-in at the start of the spraying season. This past spring was a challenge for everyone. With wet fields, late planting and few days with favorable weather to spray, turnout at this year’s fly-in in Manito, IL was lower than usual. However, that was not due to a lack of interest.

      Bell 206B with flat fans at 90 degree deflection (5 nozzles off each end)

      With much coordination (and re-scheduling due to weather), 3 “make-up” fly-ins were held across the state at the request of applicators who could not make it to the official IAAA fly-in. In all, 19 aircraft were tested, requiring 141 passes over the flight-line. Remember, the “S” in the S.A.F.E. acronym stands for “Self-regulating.” No entity requires pilots to bring their aircraft to a fly-in—it is completely voluntary. Attending is not inexpensive either: it can cost several thousand dollars for the fuel alone to travel to and participate in a fly-in. That is not to mention the time required, which was in particularly short supply this season. It is a credit to the professionalism of Illinois’ aerial applicators that they prioritize safety and application accuracy so highly.

      The University of Illinois was also invited to conduct several fly-ins in Wisconsin, Ohio and South Dakota. A total of 17 aircraft were tested in Wisconsin and South Dakota requiring 186 passes over the flight-line. The fly-in in Ohio was unfortunately canceled after 3 attempts to reschedule due to weather.

      This year showed increased interest among aerial applicators to test alternative boom configurations. In particular, many “short-boom” setups were tested. While the industry standard boom width is 75% of the wingspan for fixed-wing and 90% of the rotor span for helicopters, shorter boom widths can often reduce drift potential. This is due to a reduction in the amount of spray being entrained in the wing-tip vortices. With this in mind, some applicators have installed electronic shutoff valves on their booms which allow them to switch in-flight from a “full boom” to a “short boom” when spraying conditions become less favorable. Testing these setups is critical in determining the effective swath width, which is a needed input for the aircraft’s rate controller and guidance system. The results thus far have been mixed. In some cases, reducing boom width has had very little impact on swath width. For example, one test with a Bell 206B (Flat fan nozzles at 90-degrees deflection) showed no reduction in swath width even after shutting off 5 nozzles on each boom end. In other cases, there is a reduction in swath width. One AT-802A (straight stream nozzles at 0-degree deflection) showed that reducing boom width from 75% to 50% reduced swath width from 80 feet to 50 feet (37%). The relationship does seem dependent on the type of aircraft and droplet spectrum, but no hard and fast rules have yet been found.

      AT-802A with straight streams at 0 degree deflection (50% Boom)

      Another trend this year is the increased use of straight stream nozzles on higher-speed aircraft. Wind tunnel data from the USDA AATRU (Aerial Application Technology Research Unit) has shown that small-orifice straight stream nozzles can provide larger droplet spectrums if operated at higher pressures. Practically, this means using a greater number of nozzles spaced closer together than traditional configurations. Pattern testing these setups has shown them to be more resistant to crosswind effects as expected.

      It is immensely encouraging to see aerial applicators continue to push the envelope of technology in pursuit of improving safety and efficacy of their applications. While attending an Operation S.A.F.E. fly-in may only happen once per year, effectively calibrating and pattern testing even a single aircraft can positively impact tens of thousands of acres throughout a spraying season.

    • Download This Issue of the Newsletter

      Download, save, and share the 2019 November/December issue of the newsletter. 

    • Editorial Notes

      The development and publication of this newsletter has been supported with funding from the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

      Michelle Wiesbrook, Extension Specialist, Pesticide Safety Education

      The Illinois Pesticide Review is published six times a year. For more information about pesticide safety or for more issues of this newsletter, please visit us at www.pesticidesafety.illinois.edu. You can also reach us at 800-644-2123.

      Disclaimer: Mention of trade names in this newsletter is for general information purposes only and does not constitute endorsement of one product over another, nor is discrimination intended against any product.

      Copyright © 2019, Board of Trustees, University of Illinois

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