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  • Southern IPM blog posts

    January 2012
    M T W T F S S
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    The Southern Region IPM Center is located at North Carolina State University, 1730 Varsity Drive, Suite 110, Raleigh, NC 27606, and is sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
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Workshop targets pest management – Feb. 2

Mississippi State University Extension Service agriculture experts will address integrated pest management topics at a Feb. 2 workshop in Raymond, Miss.

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Mild winter means earlier scouting

Even though it’s the middle of winter, there haven’t been many days that have felt like winter in Kentucky. While there’s still a lot of winter ahead, the chances of it being a mild one seem to be increasing.

According to Tom Priddy, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture meteorologist, a moderate La Niña in the equatorial Pacific is causing the medium- and long-range weather outlooks to show above normal temperatures and above normal rainfall for Kentucky and the rest of the Ohio Valley.

If the winter continues to be mild, wheat producers may want to monitor their fields for the presence of two late-season diseases earlier than they normally would in the growing season, said Don Hershman, UK extension plant pathologist.

Leaf and stripe rusts tend to overwinter in wheat in states farther south like Louisiana and Texas, because the rust fungi can only survive in living leaf tissue and are killed by extended periods of freezing temperatures. Thus, in most years in Kentucky, rusts that take hold in wheat seedlings in the fall die during the winter due to the combination of freezing temperatures and lack of insulating snow cover. Rusts that overwinter in the Deep South have to build up and blow northward, which means they typically arrive in Kentucky too late in the season to cause significant yield losses. However, the risk that either or both diseases will develop earlier in the spring and increase to damaging levels at critical wheat growth stages increases during mild winters due to the possibility that one or both rust fungi might have overwintered at higher than normal levels.

“It is not highly unusual for low levels of leaf and stripe rust to overwinter in Kentucky, however, the mild fall and winter we have experienced, thus far, suggests that we could see rusts occurring earlier and building to damaging levels in susceptible wheat varieties this spring due to increased winter survival,” Hershman said.

Phil Needham, with Needham Ag Technologies, regularly scouts fields for producers in Kentucky and other states. He said he hasn’t seen any stripe or leaf rust in Kentucky fields yet, but that doesn’t necessarily mean these diseases won’t appear this year.

“We had some stripe rust last year in susceptible varieties; so with the mild winter, we expect to see some again this spring,” he said. “Leaf rust also occurs most years.”

Hershman added that because all varieties have different levels of susceptibility to leaf and stripe rusts, if the diseases do overwinter in significant enough levels, each field will have its own disease potential.

Writer: Katie Pratt, 859-257-8774, University of Kentucky Ag Communications

Termite Academy in New Orleans

The Greater New Orleans Pest Control Association’s 4th Annual Termite Academy is a Louisiana Structural Board Commission accredited course and will be offered in New Orleans on February 7-9, 2012.

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Webinar Spreads the Word on Policies to Reduce School Pesticide Exposures

The Interstate Chemical Threats Workgroup (ICTW) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) hosted a webinar on December 15, 2011 entitled “Effective Policies to Reduce Exposures to Pesticides in Schools.”

Janet Hurley, extension program specialist with Texas AgriLife Extension Service, pointed out that states have been increasingly adopting school and childcare-specific pesticide regulations because of a lack of federal action. States have implemented regulations with mandates such as no-spray zones, interior and outdoor posting, pre-notification, reentry restrictions after applications, acceptable pesticide lists and school staff training. Hurley comments that such mandates are important to create more uniform success across an entire state, protect more people at one time and allow for more educational opportunities.

Michel Oriel, research scientist with the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, reported on school-related exposure incidents throughout California and their effects on state regulations. Data showed that pesticides caused the most cases of chemical exposure to children. One such incident led to the establishment of California Safe Schools, a coalition of over 45 organizations, and prompted Los Angeles Unified School District to implement one of the most highly-regarded IPM programs in the country. The success of this policy also led to the California Healthy Schools Act.

Sherry Glick, national pesticides and schools coordinator with US EPA Office of Pesticide Programs, focused on the benefits of IPM, breaking components down into four sections of a pyramid: education and communication, sanitation, maintenance and cultural practices, and pesticides. She advocates for verifiable school IPM, meaning ongoing and sustainable IPM that includes understanding pests, setting action thresholds, monitoring and removing pest-friendly conditions.

The final presenter, Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides, encouraged precaution in creating pest management policies. Feldman stated that many pesticides are considered safe despite the fact that exposure can cause serious health issues, especially to children. Existing pesticide registration laws set an acceptable risk threshold for pesticides based on assessments of exposure and target population groups. However, there are complexities with the real-world use of chemicals that aren’t assessed, such as mixtures and synergistic effects.

All panelists agreed that although pre-notification of pesticide applications is an important strategy to reduce exposure, implementing sanitation and exclusion to eliminate the reasons pests are present is the most effective approach.

CABI compiles list of worst plant pests threatening world crops

Agricultural pests have long been considered one of the greatest threats to food security. Insect pests and diseases cause about a 40% loss in global production each year. And scientists warn that the problem will probably get worse.

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NPMA’s Pest Management Foundation Seeks Research Proposals

The National Pest Management Association’s (NPMA) charitable organization, the Pest Management Foundation, issued a solicitation for grant proposals related to the management of structural pests and pests in urban and suburban environments.

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Findings from University of Georgia study could improve chances for hemlock biocontrol efforts

A new study, done by scientists at the University of Georgia, suggests that one of the secrets to controlling the hemlock woolly adelgid may be at the top of the tree.

That’s where adelgid populations are highest, the study found. Results of the study were published in the December issue of the Journal of Economic Entomology.

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National Conference on Urban Entomology registration open

The NCUE emphasizes innovation and research on household, structural and public health arthropod pests.  The conference goal is to facilitate open communication of information among pest management professionals and scientists in industry, academia and government.

The 2012 National Conference on Urban Entomology (NCUE) will take place May 20-23, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. To register for the conference, go to http://ncue.tamu.edu/.

How to Manage Verticillium Wilt in Almonds

Although this story, which appears in American/Western Fruit Grower this month, centers on California almonds, verticillium wilt is a common disease of shade trees that is widespread through the U.S. The disease often occurs on cotton in the South.

For the American Fruit Grower story, click here.

For information on verticillium wilt of cotton, click here.


Mexican rice borer moving slowly into Louisiana

In October, adult moths were found in Jefferson Davis Parish in monitoring traps approximately 10 miles south of Welsh. The traps are maintained by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.

The pest, which came to Louisiana from Texas, was previously found in east Calcasieu Parish in a rice crop.

The discovery should not set off a panic, said LSU AgCenter entomologist Natalie Hummel. “The thing we don’t want people to do is go out and change their management strategy if they don’t typically have a problem with borers. We encourage people in the infested parishes to monitor their rice crop more closely next season and use management strategies as needed.”

At the recent Rice Outlook Conference in Austin, Texas, LSU AgCenter rice specialist Johnny Saichuk said that the borer is not expected to be a major problem. “I don’t think it’s anything to panic about.”

Farmers who use the Dermacor seed treatment against rice water weevils should get protection against the Mexican rice borer, Hummel said.

The borer and treatment options will be discussed at the LSU AgCenter winter rice clinics being held the first week of January.

LSU AgCenter entomologist Gene Reagan, who has studied the Mexican rice borer extensively, said the pest probably will cause more damage to sugarcane than rice.

From Delta Farm Press