EPA proposes to protect bees from acutely toxic pesticides

Proposed restrictions will prohibit use where bees are present for commercial pollination

To further support President Obama’s Federal Pollinator Strategy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing additional restrictions on the use of acutely toxic pesticides during times when bees are most likely to be present.

Applications of acutely toxic pesticides would be prohibited when flowers are in bloom when bees are brought to farms for pollination services. While the proposed restrictions focus on managed bees, EPA believes that these measures will also protect native bees and other pollinators that are in and around treatment areas.

EPA will accept public comments on the proposal starting May 29, 2015.

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Warmer weather means more snakes

In Delta Farm Press

by Jessica Tegt, Mississippi State University

Warmer weather means wild creatures of all shapes and sizes are on the move, which makes it a whole lot more likely you will encounter a snake during the spring or summer.

The increased number of snake encounters is mostly due to movement of the reptiles from one seasonal habitat to another. Because snakes are cold-blooded animals, they rely on external sources of heating and cooling, such as the sun or a patch of shade, to regulate their body temperature.

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Small Farm Integrated Pest Management Workshop June 15-16

Alcorn State University, Lorman MS agriculture research and extension program is hosting a workshop on small farm IPM. Continue reading

White House Announces a National Strategy to Promote Pollinator Health

On Tuesday, May 19, the White House announced the National Strategy to Promote Pollinator Health. The strategy released today and its accompanying Pollinator Research Action Plan outline needs and priority actions to better understand pollinator losses, improve pollinator health, and to enhance pollinator habitat.

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APHIS and Canadian Counterparts Clarify Definition of “Field” in Potato Cyst Nematode (PCN) Guidelines

In May 2014, the United States Department of Agriculture-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) revised the “Canada and United States Guidelines on Surveillance and Phytosanitary Actions for the Potato Cyst Nematodes Globodera rostochiensis and Globodera pallida.” The revision enhanced the ability of these countries to prevent the spread of PCN while limiting disruptions to trade.

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High summer losses of honeybees concerns researchers

In Growing Produce

Beekeepers across the U.S. lost more than 40% of their honey bee colonies from April 2014 to April 2015, according to the latest results of an annual nationwide survey led by University of Maryland professor Dennis vanEngelsdorp. While winter loss rates improved slightly compared to last year, summer losses — and consequently, total annual losses — were more severe.

Commercial beekeepers were hit particularly hard by the high rate of summer losses, which outstripped winter losses for the first time in five years, stoking concerns over the long-term trend of poor health in honey bee colonies.

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Sugarcane aphid scouting card available

A laminated Texas sugarcane aphid scouting card is now available through most Extension Agents – IPM and Extension Specialists. The cards are also being distributed at sugarcane aphid extension meetings and field days. The card provides ready reference for scouting techniques, thresholds and shows what approximate numbers of aphids look like on a leaf.

An electronic version of the card is available here.

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EPA’s Managing Pests in Schools Website Updated

As part of EPA’s ongoing effort to build a more user-friendly website, we have transformed our Managing Pests in Schools website into a new, easy-to-use format. Information on school Integrated Pest Management (IPM) should now be easier than ever to access, regardless of the type of electronic device being used, including tablets and smartphones.

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NIFA Requests for AFRI Applications

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is pleased to announce the release of the following Requests for Applications (RFAs).  Please refer to the RFAs for letter of intent deadlines (if requested) and application deadlines.

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative – Food Safety Challenge Area Grant

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative – Agriculture and Natural Resources Science for Climate Variability and Change Challenge Area Grant

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative – Foundational Program Grant

Florida citrus production declines due to citrus greening

In Southeast Farm Press

The 2014-2015 Florida orange crop is estimated to be 96.4 million boxes, according to a May 12 report by USDA. This is 5.6 million boxes less than estimates earlier this year and 8 million boxes less than last year’s production.

Early-mid varieties increased slightly to 47.4 million boxes, while Valencia oranges dipped 6 million boxes to 49 million.

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