Fungus claims 90 percent of bats in NC mountains

Biologists checking on bats that hibernate in mines and caves in the region were hoping against hope this year that a fungus killing bats in the Northeast might have traveled south without quite the lethal power.

They have been disappointed.

White-nose syndrome has claimed more than 90 percent of bats in three sites around the region, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission announced this week, and has now been found in seven Western North Carolina counties.

Continue reading

IPM advice for soybean growers

by Dominic Reisig, NC State University

There are many management efforts you can take before your soybean seed goes into the ground.

Some of these actions are simply insurance and some of them, like your choice of row-spacing and planting date, are the best insect management decision choice you’ll make all year.

Continue reading

New beetles to battle hemlock pest in Smokies

From the Tennessee Daily Reflector

Biologists will release two new predatory beetle species in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to battle a pest that has devastated hemlock forests.

The park has been using predatory beetles that feed exclusively on hemlock woolly adelgids (uh-DEL’-jidz) since 2002. Biologists hope releasing the two new species will enhance biological control of the invasive pest. Both of the species to be released come from Osaka region in Japan, which is where the adelgid strain in the park originated.

More than a half-million predatory beetles have been released in the Smokies in the last decade. Biologists also control the pest by spraying horticultural oil on trees near roads and injecting systemic insecticides into the soil and stems of hemlocks in the park.

Federal collaboration on honey bees highlights research progress on CCD

Shortly after news of severe bee declines were being reported in 2006, several federal agencies, including USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Office of Pest Management Policy (OPMP), the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) formed a CCD Steering Committee. The Steering Committee requested feedback from a broad range of experts in apiculture on how best to address the problem. The responses culminated in the CCD Action Plan, outlining the main priorities for research and outreach to characterize CCD and develop ways to mitigate losses.

Continue reading