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