2017 Training / Review Schedule
By UW-PAT Program.

The 2017 training / review schedule is available. We are planning 4 field & Veg trainings, 1 forestry, 8 turf & landscape, 1 greenhouse, 2 right-of-way and 2 structural trainings. Trainings are held around the State of Wisconsin. These training / reviews provide approximatley six hours of material then the certificaiton exam at the end (approx. 2:30 pm). Base training fee is required ($47 - comes with printed manual or $42 - comes with pdf manual) and the training / review session is optional at $30.

To register go to the UW PAT Store using the link below. For directions and details follow the 2017 Training / Review Schedule link below.

Registration is required before the training / review session.

Category 1.1 - Field & Vegetable

February 27
La Sure's Banquet Hall.
Eau Claire
March 9
Metropolis Resort.
March 16
Pontiac Convention Center
March 23
Arlington Research Station.
Category 2.0 - Forestry

February 23
Marathon County Extension Office.
Category 3.0 - Turf & Landscape

March 1
Olympia Resort.
March 8
Arlington Research Center.
March 15
Olympia Resort
March 22
Olympia Resort.
Eau Claire
March 29
Metropolis Resort.
April 5
Olympia Resort.
Green Bay
April 12
Green Bay Conference Center & Rock Garden.
April 12
Olympia Resort.
Category 3.1 / 105 - Greenhouse Nursery

January 27
Waukesha Extension Office.
Category 6.0 - Right-of-Way

January 19
Dan County Extension Office.
April 20
Carroll Univeristy Center of Graduate Studies.
Category 7.1 - Structural

Wisconsin Dells
February 14
Kalahari Resort; In association with WPCA's Spring Training*.
April 27
Carroll Univeristy Center of Graduate Studies.

*Registration for the conference does not include registration for the Pesticide Applicator Training for certificaiton.

Please bring manuals and Training Registration Forms with you to the training / review sessions.

PAT Store

2017 Training / Review Schedule

Audio (MP3)

Pesticide Applicator Training with Simultaneous Spanish Translation.
By Steve Tomasko, UW PAT Program.

The UW Pesticide Applicator Training (PAT) Program will be holding a Private Applicator Training using simultaneous Spanish translation for Spanish speaking applicators on Jan 31 at the UW Fond du Lac campus. This training will cover the required material that a Private Applicator receives for certification. This training will also include a Worker Protection Standard training for workers. There will be a $30 training fee that will come with the General Farm Manual (English), registration is mandatory and limited to 45 participants. Sorry, walk-ins will not be allowed due to technical limitations. This training is for Spanish first-language speakers, thank you.

Training fee includes the General Farm manual in English and the Certification exam will be an option. However, please keep in mind that the exam is in English.

To register please go to the UW PAT Store.

The PAT Store

Audio (MP3)

New Revisions for 2017
By Glenn Nice, UW PAT Program

There are four manuals being reviesed for 2017! Categories 7.1 Structural, 7.3 Termite Control, 7.4 Wood Presevation and 7.2 Space & Fumigation. New exams will be made by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection for 2017 based on these new manuals.

Although you can use the previous edition to take the exam, there is a slight advantage using the edition that the test is based on. Especially if there are any changes in the laws.

One topic that has been turned into testible content, taken out of the gray box, is record keeping. Meaning you may see a question about records on the exam the next time you certify.

Training fees can be purchased at the PAT Store. Training fees come with either a printed or pdf manual.

The PAT Store

Audio (MP3)

New Pesticide Mode of Action Being Investigated - RNA inhibition
By Glenn Nice, PAT Program


Humanity has been at odds with pests since recorded time. Part of this may be because anything can potentially be a pest. Anything that infects, parasitizes, bites, detracts from the purpose of something, competes, upsets the aesthetics, or does damage to something we deem valuable is a pest. The pest itself can range from the very small, such as a virus or plasmid, or the very large, a brown bear. Controlling pests takes skill, adaptability and a keen understanding of the pest in question.

Manufacturers of pesticides are always looking for new modes of action. A mode of action of a pesticide is how the pesticide controls the pest. Recent work has turned to a unique process—RNA inhibition—that takes its cue from a natural defense mechanism. But first, let's take a little tour of DNA, RNA and how all this works together. If you already know this feel free to skip the next paragraph.

