New coating method may protect seeds from insect damage

In ETH Zurich

By:  Peter Rüegg

Don’t eat the core, it’s poisonous: it’s something parents often say to their children before they eat their first peach. Peach pits, which are hidden inside the nut-like husk, do in fact contain amygdalin, a substance which can degrade into hydrogen cyanide in the stomach.

But peaches, apricots and almonds didn’t develop this defense system to keep children from enjoying their fruit. It is actually nature’s way of protecting plant seeds from being eaten by insects. Continue reading

ARS researchers find that honey bees may carry Varroa mites into other hives

In ARS news

By Jan Suszkiw, USDA Agricultural Research Service

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists are hot on the trail of a honey bee killer, and their detective work has taken them from hives in Tucson, Arizona, to those in Bismarck, North Dakota.

Led by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) supervisory research entomologist Gloria DeGrandi-Hoffman, the team is staking out the entrances of victimized hives, eyeing the comings and goings of foraging honey bees that they suspect may be unwitting accomplices. Continue reading

Whitefly control in the greenhouse

by Heidi Wollaeger, and Dave Smitley, Michigan State University Extension

Recently, there have been reports from the University of Florida that there are now established populations of insecticide resistant sweet potato whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) in Palm Beach County, Florida. There are two major biotypes (identical genetic “strains”) of whitefly: B and Q. The B biotype of whitefly has been in the United States for over 30 years, while the Q biotype only became a problem in the United States within the last 10 years. The Q biotype is much more resistant to conventional control compared with the B biotype. The Q biotype has been found in cotton fields for many years though, and their presence in the whitefly population has come and gone over the years. A very high level of insecticide use is needed for the Q biotype to become dominant. The B biotype usually outcompetes the Q biotype and it still remains the dominant pest whitefly of greenhouse plants. Continue reading

Fall armyworms are a problem in Alabama

In Southeast Farm Press

by Maggie Lawrence, Alabama Cooperative Extension System

Fall armyworms were found in millet in early June in western Mobile County, Ala. Armyworm caterpillars are detrimental to cattlemen and forage producers. The damage can seem to appear overnight.

Dr. Kathy Flanders, an Alabama Cooperative Extension System entomologist, said a fall armyworm caterpillar eats the most within its last feeding stage. Continue reading