Kissing bugs and Chagas disease

From the NC State University Plant Disease and Insect Clinic blog

By Matt Bertone, NC State University

News reports out of Texas, and now North Carolina, have been stirring up fears about “deadly” insects and a lesser known, but potentially serious illness: Chagas disease. Most people in the United States have never heard of this malady, yet it affects millions of people every year…in Central and South America.

The vast majority of Chagas disease cases are from rural areas in the New World tropics. Cases in the United States are rare, and most have been diagnosed from people who traveled here from outside the country. In fact there are at present only seven verified cases of natively-infected (termed “autochthonous”) Chagas in the United States since 1955, and none of these was from North Carolina (see Reference 2). To put this in perspective, malaria — a mosquito transmitted protozoan disease often thought of as exotic — has been recorded as autochthonous 63 times since 1957. Continue reading

Expect invaders as weather gets colder

This post was written for Texas Extension specialists; however, the tips included are applicable to people in all states.

With temperatures dropping, many Texas residents likely will be getting some unwanted guests in their homes around the holidays, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service pest management experts.

“This time of year, squirrels, as well as raccoons, will try to make nests in attics,” said Janet Hurley, AgriLife Extension program specialist in integrated pest management, Dallas. “Also several species of ants will nest in the walls of homes for warmth and protection.” Continue reading

What to do now to reduce nematode and disease problems this spring

In Southeast Farm Press

By Bob Kemerait, University of Georgia plant pathologist

Winter months are for many farmers the “off season” for row crop disease management.  This occurs not only because cotton, corn, soybeans, peanuts and most other agronomic crops are out of the field, but also because cold weather and soil temperatures affect the pathogens or disease-causing agents.

Perhaps of greatest interest to growers is the survival of plant-parasitic nematodes, such as the southern root-knot nematodes affecting cotton, corn and soybeans, the renifom nematodes affecting soybeans and cotton and the peanut root-knot nematode.  These nematodes cause significant damage to southern row crops; all feed exclusively on living hosts.  Continue reading

Natural Resources Defense Council publishes report linking cover crops to stronger soil

In Corn and Soybean Digest

As harvest season ends and farmers in the United States ready themselves for winter, one small change could make a huge difference in their soil’s health and the health of our climate-impacted world: planting cover crops.

A report released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) finds cover crops can suck tons of carbon pollution from the air, significantly cut crop losses and prevent the loss of a trillion gallons of water. In fact, planting cover crops on half the corn and soybean acres in the top 10 agricultural states (California, Iowa, Texas, Nebraska, Minnesota, Illinois, Kansas, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Indiana) could sequester  more than 19 million metric tons of carbon annually – the equivalent of taking more than 4 million cars off the road. Continue reading

Cotton entomologist responsible for boll weevil pheromone trap dies

In Delta Farm Press

D.D. “Dick” Hardee, the USDA Agricultural Research Services research entomologist who led the team that developed the boll weevil pheromone trap which helped eradicate the pest from the U.S. Cotton Belt, has died in Greenville, Miss. He was 77.

Dr. Hardee, a native of Snyder, Texas, spent most of his career working in cotton, first as a research entomologist at the USDA-ARS Boll Weevil Research Laboratory at Mississippi State University, then as a crop consultant and as the leader of the Southern Insect Management Research Unit at USDA-ARS’ Jamie Whitten Research facility at Stoneville, Miss. Continue reading

Bed Bugs in Schools – EPA Webinar, December 15

EPA’s Center of Expertise for School Integrated Pest Management (IPM) will host a webinar, “Bed Bugs in Schools,” on December 15 from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m., Eastern Time.

  • This webinar will detail the challenges bed bugs present for schools and review control and management tactics. It will illustrate a working bed bug plan in action and discuss everyone’s role in recognizing and stopping infestations. The webinar will feature:
  • Stephen Kells, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Extension Entomologist, University of Minnesota
  • Marcia Anderson, Ph.D., Environmental Protection Specialist,  EPA Center of Expertise for School IPM
  • Steven Morlino, Executive Director of Facilities, Paterson (New Jersey) Public Schools

Register for the webinar: epawebconferencing.acms.com/sipm_bedbugs/event/registration.html.   Continue reading

Discover How to Support Pollinators with Cover Crops

Cover crops can do a lot for your farm. To learn how they can support a thriving community of pollinators and beneficial insects—which in turn can improve crop quality and yield—check out Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education’s (SARE) new 16-page publication, Cover Cropping for Pollinators and Beneficial Insects. Continue reading