The California Department of Pesticide Regulation has formed a work group to find alternatives to the pesticide chlorpyrifos that will help farmers manage insect pests when a state ban on the chemical goes into effect, reported Kerry Klein on Valley Public Radio.
Klein interviewed David Haviland, UC Cooperative Extension entomology advisor and a member of the work group.
“This is an important topic,” Haviland said. “Chlorpyrifos has had a lot of benefits to agriculture for many years. At the same time, it does have some negative issues associated with it that were the reason that the product has been proposed to be discontinued.”
Chlorpyrifos is a common insecticide used under the trade names Lorsban, Lock-on and generic formulations to control ants, stink bugs, aphids, whiteflies and other pests. UC IPM coordinated a comprehensive report on chlorpyrifos in 2014, commissioned by DPR, outlining critical uses of the pesticide in alfalfa, almonds, citrus and cotton. The report details the insecticide's use patterns as compared to other pest control tactics, such as resistant varieties, mating disruption, field sanitation and other insecticides.
The new work group will develop short-term and five-year action plans to identify safer, more sustainable pest management tools, practices, and alternatives in a wide array of crops. They will seek solutions that are safe for workers, communities and the environment, able to adequately control targeted pests, and cost effective. In addition, the work group will consider the issues of efficacy, soil health and climate change.
The solutions might include combinations of other pesticides to help protect the dozens of crops on which chlorpyrifos is used. Haviland says the group will prioritize the most urgent needs first: “Who's really going to take a hit from the ban, and from there, what is the best way to go forward,” he said.