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MT Dept. of Agriculture Issues Environmental Assessment for Montana Japanese Beetle Control Program in Billings, MT

MDA to distribute pesticide to homeowners in Billings Heights neighborhoods

The Montana Department of Agriculture Nursery Program is proposing a program to distribute pesticide to homeowners in the Billings Heights neighborhood to control the population of invasive Japanese Beetle (Popillia japonica Newman). Homeowners in highly affected areas will receive a voucher that allows them to obtain one free bag of pesticide with the active ingredient Chlorantraniliprole that can be picked up from a designated distribution point.

Applications are expected to occur from late June until October of 2021. The target area is a roughly 4.1 mi2 area North of Hilltop Road, west of Main Street, south of Rolling Hills Road and Riveroaks Drive, and east of Governors Boulevard and Gleneagles Boulevard.

The active ingredient, Chlorantraniliprole, found in Scotts GrubEx1 (see product label below), is an anthranilic diamide. It is a highly selective larvicide that targets white grubs, billbugs, European crane fly, and turf caterpillars. The term white grubs applies to Japanese beetles, Asiatic garden beetles, black turfgrass ataenius, European chafer, Green June beetles, May/June beetles, Northern masked chafers, Southern masked chafers, and Oriental beetles. The active ingredient has not been shown to adversely affect bee populations that forage in treated areas. Chlorantraniliprole has also shown almost no toxicity to non-target species of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and non-target insects when applied following the label and does not require a signal word on the packaging. It is toxic to aquatic invertebrates, oysters, and shrimp, and therefore should only be applied to turfgrass in a manner following the guidance of the product label.

The U.S, Fish and Wildlife Service reports the proposed treatment area does not contain any critical habitats for threatened or endangered species, although the threatened species of bird Red Knot (Calidris canutus rufa) may be found in the area. Migratory birds such as Bald Eagles, Brewer’s Sparrow, Clark’s Grebe, Golden Eagle, Lewis’s Woodpecker, and Pinyon Jay are likely present in the treatment area. The EPA has designated Chlorantraniliprole and its degradates as being practically non-toxic to birds from the acute oral and dietary perspectives in the Pesticide Fact Sheet published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

For more information regarding the Japanese Beetle Control Program in Billings, Montana, contact the Montana Department of Agriculture Nursery Program at (406) 444-3428 or MDANursery@mt.gov.

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