Manufacturers Respond to Passage of California AB 1788

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Editor's note: August PCT includes the feature "Rethinking Rodent Management," which explores how pest control companies in the Golden State and elsewhere are rethinking their rodent control programs following the passage of AB 1788, a law that restricts the use of SGARs in California, has pest control companies in the Golden State and elsewhere rethinking their rodent control programs. PCT reached out to industry rodenticide manufacturers to learn more about how they’re responding to California AB 1788. Here’s what they had to say.
 
BASF
 
PCT: Are you addressing AB 1788? In what ways?
 
Jeremy Davis, A.C.E., senior sales specialist, BASF Professional & Specialty Solutions: The California Ecosystems Protection Act (AB 1788) has prompted pest control companies and pest management professionals (PMPs) to revisit, and many times rebuild, their rodent control programs. Our responsibility as a rodenticide manufacturer is to work closely with local distribution partners and state associations to promote good stewardship, training and education for all PMPs in California.
 
PCT: Are your customers asking for advice on how to perform rodent control in light of the law? What are you telling them?
 
JD: Since AB 1788 was reintroduced in 2019, many companies looked to us for guidance and alternative ways to provide rodent control services. The two most common questions we receive are with respect to rodenticide options and understanding the law itself.
 
In 2020, California had over 60 registered second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) in the state. With these products now prohibited from use (with some exemptions), pest professionals are looking at a much smaller selection of available baits. We are busy educating PMPs as to how non-SGAR products can meet the needs of their customers. As for providing an explanation of the new law, such questions are best directed to the applicable county agricultural commissioner.
 
PCT: Do you have any rodent baiting best practices you’d like to share?
 
JD: Safety of children, domestic animals and wildlife remain top of mind and should always be considered when performing rodent control services. The days of baiting alone are over, and we must place a stronger focus on integrated pest management (IPM). Inspection and effective customer communication have become more important than ever.
 
In terms of best practices, we may recommend sanitation, harborage reduction and exclusion first, and if non-targets are a local concern, I recommend implementing non-toxic alternatives such as traps, monitors or monitoring baits. Rodenticide baiting is part of an IPM approach; familiarize yourself with the label as it may differ from your previous rodenticide, follow all directions for use, install tamper-resistant bait stations and ensure they are properly labeled and secured.
 
PCT: Do you have any comments on AB 1788?
 
JD: We must keep in mind that AB 1788 is a moratorium and prohibits the use of SGARs, with some exemptions, until the California Department of Pesticide Regulation can complete its reevaluation of these products. Once the reevaluation process is complete, California could amend the current conditions or adopt additional restrictions to limit the impact these rodenticides have on wildlife. It is our responsibility to follow all federal and state laws and regulatory requirements and to be good stewards for our industry.
 
PCT: Are you seeing higher-than-normal rodent pressure now on the West Coast? In what ways?
 
JD: Over the past few years, we have seen a large increase in rodent activity. Much of the increased rodent pressure can be attributed to the pandemic. For example, restaurant closures are forcing rodents to find new food sources, and more residents remaining at home increases the chance of the resident identifying additional pest pressure. Given the current environment and the effects of the pandemic, I would estimate that the rodent market in California is growing faster than any other segment this year.
 
PCT: Is there anything else we haven’t asked that PCT’s readers should be aware of regarding this topic?
 
JD: As environments change, and our industry puts a heavier focus on IPM, our time spent on inspection couldn’t be more critical. Thorough inspection, identification and implementation will lay the groundwork for a successful rodent management program. Whether it be exclusion, baiting or newer innovations like remote monitoring, we must never discount change and keep an open mind on the future of rodent control.
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Bell Laboratories

PCT: Are you addressing AB 1877? In what ways?

Patrick Lynch, senior vice president of sales, Bell Laboratories: Bell’s mission is to provide as many tools as possible to pest management professionals to fight the disease and destruction caused by rodents. When AB 1788 became law in late 2020, Bell had been working to achieve registration on two new California-only rodenticides. This spring, Bell was able to introduce Contrac California Bromethalin Blox to its California customers, ensuring PMPs in California maintained access to a breadth of options, no matter regulatory challenges. Bell also just launched Contrac California Bromethalin Soft Bait to the California market.
 
PCT: Do you have any rodent baiting best practices you’d like to share?
 
PL: Bell’s technical sales team is fully equipped to provide PMPs, in even the most difficult rodent situations, customized baiting practices. Please reach out to your local Bell technical sales representative for additional help and resources.
 
PCT: Is there anything else we haven’t asked that PCT’s readers should be aware of regarding this topic?
 
PL: Bell is proud to have introduced the only affordable rodent monitoring bait station with its iQ product line. Due to the changing regulatory landscape, the need for PMPs to know when and where rodents are traveling, has been amplified.
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Liphatech
 
PCT: Are you addressing AB 1877? In what ways?
 
John Murphy, technical support manager, Liphatech: We are addressing AB 1788. One of the ways, is that we are working with the Best Management Practices study that DPR has funded to support the reevaluation of SGARs. We have a complete line of bait products for the California market. Our latest product, Flatline, is a new chlorophacinone soft bait.
 
PCT: Are your customers asking for advice on how to perform rodent control in light of the law? What are you telling them?
 
JM: We review our product selections with them and always offer support in the field to assist.
 
PCT: Do you have any rodent baiting best practices you’d like to share?
 
JM: We have repackaged our nontoxic bait attractants, and as always, we constantly discuss and review proper rodent control procedures. Rodenticides are an important tool for successful rodent control but is just one tool. PMPs need to keep an open mind and communicate with their customers that strategies can change and frequency of service visits might increase.
 
PCT: Do you have any comments on AB 1877?
 
JM: We will continue to work with and support the Best Management Practices study to support the reevaluation of SGARS.
 
PCT: Are you seeing higher-than-normal rodent pressure now on the West Coast?
 
JM: Rodent populations continue to escalate, but there are many factors that contribute to the growth.
 
PCT: In what ways?
 
JM: Lack of aggressive rodent control programs, poor sanitation conditions and structural deficiencies are just a few factors that play a role in creating an environment of conducive conditions.