European study shows various results with neonic-honey bee interactions

A study in Europe that tested bee health in neonicotinoid treated fields had different results in two countries, supporting previous statements that bee declines are the result of multiple factors.

The study, which was the largest field study ever conducted on bees and neonics, was featured in Science this past week. Scientists monitored bees in 33 locations in the United Kingdom, Germany and Hungary. Bees in each location were in canola fields, some of which had been treated with neonics and fungicides and others that were treated only with fungicides. Continue reading

Please help with school nurse online survey

The Northeast School IPM Working Group has received a grant to provide school nurses throughout the 12 northeastern states and DC with tools, information and training designed to aid in prevention and management of health-risk pests on school properties. This project is endorsed by the National Association of School Nurses. Please forward the message below to your school nurses inviting them to complete a brief survey about pest issues and concerns. The results of the survey will be used to ensure that resulting materials and information are relevant and helpful to you and your schools. If you have any questions please contact the project coordinator, Dr. Kathy Murray at kathy.murray@maine.gov or 207-287-7616. Complete the survey by clicking here or by pasting this URL into your browser: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PZVGDBF. Thank you so much! Continue reading

Establishment of more invasive species a concern for UGA experts

By Sharon Dowdy, Clint Thompson, University of Georgia

Over the next 10 years, the number of cargo containers operating out of the Port of Savannah, Georgia, is expected to double. While additional cargo means increased revenue for the state, Chuck Bargeron, associate director of the University of Georgia Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health, is concerned it could also lead to the establishment of more invasive species.

The center has identified more than 2,900 different species of wildlife, plants and insects that are present in, but not native to, North America. Many of those species come from Asia, where the ships that deliver cargo to the Port of Savannah originate. Continue reading

Phragmites scale attacking Louisiana Roseau cane

In Delta Farm Press

A team of 16 scientists and students led by the LSU AgCenter conducted a survey on May 31 to collect samples of a small insect that’s a potential threat to the fragile marsh of lower Plaquemines Parish, La.

The tiny insect, the Phragmites scale, is attacking Roseau cane, a plant similar to bamboo with a dense network of roots that hold marsh soil together. Continue reading

NIFA Seeks Partners for SARE National Coordinating Office and Regional Hosts

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced a new competitive opportunity to serve as the National Reporting, Coordination and Communications Office or as one of the four regional Host Institutions for the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program (SARE).

SARE’s four regions offer competitive grants for farmers and ranchers, researchers, agricultural educators, and graduate students in the United States. Grants invest in applied research and education on the core components of sustainable agriculture: productivity, profitability, environmental stewardship and quality of life. In particular, research and outreach projects seek to increase knowledge of sustainable agricultural production systems that increase employment opportunities and profitability in agriculture; maintain soil quality, conserve water, natural resources, and wildlife habitat; preserve the quality of surface and ground water; protect the health and safety of people involved in the food and farm system; and promote the well-being of farm animals. Continue reading

USDA Invests $7.6 Million for Research on Pests and Beneficial Species

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced 21 grants totaling $7.6 million for research to help manage pests and beneficial species that affect agricultural crops. The funding is made possible through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“There continues to be a critical need to develop new ways to defend our crops against pests,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “NIFA investments will also help to develop better strategies to foster the beneficial insects and microbes that have potential to combat pests.” Continue reading

University of Kentucky study combines outdoor exercise with tree health observations

by Katie Pratt, University of Kentucky

University of Kentucky researchers are looking for Lexingtonians interested in improving their health while gaining a greater awareness of their natural environment for a six-week research pilot project.

The project, titled “Healthy Trees-Healthy People,” gets participants out into two Lexington parks to walk and assess the health of selected trees. During the study, they will complete a daily log of their physical activity and tree health observations on designated trails at either Kirklevington Park or Harrods Hill Park. Depending on the park, routes are just under a half-mile and a mile. Continue reading