New Requirement for Residential Barrier Mosquito Treatments in Illinois
A new Illinois law, effective January 1, 2023, aims to protect Illinois residents and pollinators from pesticide residues related to residential mosquito control treatments. Barrier treatments target and control nuisance adult mosquitos by leaving a residual insecticide coating on surfaces where mosquitos rest. Illinois Public Act 102-0916 amended the Illinois Pesticide Act to include additional restrictions and requirements for residential barrier mosquitocide applications.
Commercial applicators and operators are now required to complete an Illinois Department of Agriculture approved barrier mosquitocide training program. The University of Illinois Pesticide Safety Education Program recently updated their mosquito applicator training course to include additional topics required by the new law. You can purchase access to the University of Illinois’ course via the Pesticide Safety Education Program’s website: https://extension.illinois.edu/psep/training-and-testing. Alternatively, you can participate in an in-person training clinic. Register at the same website. Only two clinics will be offered this spring, so don’t delay. This mandated training must be completed every three years.
Commercial applicators and operators must place a lawn marker at a usual point of entry for residential properties treated with barrier mosquitocides. The owner or resident can remove the marker the day following application. The lawn markers are similar to those required for lawn care applications. They must be a 4 inch by 5 inch, vertical or horizontal white sign with letters a minimum of 3/8 inch in a contrasting color. The marker must include one of the following statements:
- LAWN CARE APPLICATION - STAY OFF GRASS UNTIL DRY - FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: <Name and business telephone number of the applicator for hire>
- BARRIER MOSQUITOCIDE APPLICATION – STAY OFF TREATED SURFACE UNTIL DRY – FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: <Name and business telephone number of the applicator for hire>
Information Provided to Clients and Neighbors
Clients can request to receive a copy of the pesticide label and safety data sheet for the barrier mosquitocide applied to their property. Additionally, any neighbor whose property abuts or is adjacent to a client’s property may request to receive prior notification of a barrier mosquitocide application. The client’s neighbor must contact the applicator for hire and provide their name, address, and telephone number. The applicator for hire must notify the neighbor in writing, in person, by telephone, or electronic message of the date and approximate time of application.
The new law also makes it illegal:
- for companies to apply barrier mosquitocide application between October 16 and April 14.
- to apply a barrier mosquitocide when wind speeds are greater than or equal to 10 miles per hour
- to install or use any residential automatic pesticide misting system that automatically sprays any pesticide solution at timed intervals to control mosquitos.
The new law exempts applications that use minimum risk pesticide products that do not require registration under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, as well as any barrier mosquitocide treatment made for public health purposes by or on behalf of a mosquito abatement district, public health department, township, municipality, or other unit of local government.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture will be mailing all licensed mosquito applicators information regarding this new law.
Use of Restricted Use Pesticides Banned Near Schools
The Illinois Pesticide Act has been amended to ban the application of Restricted Use Pesticides (RUPs) within 500 feet of any school. If the pesticide label is more restrictive, then that should be followed. For specific changes to the Act, please see Public Act 102-0548. While this became effective January 1, 2022, the enforcement rules were recently determined by the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
The administrative rules state the following:
Any person who uses a restricted use pesticide on or within 500 feet of school property during normal hours, except for whole structure fumigation, shall be assessed a penalty of $1,000. As used in this section, "normal school hours" means Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m., excluding days when classes are not in session.
A restricted use pesticide is a pesticide that, without additional regulatory restrictions, may cause unreasonable adverse effects to the environment or the applicator. An RUP is for retail sale to and use by only certified applicators or persons under their direct supervision and only for those uses covered by the certified applicator’s certification. Certified applicators have demonstrated that they have the knowledge to use these pesticides safely and effectively. Reasons for restricting product use include acute toxicity, environmental safely, and residue effects harmful to birds or other animals. Every pesticide is classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) at the time of registration. In classifying a pesticide for either general use or restricted use, the US EPA considers the toxicity of the pesticide, how the pesticide will be used, and its effect on the environment.
The pesticide label identifies RUPs with this statement: “Restricted use pesticide for retail sale to and use only by Certified Applicators or persons under their direct supervisions and only for those uses covered by the Certified Applicator’s certification.” Certain products are for use by certified applicators only, which will be specified in this box. Read carefully. The restricted-use statement must appear at the top of the front panel. Often this statement includes the specific hazard of the product (groundwater concerns, toxicity to fish, etc.)
New Over-the-Top Dicamba Restrictions for Illinois Soybean
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved labeling amendments that further restrict the use of over-the-top dicamba in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and South Dakota. The Iowa, Illinois and Indiana amendments were requested by product registrants following discussion with those states. The South Dakota amendment was proposed by the state to the registrant. All amendments are intended to reduce risks from the use of dicamba herbicide being applied over-the-top of genetically engineered soybeans and cotton after the crops have emerged from the ground to control certain types of broadleaf weeds.
The revised labeling prohibits the use of over-the-top dicamba application on dicamba-tolerant crops after June 12 in Iowa, Illinois and Indiana and after June 20 in South Dakota. This restricts over-the-top dicamba application to earlier in the growing season, when temperatures are likely to be lower, and is intended to reduce the potential for dicamba to volatilize and drift off-site. Among other requirements, the product registrants must add the amended labeling to their training and educational materials and disseminate this information to pesticide authorities and agricultural extension services to assist users in their local area. These and other requirements are outlined in the terms and conditions of the amended registration. To view the amended labeling, visit docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2020-0492 at www.regulations.gov.
