Think about some of the worst crop pests that farmers have to battle each year. The brown marmorated stink bug comes to mind, as do the bollworm, nematodes, codling moth and others. In most cases, pest advance to the “worst pest” position because their populations outnumber those of other insects, including predators. According to a study that compared insect and pathogen populations between organic and conventional farming systems, predator-prey populations seem to be more balanced in systems that use more integrated approaches to pest management.
Aside from the bedbug, one other blood-sucking creature has gotten a bad rap throughout history and is typically on the “least wanted” pest list: the louse. Common in schools and other communal living areas, lice seem to create trauma for the person they infest. Typically we associate lice with homeless people or anyone who lacks good hygiene, so when the eight-year-old daughter of a tenured faculty member gets lice, the infestation becomes an embarrassment to be eradicated as quickly as possible. The good news is that new research on lice genes may lead to some new control options.
When corn prices suddenly rose dramatically in 2007, Illinois researchers reported that some farmers were willing to do anything to increase their yields. Many of them used products to combat pests that they didn’t even have.
For anyone who has been itching to try a bite of lionfish but is unsure of how to prepare it, a new cookbook has been published to provide some ideas. Published by the Key Largo-based REEF conservation organization, The Lionfish Cookbook includes 45 recipes for this new delicacy.