Winners of Friends of Southern IPM Award Announced

Winners from four Southern states will be recognized this year as Friends of Southern Integrated Pest Management. For the first time this year, we will award two Ph.D. students.

Lindsy Iglesias and Zachary DeVries tied for the Ph.D. student award. Iglesias, in her final semester at the University of Florida, has been studying the distribution of spotted wing drosophila in the field and testing various tools to help organic growers manage the pest. Her research on distribution led to the discovery that SWD populated mostly around the edges of the field. Subsequent trials have indicated that border sprays in the beginning of the season can reduce SWD populations. Continue reading

Venus flytraps don’t eat insects that pollinate them

by Matt Shipman, NC State University

While most people are familiar with Venus flytraps and their snapping jaws, there is still a lot that scientists don’t know about the biology of these carnivorous plants. Researchers have for the first time discovered which insects pollinate the rare plants in their native habitat – and discovered that the flytraps don’t dine on these pollinator species.

Venus flytraps (Dionaea muscipula) are in a genus all their own, and are native to a relatively small area, restricted to within a 100-mile radius of Wilmington, N.C. Continue reading

Four USDA NIFA funding opportunities

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture Announces Support to Strengthen Hispanic-Serving Institutions

WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2018 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced support for higher education programs in the food, agriculture, natural resources and human sciences (FANH) at Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). Funding is made through the HSI Education Grants Program, which aims to strengthen the ability of the institutions to recruit, retain, train, and develop the next generation of scientists, leaders, and highly-skilled workforce.

The purpose of the HSI Education Grants Program is to encourage innovative teaching or education proposals with the potential to impact institutions that serve underrepresented students. Projects supported by this program attract and support undergraduate and graduate students from underrepresented groups, prepare them for careers related to the FANH sciences in the U.S., and enhance the quality of postsecondary instruction at institutions within these disciplines. Projects also provide opportunities and access to FANH careers in the public and private sector, and align the efforts of HSIs and other non-profit organizations in support of the academic development and career attainment of underrepresented groups. Continue reading

APHIS Establishes Mexican Fruit Fly (Anastrepha ludens) Quarantine in the Encinitas Area of San Diego County, California

Effective December 11, 2017, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) established a Mexican Fruit fly (Mexfly) quarantine in the Encinitas area of San Diego County, California. APHIS is applying safeguarding measures and restrictions on the interstate movement or entry into foreign trade of regulated articles from this area.

Between November 29, 2017, and December 11, 2017, CDFA and San Diego County fruit fly program staff trapped and confirmed five adult Mexflies triggering a 65 square mile quarantine area. APHIS is working with CDFA and the San Diego County Agriculture Commissioner’s office to respond to these detections following program survey, treatment, and quarantine protocols. This action is necessary to prevent the spread of Mexfly to non-infested areas of the United States. Continue reading

APHIS Removes the Mexican Fruit Fly (Anastrepha ludens) Quarantine Area in Laredo, Webb County, Texas

Effective January 7, 2018, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) removed the Mexican fruit fly (Mexfly) quarantine area in the area of Laredo, Webb County, Texas.

On June 7, 2016, APHIS and TDA established a Mexfly quarantine in a residential area of Laredo, Texas, restricting the interstate movement of regulated articles from this area to prevent the spread of Mexican fruit fly to non-infested areas of the United States. Since that time, APHIS has worked cooperatively with TDA to eradicate the transient Mexfly population through various control actions per program protocols. APHIS removed the quarantine area after three Mexfly life-cycles elapsed with negative detections in the area. This removal of the quarantine area is reflected on the following designated website, which contains a description of the current Federal fruit fly quarantine areas:

http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/fruit_flies/quarantine.shtml

UTIA research finds cover crops benefit no-till cotton systems

by Doug Edlund, University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture

It isn’t often that researchers have the luxury to examine data from a long-term research project. While most research projects last from three to five years, scientists with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture recently published a study that covered a 29-year period to find the benefits of cover crops on no-till cotton fields.

After harvesting cotton there is very little residual biomass. Without a crop covering the ground, there is an increased amount of soil exposure that can lead to erosion from winter rains and runoff. Continue reading