Further Guidance from University of Illinois
Dr. Aaron Hager, University of Illinois Crop Sciences, commented on the new restrictions and added some clarification. The three dicamba products (i.e., XtendiMax, Engenia, Tavium) cannot be applied after June 12 or the V4 soybean growth stage, whichever comes first. These new restrictions are in addition to the existing application restrictions imposed by the Illinois Department of Agriculture that include:
- A pesticide containing dicamba shall not be applied on soybeans if the air temperature at the field at the time of application is over 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 Fahrenheit. Local National Weather Service forecasts are available at https://www.weather.gov.
- Before applying a pesticide containing dicamba on soybeans, the applicator shall consult the FieldWatch sensitive crop registry (https://www.fieldwatch.com) and comply with all associated recordkeeping and label requirements.
- Application on soybeans of a pesticide containing dicamba shall not be made if the wind is blowing toward: any Illinois Nature Preserves Commission site that is adjacent to the field of application; or an adjacent residential area.
Many producers have already purchased seed and herbicide for the upcoming season. With the application window now being reduced by 8 days in Illinois, decisions should be made earlier rather than later. Producers should reach out to their retailers to discuss options.
Background on Dicamba-Related Incidents
In 2017 and again in 2018, EPA amended the registrations of all over-the-top dicamba products following reports that growers had experienced crop damage and economic losses resulting from the off-site movement of dicamba. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit vacated the 2018 registrations in June 2020 on the basis that “EPA substantially understated risks that it acknowledged and failed entirely to acknowledge other risks.” Days after the court’s decision, EPA issued cancellation orders for the affected products that addressed existing stocks. Additionally, the 2018 decision was the focus of an Inspector General report that found senior political leadership’s involvement in the decision led to “...changes to or omissions from scientific documents, including omissions of some conclusions addressing stakeholder risks.” The political interference that occurred with the 2018 dicamba decision happened despite the best efforts of EPA’s career scientists and managers to recommend a different approach.
In October 2020, EPA issued new registrations for two dicamba products and extended the registration of an additional dicamba product. These registration decisions were made with some input from EPA’s career scientists and managers and were expected to address the risk concerns noted by the Ninth Circuit. All three registrations included new measures that the Agency expected to prevent off-target movement and damage to non-target crops and other plants.
In December 2021, EPA released a summary of dicamba-related incident reports from the 2021 growing season obtained from pesticide registrants, States, the general public, and non-governmental organizations. However, despite the control measures implemented in EPA’s October 2020 dicamba registration decision, incident reports from the 2021 growing season showed little change in the number, severity, and/or geographic extent of dicamba-related incidents when compared to the reports the Agency received before the 2020 control measures were required. EPA has not yet fully analyzed 2022 incident data, but based on incident reports received and discussions with state regulators, weed scientists, and academics, EPA has reason to believe dicamba-related incidents continued through the 2022 growing season as well.
EPA’s Continued Review of Dicamba
Given the incident information obtained from recent growing seasons, EPA is reviewing whether dicamba products registered for over-the-top use pose unreasonable risks to non-target crops and other plants or to federally listed species and their designated critical habitats. EPA is also evaluating all of its options for addressing future dicamba-related incidents.
Currently, EPA is working to understand the geographic variability of dicamba-related incidents. Additionally, EPA is analyzing how these incidents may relate to dicamba’s chemical properties. As the Agency progresses in its review, it will continue to consider if additional information could be provided to assist in EPA’s evaluation.
Moreover, all uses of dicamba, including pre-emergent and over-the-top applications of the pesticide, are being assessed in registration review. Registration review is a statutory program in which EPA reviews and updates, as necessary, older pesticide registrations based on current scientific standards to ensure that they continue to meet FIFRA’s registration standard.
As part of the registration review process, EPA recently accepted public comment on the second addendum to the 2016 draft human health risk assessment and a draft ecological risk assessment for dicamba. EPA will continue the registration review process by publishing the proposed interim decision (PID). The PID will address public comments on the risk assessments and may propose risk mitigation to address any potential risks of concern identified in the dicamba draft risk assessments. The public will have an opportunity to comment on the PID.
For more information on dicamba, see: https://www.epa.gov/pesticides/dicamba or https://www.epa.gov/ingredients-used-pesticide-products/registration-dicamba-use-dicamba-tolerant-crops.
Press release by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, February 16, 2023, modified slightly by Michelle Wiesbrook.
Additional resources used:
Hager, A. "US EPA Issues New Dicamba Application Restrictions for Illinois Soybean." Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois, February 17, 2023.
IDOA to Offer Spanish General Standards Exams
Individuals who use Spanish as their primary language will soon be able to take a Spanish-translated General Standards pesticide licensing exam. The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) plans to have a Spanish version of their General Standards exams available at all in-person testing locations in early March 2023. The exam’s instructions and questions will be in Spanish. However, exam proctors will be available to answer questions in English only. Additionally, the label included in the exam will be in English, the only language required on pesticide labels by the US EPA.
All pesticide product users, including those who have limited ability to read, speak or write English, are expected to be able to comprehend and follow the pesticide label’s instructions. For added protection, the US EPA requires certain products subject to the Worker Protection Standard to include the following Spanish statement, “Si usted no entiende la etiqueta, busque a alguien para que se la explique a usted en detalle. (If you do not understand the label, find someone to explain it to you in detail.)”
Tips for Certification Exam Preparation
Taking a test can be stressful, but with the right guidance and state of mind, you can set yourself up to be better prepared. The University of Illinois Pesticide Safety Education Program has created a new publication to help make the process easier. Forty-five bulleted, specific tips spanning 4 pages are provided that cover:
- Preparing yourself for the exam
- Overall test-taking strategy
- Answering exam questions
- Calming your nerves
- After the test
This guide can be especially helpful for new hires, those who haven’t tested in a while, or really anyone who fears the thought of having to take a test and could use a little support. You can find this publication on our website at: https://go.illinois.edu/TestTakingTips
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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.
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