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EPA Provides Funds for Mosquito, Honeybee Study

Officials from the Environmental Protection Agency presented a $167,874 check to the LSU AgCenter on Jan. 8 as part of an integrated pest management program.

by Louisiana State University
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Bill Richardson, LSU vice president for agriculture, accepts a $167,874 check from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at a ceremony in Baton Rouge on Jan. 8. Others present for the presentation were Todd Walker, director and entomologist for East Baton Rouge Parish Mosquito Abatement and Rodent Control Program; Kristen Healey, LSU AgCenter assistant professor of entomology; Jim Ottea, LSU AgCenter professor of entomology, and Jim Jones, EPA assistant administrator for chemical safety and pollution prevention.Photo credit: Johnny MorganThe grant will fund research to assess the effects of insecticides used to control mosquitoes on honeybees, said Louisiana State University AgCenter entomologist Kristen Healy.

“The goal of this study is to develop best management practice guidelines for the use of insecticides in ways that don’t negatively impact honeybees,” Healy said.

Jim Jones, EPA assistant administrator for chemical safety and pollution prevention, who made the check presentation, said this research will address pollinator protection.

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“This is one of three grants that EPA presented to universities across the country this week,” Jones said.

He said the goal of the Louisiana research is to be sure that the chemicals sprayed to kill mosquitoes do not have an adverse effect on honeybees.

“There is a sense that pesticides are contributing to the decline in pollinators, and pollinators are critical to the production of food and fiber in the United States,” Jones said, adding that the health of honeybee populations is important to the very existence of some crops.

Healy said this project will be conducted in collaboration with other local groups that share an interest, along with the beekeepers.

“The East Baton Rouge Mosquito Abatement and Rodent Control program first contacted us with the desire to address recent concerns of beekeepers and pesticide use,” Healy said.

From that communication, the research project was developed through the LSU AgCenter’s collaboration with the East Baton Rouge Parish agency and EPA, she said.

“I would like to thank the EPA for supporting our grant project and for providing us with the funding to accomplish our goals,” Healy said. “It was exciting news to find out our project was funded, and we look forward to completing our objectives and sharing our results over the next few years.”

This project supports the AgCenter’s mission to provide research-based information to improve life in Louisiana, Healy said. “We hope our research can provide much-needed information for beekeepers and pesticide applicators across Louisiana.”

Jones said the other grants this year were awarded to scientists at Pennsylvania State University and the University of Vermont.

“In Pennsylvania they will be developing an integrated pest management program against slug populations in Mid-Atlantic no-till grain fields,” Jones said.

The University of Vermont received a grant to study integrated pest management for hop growers in the Northeast.