Artificial Nesting Sites Attract Native Pollinators

from Southern SARE

Artificial nesting sites for pollinators placed in apple orchards have shown to boost native bee populations, according to results of a Georgia Gwinnett College study.

In a Southern SARE-funded On-Farm Research Grant project, researchers focused on nesting sites for mason bees and mining bees – the workhorses of the native bee world when it comes to pollinating apple blossoms. Continue reading

Ragweed can cause problems for soybeans

Ragweed, its pollen potent to allergy sufferers, might be more than a source of sneezes. In the Midwest, the plant may pose a threat to soybean production.

Scientists have found that ragweed can drastically reduce soybean yield. Continue reading

USDA NIFA invests in food safety outreach and education

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has announced awards to provide food safety education for producers and processors affected by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Funding is provided through the NIFA’s Food Safety Outreach Program (FSOP).

“Education and outreach are essential for the continued implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act, as foodborne illness is both a public health problem and a threat to the economic well-being of any food system,” said NIFA Director Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy. “With a multi-layered approach of multi-state, community outreach, and pilot projects, small farmers, wholesalers, and small-scale processors can increase their bottom line while meeting the critical need of food safety in the United States.” Continue reading

Texas A&M scientist is among team to prove royalty among termites

by Steve Byrnes, Texas A&M AgriLife

Termites! Just the insects’ common name can strike fear in the hearts of most any homeowner, but a recently published work could go a long way in quelling some of those fears, said one of the authors.

Dr. Ed Vargo, Endowed Chair in Urban and Structural Entomology at Texas A&M University, College Station, is among a team of scientists who recently published “Identification of a Queen and King Recognition Pheromone in the Subterranean Termite Reticulitermes,” in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/03/15/1721419115 Continue reading

PhD student or a Postdoc position: Invasive wood borers

Join the Forest Entomology team (http://www.ambrosiasymbiosis.org/) at the University of Florida on our quest to discover which of the thousands of wood borer species in exotic jungles have the potential to be the next big invader into American forests. We are looking for passion in areas ranging from molecular ecology to integrative taxonomy to biosecurity regulation, someone who can master the flow of material from a foreign jungle to a DNA sequencer, someone who will love analyzing their data, writing their manuscripts, and strategically posting on social media. Continue reading

APHIS Seeks Comments on Pest Risk Assessment for Ugu Leaves from Nigeria for Consumption

The government of Nigeria has asked USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to authorize the importation of fresh Ugu leaves for consumption into the continental United States.  APHIS has drafted a pest risk assessment that lists potential pests likely to remain on the commodity upon importation if no mitigations are applied.  Continue reading

APHIS Seeks Comments on Pest Risk Assessment for Mangos from Panama for Consumption

The government of Panama has asked USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to authorize the importation of fresh mangos for consumption into the United States.  APHIS has drafted a pest risk assessment that lists potential pests likely to remain on the commodity upon importation if no mitigations are applied.  Continue reading

USDA Provides Almost $70 Million in Fiscal Year 2018 to Protect Agriculture and Plants from Pests and Diseases through the 2014 Farm Bill Section 10007

U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach has announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is allocating almost $70 million from Section 10007 of the 2014 Farm Bill to support 494 projects in 49 states, Guam and Puerto Rico. These projects prevent the introduction or spread of invasive plant pests and diseases that threaten U.S. agriculture and the environment, as well as ensure the availability of a healthy supply of clean plant stock in the United States.

“Through the Farm Bill Section 10007, the USDA strengthens our nation’s ability to safeguard U.S. specialty crops, agriculture, and natural resources by putting innovative ideas into action,” said Under Secretary Ibach. “Getting these funds into the hands of our cooperators around the country helps us to keep U.S. plants, crops, and forests safe from invasive pests and diseases, enhances the marketability of our country’s products, and makes American agriculture and natural resources thrive.” Continue reading

UGA Extension study shows impact of herbicides on pecan trees

By Clint Thompson, University of Georgia

Dicamba and 2,4-D herbicides, sprayed directly on trees at full rates, kill the plant material they touch, but they don’t travel through the tree or linger from year to year, according to a newly released University of Georgia Cooperative Extension pecan study. The study also found that drift from the herbicides does not hurt the trees.

UGA Extension pecan specialist Lenny Wells and UGA Extension weed scientist Eric Prostko researched the effects of low and high concentrations of dicamba and 2,4-D herbicides on pecan trees at the university’s Ponder Farm in Tifton, Georgia. They studied 5-, 8- and 9-year-old ‘Desirable’ pecan trees. No data was collected on older trees. Continue reading

EPA Announces Draft Pesticide Label Revisions on Respirators to Ensure Consistency between EPA and NIOSH

EPA is requesting public comment on revised respirator descriptions for pesticide labels.

EPA is making these revisions, with the encouragement of state regulatory agencies, as part of our efforts to:

  • Bring the respirator descriptions on pesticide labels into conformance with the current National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) respirator language;
  • Ensure that pesticide handlers and their employers have the information they need to identify and buy the respirator required to provide needed protection;
  • Delete outdated statements referring to respirators that no longer exist; and
  • Clarify and update language to ensure easy compliance with the guidance.

Continue reading