SHORT CUTS

TOMA BECOMES HALL-OF-FAMER

On August 3, 2001, George Toma was presented with the Daniel F. Reeves Pioneer Award, an acknowledgment of Toma‘s decades of contribution to professional football. Toma is only the sixth person to receive the Reeves award.

Toma is most noted for his work with 35 straight Superbowls, and almost that many Probowls. He also is former groundskeeper for the Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas City Royals. Currently, Toma consults in the turf industry.

IT'S GREAT FOR INSOMNIA, TOO

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Ovine weed controls are becoming more popular. Sheep are being recruited to control kudzu in the Southeast, and now we hear that a company based near Sacramento, Calif., Goatweedeaters.com, is renting South African Boer crossbreeds to get rid of weeds. Another company, Ewe4ic Ecological Services (www.goatapelli.com) provides similar services.

NEW CHEMISTRIES

Chipco Professional Products is introducing Chipco TopChoice, a new granular insecticide for control of red imported fire ants. TopChoice can provide up to 52 weeks of fire-ant control with a single broadcast application. It is designed for use on turfgrass and landscape beds. Chipco also announced that California has granted a state label for the use of Finale herbicide on turf. www.aventischipco.com

Syngenta Professional Products announced Touchdown PRO, a glyphosate-based non-selective herbicide. Touchdown PRO uses Syngenta's IQ Technology, a patented formulation intended to promote efficient penetration of the active glyphosate molecule into the target weeds.

www.syngentaprofessionalproducts.com

Pursell Technologies Inc., known for its Polyon polymer-coated fertilizers, has gained EPA approval for the first polymer-coated insecticide. The product uses Pursell's patented Precise technology to gradually release acephate (the same a.i. as Orthene) via osmotic diffusion.

www.polyon.com

The Rodex 4000 is a blast. Literally. The unit uses a mixture of propane and oxygen to create an explosive atmosphere in rodent burrows. Ignition produces a concussive force sufficient to kill most rodents inside the burrow. The humane among us can rest assured that it is a quick and presumably painless death. Plus, such a strategy draws little criticism from anti-pesticide activists.

www.rodexindustries.com.

EPA CLEARS METHOPRENE

The Environmental Protection Agency has posted a fact sheet on methoprene, determining that the chemical exhibits low toxicity to humans and other non-target organisms. Methoprene is used in storm drains to control mosquitoes that may carry the West Nile virus in New York. Some critics accused the chemical of harming marine organisms. However, the EPA reviewed the evidence and concluded otherwise. You can find the fact sheet at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides, under “What's New.”

THE QUEEN'S IN CHARGE

A Swiss researcher has found that fire ant queens not only lay all the eggs in the nest, they also determine what sex the offspring will be. Laurent Keller, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, found that some queens seem to favor male offspring, while others favor females.

Scientists previously thought that fire ant workers (rather than the queens) favored female offspring, and did so by killing or starving male larvae. However, surveys of fire ant nests showed that sex ratios frequently did not match what was expected. Scientists cannot yet explain why some queens favor male offspring, while others favor female offspring.

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