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The use of viruses and bacteria can sound kinda scary but don’t worry, microbial control agents in Arizona are regulated by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Environmental Services Division of Arizona Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and Plant Quarantine Act (PQA) but you still need permits from State of Arizona, USDA, APHIS and from Biotechnology and Environmental Protection (BEEP). Only then can a farmer apply stuff… if his crop ain’t already ate up. We’re not done yet, we still have ‘biochemical control agents’. These are semichemicals such as plant-growth regulators, hormones, enzymes, pheromones, allomones and kairomones which are “either naturally occurring or identical to a natural product that attract, retard, destroy or otherwise exert a pesticidal activity”. Impressive, huh?
But that’s still not enough already… EPA wants to push a stupid term called ‘biorational pesticides'. And this is where they get picky… you can use term if you’re (1) not talking about bugs or (2) not talking about synthetic-made stuff they don’t think is identical enough to a given product of nature. Anyway, I hate that term, there is nothing rational about causing more confusion. In all, there are over 200 biocontrols of which some have multi-use applications which equates to about 300 specific uses and there are at least 400 of these 'products' on market. Competing companies supplying same product accounts for this discrepancy.
A lot of biocontrols have hard-to-pronounce, stuffy-sounding scientific names, which, I think, are thought-up by laboratory-shackled scientists who jealously hate farmers and like to see them get tongue-twisted and embarrassed. One such case is ‘bacillus thuringiensis’, a bacteria widely used and marketed in different variations but to spoil their fun, farmers just call them ‘B-Ts’. Another thing farmers can use are made of ‘nuclear polyhedrosis viruses’ but they don’t sound very environment-friendly to me.
What I really think is dumb are those goofy brand-names distributors use for these biocontrol products such as ‘Doom’, ‘Condor’, ‘Futura’, ‘Grandlure’ and so forth. I think they hired same marketing guys that work for car companies… they think brand names gotta sound ‘cool’.
Farmers also use juvenile hormones and behavioral modifiers. Juvenile hormones keep bugs from maturing, thus denying them their adult and reproductive cycle. It should be obvious what behavioral modifiers do... it makes them less destructive. Agricultural firms sell plant-growth regulators too, made from cytokinins and gibberellic acid. There are also sex hormones on market to confuse and attract bugs. Confusion and bugs I don’t need.
In summary, these biocontrols are incredibly diverse but they don’t include genetically engineered plants which have disease or insect resistant qualities, but that’s another story. See Genetically Modified Food (external link) or else genetically modified organisms (GMOs) (external link)
Well, that sorta brings you up-to-date, so consider yourself ‘bio-informed’. Remember though, you can’t go around saying ‘biological’ anymore because people might think you’re talking about bugs. If you’re still confused, talk about something else or you could end up getting mighty embarrassed. Some words might even sound organic when they're not. I knew a farmer who, when he first heard term ‘entrepreneur’, asked… “What kinda manure is that?”
(A.O. Kime is a former licensed pest control advisor)
------------------------------------------------ Resource Box: © A.O. Kime (2003) A.O. Kime is an author of two books plus some 70 articles on ancient history, spiritual phenomena, political issues, social issues and agriculture which can be seen at http://www.matrixbookstore.biz ------------------------------------------------
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Resource Box: © A.O. Kime (2003) A.O. Kime is an author of two books plus some 70 articles on ancient history, spiritual phenomena, political issues, social issues and agriculture which can be seen at http://www.matrixbookstore.biz