The Pesticide Matrix

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Re: The Pesticide Matrix

Postby PYoungbaer » Mar 27, 2010 2:20 pm

I forwarded Peter Febbroriello's information to Anne Secord, Environmental Contaminants/Federal Activities Branch Chief at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. She is the person who was awarded the USFWS grant for $315,000 for a three-year investigation (starting in FY 2009) looking for a potential link between WNS and environmental contaminants.

She had several questions about Peter's data, and her colleagues were going to follow up. Anne does say, "We have not found any significant concentrations so far, but we have more analysis planned for some of these compounds over the next couple of months. We do plan on evaluating exposure to the cholinesterase inhibitors. The best method is to look for cholinesterase in the brain since the pesticides themselves are rapidly metabolized. We also plan on looking for emerging contaminants, like detergents, plasticizers, flame retardants and others."

Below are a couple of charts she has produced, based on three years of contaminant data, 2003 through 2005, comparing pesticide use in NY on a county basis. Unfortunately, 2006 data is not yet available, nor later years. In general, pesticide use did not increase during the period, and use by county varies widely, and Schoharie County - epicenter of WNS - is very low.

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Re: The Pesticide Matrix

Postby BrianC » Mar 27, 2010 2:34 pm

PYoungbaer wrote: In general, pesticide use did not increase during the period, and use by county varies widely, and Schoharie County - epicenter of WNS - is very low.


I am curious as to what extent pesticide use will increase without bats available for insect control? Is there any way to predict this, or will we have to wait a few years to see actual purchases with agricultural and farmland use studies?
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Re: The Pesticide Matrix

Postby PYoungbaer » Mar 27, 2010 3:37 pm

Brian,

Interestingly, I was asked the same question about the northeast by a Tennessee wildlife official this past week, wondering to what extent there has been more spraying. I'm personally not aware of any changes in practice due to WNS or less bats. As you suggest, and Anne Secord's report alludes to, these data sets take a few years to be completed.
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Re: The Pesticide Matrix

Postby wyandottecaver » Mar 27, 2010 6:25 pm

I doubt they will increase much at all.

First, pesticides are not exactly density specific. You spray, and whether there are 5 cutworms or 5,000 they die. High densities of pests can make the economics of pesticide use better, but generally we are already at the point where pesticide use is economical in many operations.

second, It will take some time for pest populations to respond, and even longer for growers to notice the increased impacts. During this time, all the other things that also eat bugs and are not affected by WNS will be getting fatter. If there are species that can effectively duck WNS as populations if not individuals like Big Browns or Red Bats then they may indeed pick up the slack. Maybe even shrikes will make a blazing comeback.....

Finally, if pest levels get to a point where more pesticides are needed, then the economics will likely see a switch to different crops or tract housing rather than try to compete with cheaper products from elsewhere.
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Re: The Pesticide Matrix

Postby Dan Henry » Mar 30, 2010 7:52 pm

In the search for potential pesticide factors to WNS, I hope researchers will look seriously into emerging technologies like biopesticides and mycopesticides and genetically modified derivatives of existing fungi. A mycopesticide with an unintended consequence could explain WNS. Here is a link to an example of a genetically modified mycopesticide (probably not THE smoking gun). Some parallels to WNS are chilling.

http://pubs.acs.org/cen/science/84/8449sci5.html

Biopesticides are basically naturally occurring substances that control pests, but they wouldn't be a possible pest control source if they were already in the ecosystem, so the idea is to try lots of different substances in ecosystems they don't belong in looking for a beneficial outcome, which is usually protecting a crop or trying to kill a specific pest. However the possibility for unintended negative consequences is very high, as something foreign to the ecosystem has been introduced. This is also big business, and lots of research is ongoing and a lot of that research is very secretive, so you might not even know you were looking at a bio or mycopesticide experiment gone wrong when looking at WNS.

Like others, I've been skeptical all along that pesticides were written off so early in the hunt for the cause, when it's such a broad source of possible problems.
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Re: The Pesticide Matrix

Postby Evan G » Mar 30, 2010 8:23 pm

DanHenry wrote:biopesticides and mycopesticides and genetically modified derivatives of existing fungi


This technology started around 1953 and has been around for a while and is used widely. I just talked to David Read(Aus) about his biopesticide work with geomyces pannorum & Beauveria bassiana in mosquito control and malaria which are used widely in Aus and Africa. He is going to take a look at the WNS study and see if there are any crossovers or similarities to his study.
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Re: The Pesticide Matrix

Postby Batgirl » Mar 31, 2010 8:17 am

I am curious to know from those of you that are scientists or biologists. What is the likelihood that there is an indirect link between WNS and pesticides? For example, is it possible that the spraying of pesticides on insects, lets say for the past 20 years, may have somehow genetically modified the insects, which when ingested by bats (over time) could impact their immune systems? It's probably just a wild far-fetched theory. Not sure if anyone has even looked at changes to our insect population due pesticide use over time and its impact on the food chain.
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Re: The Pesticide Matrix