Some Genetic Basics

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), as you might know, is the template of a living thing. It is the reason why your kids are so good looking. It provides the structural plans for proteins “that do stuff” in a living organism. It is in the form of a double helix strand, which works out very well because damage to the strand can be replaced using the partner template as long as one of the two strands is intact. These incredibly long chains of molecules called nucleotides make up complete novels of information. The Artameru/Cyrus the Great (13,095 pages) by Georges de Scudery of the biological world. To provide an easy analogy, think of a language constructed of these nucleotides as letters. However, this language uses four letters constructing sentences of three-lettered words. “The cat was mad for the dog,” but I cheated, that used more than three letters. The actual letters are A, T, G and C. So, you could have a sentence that reads “TGG ACG CCC TGG TTG GAG CAA GAT.” I know this might look like gibberish, but to a geneticist and ribosomes, the complex that translate this language in a living thing, it is pure delight. When reading occurs, a DNA strand gets unzipped and replicated into single strands called ribonucleic acid or RNA. Some of this RNA serves the function of taking that message out of nucleus of the cell where it will eventually be used to build complex proteins. Each word coding for a specific amino acid. Yes, this was a simplified account of all the highly complex processes, so please no hate mail.

RNA Inhibition

RNA inhibition is thought to be used as a defense mechanism against virus[1] and insect attack. The process of silencing, inhibiting or disrupting the expression of specific genes has become a valuable tool in the world of genetics. Often genes are studied and identified through a process of “down regulating” and “turning them off” also known as “silencing.” In the case of RNA inhibition, the suppression of a specific gene expression is done by essentially interfering with the RNA used in the translation. Think of it as having your mail intercepted. This inhibition can be designed to specifically interfere with RNA associated with a specific enzyme and pathway. This interference essentially throws a monkey wrench into the pest’s ability to function in some detailed way.

This function in the pest could be a gene that is involve in an antioxidant enzyme, the production of enzymes used in the pest’s metabolism. In one such case, suppressing a gene expression for cytochrome P450 monooxygenase, an enzyme used in the detoxification of gossypol, a natural insecticide found in cotton. Inhibiting this would make a pest normally tolerant of gossypol susceptible to it instead. Much of the work conducted on this has been done with the insect pest in mind.

The idea behind this process is that we can induce RNA inhibition by introducing specific sequences of double-stranded RNA that are designed to bind to specific RNA sequences (words) of unique genes. Essentially, either downregulating (lowering the activity) or turning off important genes that are used in the construction of important proteins.

Identifying the process and very specific sequence is important. The first challenge is to target a process specific to the pest group. Something that is not found in nontarget species. You want the inhibiting RNA to only bind to exactly what you design it to interfere with targeting a selected function.

A disadvantage of this is that this mode of action may be too specific. Meaning that the process may only work with one very specific species. It is presently being investigated for the control of specific insects, such as worms that feed on corn, weevils[4] and mosquitoes. It might not be a mode of action that may make its way into a herbicide, because it might not be general enough to control a community of different weed species. Unless you were targeting a gene that encoded for a resistance mechanism. One future possibility is using RNA inhibition in combination with a trigger. For example, producing sensitivity in a pest that typically is tolerant to a specific pesticide. Meaning that both triggers have to be present for the process to be functional. With both triggers being required, you might be able to control the boundaries of influence with more precision.

How do you deliver such a mechanism? Work with the red palm weevil looked at injection, ingestion and topical applications[4]. Both injection (impractical for the real world) and ingestion showed higher levels of response. Injection of course would not be practical, so that leaves ingestion. The topical application showed the least response. At this point RNA inhibition may not see use as a topical application, but having the mechanism to deliver the double strand RNA producing the inhibition, might work. Similar to having corn express the BT trait, work is being done to transform plants to express the double strand RNA that the pest ingests[5]. Voila, a delivery mechanism.

Of course, there is a lot of work to be done before such a mode of action ever gets registered and becomes available to the market. Lundgren and Duan highlighted the concerns regarding nontarget gene silencing[6]. Concerns about whether the identification sequence, the component that we hold the targeting on, truly is specific to the exact gene we are wanting to suppress or silence. This sequence may be found in mRNA associated with other genes or genes in other organisms. Lundgren and Duan argue that, “. . . even the most rational dsRNA design does not preclude some level of off-target sequencing matching and potential off-target gene suppression in nontarget organisms.” They also brought up concerns regarding immunostimulation and RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) saturation.

