USDA Announces $7.2 Million for Research on Plant-Biotic Interactions

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced 10 grants totaling $7.2 million for research on the interactions of plants, microbes, and invertebrates. This is the first round of grants awarded through the Plant-Biotic Interactions program, a joint funding opportunity established through a partnership between NIFA and the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NIFA funding is made possible through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“The research to be supported by these grants will help reveal the mechanisms that govern how plants interact with the world around them,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “The expectation is that NIFA investments will result in tools for growers to help plants thrive in the face of pest and environmental constraints, along with other challenges.”  Continue reading

Management of honey bee colonies may contribute to Varroa populations, study shows

Close proximity of honey bee colonies may contribute to Varroa population growth and virus transmission, according to an article recently published in Environmental Entomology. Varroa just detach from their current host and hitch a ride to another colony on a visiting foraging bee.

Varroa mites don’t reproduce very fast. A female mite will produce one to three offspring; infestations take several years to reach levels that would threaten the hive. However, in managed honey bee colonies, varroa populations increase rapidly, causing beekeepers to apply up to seven miticide applications per year. Continue reading

NIFA Seeking Nominations

USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is seeking nominations for two of its award programs. Continue reading

National School IPM Committee looking for feedback

The School IPM National Steering Committee is asking members of school IPM working groups, or anyone who works with a regional school IPM working group to participate in a survey about priorities and group presentations. Please see the information below. Continue reading

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

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