Postby peter febb » Mar 31, 2010 8:48 am

Here is an excerpt from the 2005 database for NY:

zipcode EPA REG No. Gallons liq. LBS solids
Illegible Zip Code 228-376-8378 0 1960
Illegible Zip Code 3125-406 0 1421
Illegible Zip Code 3125-474-10404 0 2550
Illegible Zip Code 9198-79-66587 0 3480
Illegible Zip Code 10404-82 0 2395
Invalid Zip Code 432-1349-9198 0 1500
Invalid Zip Code 961-365 0 2450
Invalid Zip Code 1278-5 0 1400
Invalid Zip Code 3125-406 0 1350.6
Invalid Zip Code 3125-474-10404 0 1300.3
Invalid Zip Code 10404-82 0 4274
Invalid Zip Code 12455-79 .11 1803.27
Invalid Zip Code Invalid EPA No. 138.22 7373.62
Unreported Zip Code 432-1328 0 1050
Unreported Zip Code 707-180-10404 0 2007
Unreported Zip Code 961-346 0 1095
Unreported Zip Code 9198-79-66587 0 1920
Unreported Zip Code 9198-115 0 1015
Unreported Zip Code 9198-173 0 6415
Unreported Zip Code 10404-82 0 5754
Unreported Zip Code 62719-289-961 0 3520
Unreported Zip Code Invalid EPA No. 372.72 2598.53


And then you should see the list of "PRIVATE" zip codes, and "irregular EPA Numbers...
How do these huge volumes of toxin manage to slip through the system? And how do you get a private Zip code?

The last published data for NY was 2005...Why the long gap?

-p
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Re: The Pesticide Matrix

Postby peter febb » Mar 31, 2010 9:05 am

Here is a link to an example of a genetically modified mycopesticide (probably not THE smoking gun). Some parallels to WNS are chilling.
http://pubs.acs.org/cen/science/84/8449sci5.html

Several years ago I had the honor of assisting Paul Stamets with his Cordyceps research. You should check out his mushroom catalog!

Many fungi and bacteria produce antibiotics as a defense mechanism.
In the lab, the procedure known as Thin Layer Chromatography makes use of the unique colors of many antibiotics as an aid to discovery and identification.
It has been noted that several of the caves in our area which have Actinomyces growing on the walls and ceiling, are now showing several new and interesting colors.
This could be a response to G. destructans and may turn out to be an indicator of cave infection. The resulting antibiotics now being formed on the cave walls may turn out to be very useful!

-p
Last edited by peter febb on Apr 1, 2010 5:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Pesticide Matrix

Postby John Lovaas » Mar 31, 2010 9:07 am

peter febb wrote:And how do you get a private Zip code?


'Private zip codes' are zip codes dedicated to entities that receive lot of mail- universities, businesses, etc.
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Re: The Pesticide Matrix

Postby peter febb » Mar 31, 2010 9:47 am

The Zip is simply filled in with "PRIVATE":

PRIVATE Invalid EPA No. 1,437.50 2.62
PRIVATE 2217-795-961 4,450.00

decoded:
Fourteen hundred gallons of Godknowswhat was spread over an undisclosed location,
while in another private area, four and a half thousand pounds of PROSCAPE(TM) fertilizer containing the additive 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (30.7 Lbs total--enough for over 100,000 square feet) was used. This is a very heavily used herbicide. It is apparently used only on non-food crops, such as flowers and ornamentals.

The law requires that the data be saved for only three years, meaning that the 2005 info is long gone and can no longer be recovered for verification.
Last edited by peter febb on Apr 1, 2010 5:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Pesticide Matrix

Postby John Lovaas » Mar 31, 2010 11:35 am

peter febb wrote:The Zip is simply filled in with "PRIVATE":


Peter-

Found this at:

http://pmep.cce.cornell.edu/psur/DOH_datadict.html

Private—ZIP codes unique to a specific location/organization. The Pesticide Reporting Law does not allow identification of the locations of specific applications. The data for ZIP codes associated with specific organizations or locations have been reported by NYSDEC using one of two methods. If the ZIP code had an enclosing ZIP code, the data have been reported in the enclosing ZIP code. Otherwise the data have been reported under the "Private" ZIP code.

I was just looking at the reporting forms at the Cornell site, and the municipalities are being recorded by the applicators in their forms. If Cornell wanted to have an accurate database, they could certainly publish the muncipality- it is no more descriptive than a 'public' zip code.
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Re: The Pesticide Matrix

Postby iceclimb » Apr 1, 2010 5:13 pm

I don't want to start any kind of "thing", but yeah, private zip codes are often used by Universities and military bases. These often might order things from classified budgets, which would show as Private in a number of database formats.

I just don't think there's anything to talk about here... pretty standard Ops.
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Re: The Pesticide Matrix

Postby Evan G » Apr 1, 2010 5:29 pm

iceclimb wrote:I just don't think there's anything to talk about here... pretty standard Ops.


Peter is just syncing pesticide data that correlates with zip codes for the Pesticide Matrix to overlay on bat hibernaculums & pathways to see what different pesticides are encountered. You obviously haven't read the thread....not standard Ops. A vector which could be an environmental factor is just slight compromising the bats immune system allowing Geomyces destructans to be opportunistic on the host.
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Re: The Pesticide Matrix

Postby wyandottecaver » Apr 1, 2010 7:24 pm

Evan,

Peters last post was specific in its question about private zip codes. In that context the reply was perfectly coherent.

Unlike this hypothesis IMHO

Could pesticides applied for decades in non-uniform densities and mixes across multiple environments have weakened bat immunities across the East but with no evidence of illness from other pathogens until a spot infection from GD occured in NY then raced like wildfire through multiple species that were weakened ONLY to GD including Wisconsin and Canadian animals who are in different pesticide regimes (or virtually none in some cases)? Yes.

But physics tells us a basketball thrown at a brick wall *might* pass through if the molecules all lined up just so.....

I dont have any problem with pesticides affecting bats. I think they probably do. I have problems when those effects are twisted and contorted to fit within assumptions that make absolutely no sense.
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