Like with any new mode of action to control pests, RNA inhibition has to be studied. The concept and use of RNA inhibition is not unique, it is found in most living cells already and has been used by geneticists to silence genes in the lab for quite some time. It was the method of choice for developing a non-bruising potato. However, when used as a pesticide, it will have to go through risk assessments and registration before we see this in the market like any other pesticide.

[1] Narute, Purushottam. Insights into RNA Interference as Antiviral Defense. J AIDS & Clin Res. Vol 7. Issue 8
[2] Moa, Y. et al. Silencing a cotton bollworm P450 monooxygenase gene by plant-mediated RNAi impairs larval tolerance of gossypol. Nature: Biotechnology. 25. 1307-1313.
[3] Baum, J.A. et al. Control of coleopteran insect pests through RNA interference Nature: Biotechnolgy. 2007. Vol 25 pp 1322-1326.
[4] Al-Ayedh et al. Insecticidal potency of RNAi-based catalase knockdown in Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (oliver) (Coleotera: Curculionidae). 2016. Pest Manag Sci: 72: 2118-2127
[5] Moa Y-B et al. Cotton plants expressing CYP6AE14 double-strand RNA show enhanced resistance to bollworms. 2011. Transgenic Research 20:665-673
[6] Lundgren, J.G. and J.J. Duan. RNAi-Based Insecticidal Crops: Potential Effects on Nontarget Species. BioScience 63:8

Audio (MP3)

Now Available an Aquatic & Mosquito, Category 5.0, Online Course
By Glenn Nice, UW PAT Program Manager

In the previous edition of the PAT CHAT Newsletter we mentioned that we were getting close to launching an online Aquatic & Mosquito (Category 5.0) online course, well it is available. This course is a presentation based course with audio and quizzes to help provide the information required to get certified. The course is available at the UW PAT Store and will cost $60. The coarse comes with a pdf of the manual.

A Training Registration Form will be sent to you at registration for the course with your name on it. As with all other certifications this form has to be presented to DATCP to get certified.

UW PAT Store

Audio (MP3)

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Found in Wisconsin Ag Crops for the First Time.
By Steve Tomasko, UW PAT Program.

You might have heard this song before, or so it seems to me. First we hear about an invasive species (plant, bug, snake or other critter) doing harm in some other part of the country. Then we hear that it’s spreading and might impact us here in the cheese, brat and Packer state. Next we find incidental reports of it in Wisconsin. Anyway, you see where this is going. And although there have been isolated sightings of the brown marmorated stink bug (say that 3 times real fast) in the state since 2010, we now have the first report of them damaging agricultural crops.

UW entomologist Christelle Guédot recently found the BMSBs in monitoring traps in apple orchards and in a pumpkin patch in Dane county, making this the first official report of BMSB in agricultural crops in Wisconsin.


So, what’s the potential problem? Wisconsin likely will have the same vulnerabilities as other states. Like other invasive critters, BMSBs (originally from Asia) were somehow transported to the U.S. But as is often the case, they don’t have the same natural enemies and diseases that help keep their populations under control in their native habitat. That means their populations can grow fast.

The brown marmorated stink bug has a wide range of host plants it feeds on, including over 300 plant species in agricultural, horticultural, and natural settings. Possible target crops (not a complete list) include: apple, cherry, cranberry, currant, grape, peach, pear, raspberry, asparagus, dry bean, green bean, pepper, sweet corn, tomato, field corn and soybeans.

BMSBs prefer fruits as a food-source, but will eat nearly all plant parts. Their feeding produces small necrotic (dead) areas on the outer surface of fruits and leaves. In apples, they create cork-like dead spots that become sunken and make the fruit unsuitable for market. The damage is cosmetic and the fruit is safe to eat, but it’s not preferred by consumers. BMSB injury in orchards has resulted in large losses. In 2010, the mid-Atlantic region’s apple industry estimated losses of about $37 million due to BMSB damage.

House Invaders

Due to unpleasant odor (they’ve earned the name “stink bug” for a reason), large size, and sheer numbers, the bugs can be a nasty home invader. Like some other pests, (e.g., Asian lady beetles, cluster flies, box elder bugs) they often get into homes or other buildings in the fall, seeking a warm place to shelter for the winter. Besides the nuisance factor, they can produce allergic reactions in some people.

