2017 Imported Fire Ant and Invasive Ant Conference is May 16-18

Please save May 16-18, 2017  for the 2017 Imported Fire Ant and Invasive Ant Conference in Mobile AL! 

The meeting starts with an evening reception on Tuesday May 16 and ends sometime Thursday afternoon  May 18.  We will have a 2 hour meeting of the Ant Pests eXtension CoP Immediately  following the conference on Thursday afternoon.

Please bookmark this site so it will be handy:  http://articles.extension.org/pages/19257/imported-fire-ant-and-invasive-pest-ant-conference

UK study helps bats come home to roost—and recover

By Carol Lea Spence, University of Kentucky

Thousands of bats lie, heaped high on cave floors, sometimes as many as 10,000 at one site. Fragile, winged mammals that have succumbed to the ravages of white nose syndrome and dropped, flightless, from their roosts on cave ceilings. Biologists report coming upon this tragic scene and finding, among the piles of tiny corpses, living bats, struggling to survive hibernation by burrowing among the bodies of their colony for residual warmth.

“For those of us who expend our entire career working on them, like I have, it’s pretty heartbreaking,” said Mike Lacki, professor of wildlife ecology and management in the University of Kentucky Department of Forestry. Continue reading

Updated Version of Pesticide Label Review Manual Chapter 1 Now Available

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has updated the Pesticide Label Review Manual (LRM)’s Chapter 1. This manual began as a guide for EPA label reviewers, and now it serves as a tool to assist EPA’s stakeholders in understanding the pesticide labeling process. The LRM is also useful in understanding approaches for how labels should generally be drafted.

Chapter 1 changes include reformatted text, style and layout to improve readability and accessibility. This update is the first in a series of rolling chapter updates to be announced by EPA as they are completed by the Label Review Manual Subcommittee over the coming years.

Please use the Pesticide Labeling Questions & Answers – Form to submit questions or comments on the LRM.

What’s known about target spot in soybeans?

In Delta Farm Press

by David Bennett, Delta Farm Press

Target spot has struck many Mid-South soybean fields this growing season leading to decreased yields. Now on the back end of soybean harvest, growers are asking questions about the fungal disease.

To get some answers, Delta Farm Press spoke with Tom Allen, Mississippi State University plant pathologist, in mid-October. Among Allen’s comments: Continue reading

The truth about organic gardening

by Tim Daly, University of Georgia

Organic gardening has become quite popular among gardeners, but a considerable amount of confusion exists about exactly what it is and what it is not. Organic gardening uses a combination of methods and strategies to produce healthy plants.

It also requires a thorough understanding of the ecological relationships among soil, plants and other organisms in the garden. Contrary to popular belief, organic gardening is neither a method of pest control, nor the avoidance of the use of all chemical pesticides. Continue reading

Neurodevelopmental model of Zika may provide rapid answers

By Charlene Betourney, University of Georgia

A newly published study from researchers working in collaboration with the Regenerative Bioscience Center at the University of Georgia demonstrates fetal death and brain damage in early chick embryos similar to microcephaly — a rare birth defect linked to the Zika virus, now alarming health experts worldwide.

The team, led by Forrest Goodfellow, a graduate student in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, developed a neurodevelopmental chick model that could mimic the effects of Zika on first trimester development. Historically, chick embryos have been extensively used as a model for human biology. Continue reading

Wasp and Scale Insects Help Control Giant Reed

By Sandra Avant, Agricultural Research Service

The release of tiny insects to combat the invasive weed giant reed is paying off, according to a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) study.

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists released the arundo gall wasp and the arundo scale several years ago as part of a biocontrol program to kill giant reed along Texas’ Rio Grande. The weed, also known as “carrizo cane” and “Spanish reed,” clogs streams and irrigation channels, weakens river banks, stifles native vegetation, affects flood control, reduces wildlife habitat, and impedes law enforcement activities along the international border. Continue reading

Assess your disease and nematode management program this fall

In Southeast Farm Press

Bob Kemerait, University of Georgia Plant Pathologist

“What exactly is it you do?” I am asked time and again.  “I am a plant pathologist for the University of Georgia,” I say, which is met with a blank stare until I say, “That is like being a veterinarian for plants.”

In truth, “a veterinarian for plants” may not be the best description. Plant pathologists are less able to heal a single affected plant than they are to protect an entire crop.  I have begun to think of my vocation as more of a “zookeeper,” which is a better moniker for corralling and containing a host of wild beasts like fungi, bacteria, nematodes and viruses.  When these beasts escape, for they are truly cunning, it is my job to work with farmers, Extension agents, consultants, researchers and agricultural industry to put them back in their cages as quickly as possible. Continue reading

Be on the lookout for poisonous insects this fall

NOTE: Although the following article has information for Texas, the puss moth caterpillar, the brown recluse and black widow can be found in various places in the South.

by Janet Hurley, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension

Puss moth caterpillars

Puss caterpillars, AKA Asps have been spotted this season in south Texas! Be on the lookout and be careful if you encounter them.

puss moth caterpillar

puss moth caterpillar

These fuzzy, almost cute, little caterpillars can inflict a nasty sting without provocation. Hidden inside the fuzzy façade, are venomous spines that result in a painful rash or “burn”.  They are not aggressive caterpillars, and stings often occur when individuals accidentally brush up against them, or curious children pick one up to check it out.

Continue reading

Online IPM Resources to assist IPM Professionals with their Programs

by Janet Hurley, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension

In 2014, a number of collaborating institutions led by Dawn Gouge, University of Arizona and Janet Hurley , Texas A&M AgriLife Extension received two separate grants from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide online resources on integrated pest management (IPM) for school personnel. The Stop School Pests team used their grant to focus on education and training for personnel, while Hurley and collaborating scientists created a one-stop online “big box store” of IPM resources, including documents, training, pest ID pamphlets, state legislation and more.

The training website, Stop School Pests (stopschoolpests.org), resulted from a collaboration of 42 people from federal and state agencies, universities, school districts, tribes, advocacy organizations and industry. Together they proposed to build a resource that would increase IPM adoption in K-12 schools and reduce the risks from pests and repeated pesticide use. Continue reading