Research indicates new hosts for two major plant diseases

The Plant Management Network highlights two research projects this month that have uncovered new possible hosts for two deadly forest diseases: laurel wilt and Phytophthora ramorum.

Vectored by the redbay ambrosia beetle, laurel wilt attacks species in the Lauraceae family, causing death within a few years. Recently, scientists tested Persea indica, a tree species native to the Madeira and Canary Islands, for its attractiveness to the redbay ambrosia beetle. The beetle preferred P. indica over Persea borbonia (redbay), its primary host in the U.S.

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Irrigation pathways and water quality webinar series

Crop health, agricultural water security and environmental footprint are three interconnected sustainability issues of national significance. This webinar series presents the latest research data that are crucial to address these complex issues. Specifically, this series will focus on irrigation pathogens and recycled water quality. Major topics include: why is capture and reuse of surface runoff important to secure an adequate supply of quality irrigation water while reducing nonpoint source pollution? How may this practice potentially impact water quality, recycle and spread destructive pathogens? What are the major steps and current technologies to address these problems and how to make the most out of water treatment dollars? How to design and build an irrigation system that recycles water but not pathogens? What are the other long-term solutions?

Time for all webinars will be 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm Eastern Time. Meeting space for all webinars will be For the schedule of topics and a list of presenters, go to the webinar web page.

Beneficial Fungi Examined for Battle against Destructive Beetles

In ARS News

An experimental foam containing insect-killing fungi is being tested by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists in the fight against ambrosia beetles, wood-boring pests that threaten the nation’s $322 million avocado crop.

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DNA Analysis Finds New Diamondback Moth Species in Australia

Entomology Today

The tiny diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) gets its common name from the array of diamond shapes along the margin of its forewing. Despite their diminutive size, the caterpillars of the diamondback moth exert tremendous damage on many crops including cabbage, broccoli, and crucifers at large. More than $1 billion is spent globally each year in efforts to control damage by this moth, reflecting its amazing capacity to evolve resistance to both insecticides and biological control agents.

A global study of DNA barcodes by two Canadian entomologists revealed unexpected complexity: the occurrence of two distinct species among Australian diamondback moths. One of them is the well-known diamondback pest which is found nearly everywhere. The other is a new species, named Plutella australiana by Dr. Jean-François Landry of the Canadian National Collection in Ottawa and Dr. Paul Hebert of the University of Guelph, Ontario, the authors of the study. Their…

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Video Profile of the Asparagus Miner Fly

Entomology Today

This video by Rob Morrison, a Ph.D student at Michigan State University, profiles the asparagus miner, a stem-mining fly that attacks newly planted asparagus fields and can vector disease-causing fungi which can shorten the lifespan of an asparagus field by five to eight years.

This video was submitted to the Outreach Category for the 2013 ESA YouTube Your Entomology contest.

Watch the video below:

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Steer clear of exotic invasives at garden centers

I know some of you may be wondering why I would imply that a garden center would sell a plant that may be on some of the “most wanted invasives” lists because they hurt native vegetation and tend to run rampant. However, if you’ve ever seen mimosa trees, you know they have pretty, feathery pink flowers, and many homeowners love them. Privet is often sold to create a hedge (and boy, does it ever), and many invasive flowers are fast-spreading and showy, two qualities that customers are looking for in a front-yard planting.

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