The numbers of BMSB is still small in Wisconsin, but Guédot recommends apple growers (or crop advisors, or pest control companies) to scout and monitor for the presence of BMSB by visually inspecting fruit and neighboring vegetation around orchards. Check for the insects themselves and check fruit for signs of damage. Traps and lures are commercially available from many companies and provide a great tool for monitoring for the presence and abundance of BMSB.

Wisconsin Fruit Newsletter

UW BMSB Fact Sheet

Stop BMSB website

Audio (MP3)

Pesticide Resistance Part II: Managing Resistance
By Steve Tomasko, PAT Program

In The last PAT-CHAT Newsletter I wrote about some basics of pesticide resistance—what it is, why we should care and what kinds of problems pesticide resistance can cause. In this installment, I’ll talk about some of the things we, as pesticide applicators, can do to manage resistance.

Notice that I don’t say “battle” or “fight” resistance. This is not a war we will win, but we can “manage” resistance, that is, make it less of a problem. First, let’s have a brief recap of why we should try to manage pesticide resistance.

To put it simply, as resistance to a particular pesticide becomes more frequent in a pest population (those pests could be weeds, insects, rodents, bacterial diseases, etc.) that pesticide will be less effective and its continued use will only accelerate the problem. Over time, resistance causes us to lose tools (pesticides) we need to control pest populations.

Pesticide Resistance Management

In the past, we responded to pesticide resistance simply by switching products. This was possible because new products were continually available. Unfortunately, we have used up the “easy” pesticide chemistry. Today’s new pesticides are more complex, difficult to synthesize, and more expensive to develop and use. And even these products may become ineffective because of pesticide resistance. Obviously, switching products is no longer enough.

One way to think about managing resistance is to remember how our practices help “select” for resistance in the first place, then alter those practices so we are not helping to promote resistance in the first place. Another way to say this is that the most effective strategy to combat resistance is to do everything possible to prevent it from occurring in the first place.

Resistance management attempts to prevent, delay, or reverse the development of resistance. It’s a task that involves using multiple strategies to control pests and not just relying on pesticides. Or when you do use pesticides, using them smartly.

Using Pesticides Smartly

First let’s tackle using pesticides correctly in terms of pesticide resistance. Remember, the more you bombard a pest population with the same product over and over, the more likely you will select for resistant populations. So, using pesticides more judiciously, helps to slow down resistance development. For example, if you monitor your pest population and only spray when you need to, you’ll likely cut down on the number of times you use a pesticide. This means, for example, only spraying when the pest is likely to do enough damage to cause economic loss or a threat to public health. Also make sure you spray at the right time to most effectively control the pest is important too.

Rotate Rotate Rotate

Rotate pesticides with different modes of action. First, what is a “mode of action?” You can think of it simply as “the way a certain chemical kills a pest.” Another way to look at it is that any pesticide “aims” at a particular vulnerability in a pest. The chemical might interfere with a certain enzyme the insect needs to grow, or another might stop a weed from performing photosynthesis correctly. There are hundreds of “modes of action” or targets that different pesticides aim at.

However, remember that pesticides that are closely related in chemistry may have the same or similar modes of action, even if they are different chemicals. So, sometimes pests that become resistant to one pesticide are also resistant to other related pesticides. This is why you need to rotate, or use different pesticides with different modes of action, and not simply different, but related chemicals. Why does rotating modes of action help manage resistance? Remember that pests are developing resistance to one mode of action. To develop resistance to two completely different modes is far less likely genetically, although certainly not impossible. But the more you rotate, the less chance any particular group of pests can develop resistance to 3, 4 or even more different modes of action.

Labels and Modes of Action

So, if you’re not a chemist, how do you know the best way to rotate your pesticides? Luckily, more and more pesticide labels are coming out with a simple system to help you. These systems have been created for herbicides, insecticides and fungicides that group them by their modes of action. Labels indicate that mode of action by a number code on the product label. Pesticides within any group (e.g. insecticides, herbicides), for example, with the same number have the same mode of action. Below is an example from an insecticide label.

This label tells you that Dimilin is a “group 15” insecticide. So, if you want to rotate your chemistry you would use anything but a group 15 insecticide the next time you sprayed the same area (as long as, of course, the pesticide is labeled for the application you are doing.

