EPA holds 2-day workshop on biological evaluations

On June 29 and 30, 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency and its federal partners, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, and U.S. Department of Agriculture, will hold a two-day workshop. This workshop will offer a forum for stakeholder suggestions for refining some of the interim scientific methods used in the recently released draft Biological Evaluations (BEs) for three pilot chemicals: chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion. These BEs are the first nationwide endangered species risk assessments. They were developed by EPA, FWS, and NMFS (with collaboration from USDA on crop production, use, and geospatial data on agricultural use patterns) in response to the 2013 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report entitled, “Assessing Risks to Endangered and Threatened Species from Pesticides.”   Continue reading

New discovery may improve future mosquito control

by Steve Byrnes, Texas A&M AgriLife

Major rainfall across most of Texas triggering hordes of mosquitos coupled with seemingly constant mosquito-related Zika virus media reports from around the globe may have set the stage perfectly for what one researcher deems as a very significant discovery in man’s war against earth’s leading human disease carrier.

Dr. David Ragsdale, head of the entomology department at Texas A&M University, College Station, credits Dr. Patricia Pietrantonio, a Texas A&M AgriLife Research Fellow in the entomology department at College Station, along with her students and colleagues from other institutions, with discovering a receptor on the legs of mosquitoes that when activated, keeps female mosquitoes from taking a sugar meal and makes them fly away. Continue reading

AgriLife Extension experts: Livestock parasites, pests likely to proliferate due to wet weather

by Paul Schattenberg, Texas A&M AgriLife

Excessive rains in many parts of the state have Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts concerned about the possibility of increased parasite and pest activity with livestock.

“Wet weather creates conditions favorable for parasites to infect animals on pasture,” said Dr. Rick Machen, AgriLife Extension livestock specialist based in Uvalde. Continue reading