Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore has announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has granted an emergency exemption to use the pesticide dinotefuran to control the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) on stone and pome fruits in Virginia.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) requested the emergency exemption in April 2011 as a way to help combat the pests, commonly referred to as "stink bugs" due to the odor they emit, which have caused significant damage to agricultural crops in recent years.

Section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act authorizes EPA to allow an unregistered use of a pesticide for a limited time if EPA determines that an emergency condition exists. 

Congressmen Frank Wolf and Robert Hurt indicated support of the emergency exemption request because it would provide growers in their districts and others in the state another tool to control and minimize the damage caused by stink bugs. VDACS requested an expedited review in order to obtain an exemption for the current growing season.

"Agriculture is Virginia's largest industry and our fruit products are known domestically and abroad for their exceptionally high quality and outstanding taste," said Secretary Haymore.