Integrated Pest Management

Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, is a strategy that involves using any and all methods of controlling pests and not just relying on chemicals. Although, that does not mean pesticides are not a part of IPM, they are simply one tool among many. Just a few of the other tools for managing pests include biological controls, beneficial predators and parasites of pests, cultural practices, crop rotation, pest-resistant crop varieties and chemical attractants or deterrents.

Preserve Susceptible Genes

Some programs try to preserve susceptible individuals within the target pest population by providing a refuge or haven for susceptible pests, such as unsprayed areas within treated fields, adjacent refuge fields, or attractive habitats within a treated field that facilitate immigration. These susceptible individuals may out-compete and interbreed with resistant individuals, diluting the impact of any resistance that may have developed in the population.

As with the first installment of this article in the last newsletter, there is much more that could be written on this subject. But the idea was to give you some basic information on this important topic.

Below are some resources you can use to learn more. Some are the same links I provided last time, however, they are still valid for both the basics of resistance and resistance management.

UW-Integrated Crop and Pest Management

EPA’s Resistance Management site

IRAC (Insecticide Resistance Action Committee): On the IRAC’s home page you’ll find an informative (and entertaining!) video that explains insecticide resistance.

HRAC (Herbicide Resistance Action Committee)

FRAC (Fungicide Resistance Action Committee)

RRAC (Rodenticide Resistance Action Committee)

Audio (MP3)

WPS Train the Trainer Online Course
By Glenn Nice, UW-PAT Program.
Betsy Buffington, Pesticide Safety Education Program, Iowa State University

As you may know, on November 2nd, 2015 the EPA revised the Worker Protection Standard (WPS). As part of the new rules, workers have to be trained every year. In the new WPS rules, certified applicators and people who have been through an EPA-approved train the trainer program can do the annual training.

Iowa State University has updated the online course to meet the new EPA training requirements of the Worker Protection Standard for the 2017 calendar year. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and the PAT Program presently recommend the Iowa online Train the Trainer course. This online course can be taken to make a non-certified applicator eligible to provide worker training.

Register for updated WPS online course to train workers. However, please be aware that completing this course will not allow you to train WPS handlers.

Registration: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/workerprotection/.

Training Requirements Beginning January 2, 2017, all workers and handlers are required to be trained on a yearly-basis. Before any worker or handler enters a pesticide-treated area on an agricultural establishment for any length of time, they need to receive the pesticide safety training (no grace period). Under the revised WPS there will be no grandfathering of training that was acquired in 2016 or before.

  • If a worker or handler was trained in 2016, they will need to receive WPS training within 1 year of the 2016 training. This training will not need to include the 2018 training content. For example, a worker trained on April 14, 2016 will need to be retrained prior to April 14, 2017.
  • If a worker or handler was not trained in 2016, they would have to be trained before they do any worker or handler tasks.

To conduct safety training, you must be a certified applicator of restricted-use pesticides, have completed a Train-the-Trainer program approved by EPA, or be an IDALS designated trainer. NOTE: After January 2, 2017, persons who have only been trained as WPS pesticide handlers will no longer be qualified to train workers.

Yearly training records for each handler and each worker must now be kept for 2 years. If a worker or handler requests those training records, you must provide it to them upon request.

For more information on training requirements and resources, please visit: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/psep/workerprotect.html.

The DNR water resource contact person for your county

Audio (MP3)

New Worker Protection Standard “How to Comply” Manuals Available Online
By Steve Tomasko, UW-PAT Program.

The Environmental Protection Agency along with the Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative (PERC) has a guide available to help people comply with the requirements of newly-revised Worker Protection Standard. You should read this manual if you employ agricultural workers or handlers, are involved in the production of agricultural plants as an owner/manager of an agricultural establishment or a commercial (for-hire) pesticide handling establishment, or work as a crop advisor.

Get the Manual Here

Audio (MP3)

EPA Registering Dicamba Formulation for Use in Dicamba Tolerant Soybeans
By Steve Tomasko, UW-PAT Program.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced on Nov 9th that it would register XtendimaxTM with Vapor GripTM Technology. The Vapor GripTM technology is designed to reduce volatility of the dicamba formulation.

The label will come with very specific drift mitigation measures. For example, maximum wind speeds of 15 mph, use of approved nozzles at specified pressures and buffer zones to protect sensitive areas.

This tool will be utilized legaly in the control of weeds that have resistant biotypes to glyphosate and other modes of action. The registration is being granted, but places time limits on the registration to allow for necessary changes.

Get the Manual Here

Audio (MP3)

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