Balsam woolly adelgid: the smallest and biggest reason to reconsider the importance of subalpine fir

Forest Service staff have noted widespread and rapid subalpine fir mortality across forests in western ID & UT. The non-native, invasive balsam woolly adelgid (BWA), Adelges piceae Ratzburg, was confirmed as the primary insect responsible for large areas of subalpine fir mortality in Utah on September 6, 2017. This webinar will provide background on the current status of the true fir host type in Utah and beyond.  Webinar content will explain biology, ecology and movement of BWA and how this insect kills trees. We will also discuss practical skills for field identification and current management options. Drawing on our current collaborative efforts, the webinar will close with a question answer session hosted by several entomologists.

Speaker: Fred Hain, Professor Emeritus, NC State University &  Steve Cook, Professor, University of Idaho Continue reading

Webinar: Targeting the triple threat, cheatgrass, medusahead, and ventenata: Ecological impacts, interactions & current management

These invasive annual grasses are devastating western natural areas and rangeland, resulting in landscape-scale transformations in a cycle that favors further invasion. Further Impacts include:

  • A continuous bed of fine fuel associated with an increase in frequency and intensity of rangeland wildfire
  • Significant reduction or elimination of desirable perennial species
  • Reduced forage quality for wildlife and livestock
  • Increased risks for wildlife and pollinator species
  • Resulting wildfires that are a threat to humans, wildlife, property, and infrastructure.

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Experts convene as part of Western Gulf Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Diseases

by Blair Fannin, Texas A&M AgriLife

With ticks posing an ongoing threat to Texas’ cattle industry and mosquitoes causing challenging human health diseases such as Zika virus, a consortium of public health experts met at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Weslaco to hear the latest research and offer potential solutions.

Texas A&M AgriLife Research and the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston are leading a collaboration to solve threats from the pests as members of the Western Gulf Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Diseases. Continue reading

eXtension Technologies webinar

eXtension is changing platforms to WordPress. This webinar will apprise users of the changes. If you have a Community of Practice in eXtension, consider attending this webinar.

As eXtension grows the Impact Collaborative, it continues to offer technology that supports its members and the Cooperative Extension Service. We are upgrading our tools in ways that will ensure the future of content for communities of practice (CoPs), and provide CoPs greater flexibility and control of their content.  It also expands our services to other multi-institutional teams of Extension educators as well as ECOP projects which need a neutral web presence to communicate their work.  As eXtension has changed its focus toward the Impact Collaborative and equipping Extension educators to make a more visible and measurable local impact, the tools it provides to its members and to the Cooperative Extension Service are being upgraded for increased flexibility and efficiency.

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Resistant varieties, beneficial predators can help producers win sugarcane aphid battle

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

While sugarcane aphids have been difficult to suppress in past years due to their natural traits and limited insecticide options, a Texas A&M AgriLife Research study shows resistant sorghum varieties and beneficial predators could provide a solution.

Dr. Ada Szczepaniec, AgriLife Research entomologist at Amarillo, recently authored  “Interactive effects of crop variety, insecticide seed treatment, and planting date on population dynamics of sugarcane aphid and their predators in late-colonized sorghum” in the Crop Protection journal. The full article can be found at https://bit.ly/2IknvD4. Continue reading

University of Kentucky entomologist details ways to prevent tick bites

By Katie Pratt, University of Kentucky

Tick season is underway and a University of Kentucky entomologist is reminding Kentuckians to take precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones from tick bites.

“In tick-prone areas, check yourself, children and other family members every two hours, and very thoroughly after returning home from hikes and other outdoor activities,” said Lee Townsend, UK extension entomologist in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “Common places to find ticks are behind the knees, around the waist, under arms, neck and head.” Continue reading

Fruit flies pose food safety risk

Fruit flies have long been a source of annoyance for restaurant, foodservice and food processing operators. But now, new research shows that these tiny pests can play a more sinister role: spreading illness-inducing bacterial pathogens to food and food preparation surfaces.

The study, conducted by scientists at Ecolab, the leading provider of pest elimination solutions to the foodservice, food processing and food retail industries, was recently published in the Journal of Food Protection *. The study found evidence of fruit flies’ ability to transfer harmful bacteria from a contaminated source to surfaces or ready-to-eat food. Fruit flies are present in more than half of foodservice facilities, according to data collected by Ecolab’s field team, which provides both comprehensive and localized treatment options for small flies. Continue reading