Cornell develops the first robotic insect

In Cornell News

Flying insects can perform impressive acrobatic feats, simultaneously sensing and avoiding a striking hand or landing on moving surfaces, such as leaves or flowers blowing in the wind. Similarly, walking insects can display amazing speed, maneuverability, and robustness by rapidly sensing and avoiding predators, while foraging or seeking shelter in small spaces and unstructured terrains.

Silvia Ferrari, Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, with Robert J. Wood (Harvard University), is working toward a future where autonomous, small-scale robots would have similar capabilities, sensing and responding to their environments and maneuvering without human commands. These robots would be particularly invaluable for surveillance or reconnaissance missions in dangerous or remote environments. Continue reading

Cooperative Extension professional hosts pesticide drop-off event

by Catherine Clabby, NC Health News

For most people in farming with a bulging to-do list, rain is a disruptor. Not for Walter Adams this week in Lenoir County, where he hosted a pesticide drop-off event.

Farmers and others were urged to bring unneeded pesticides, herbicides and fungicides to a spot in South Kinston. People expert at safely disposing of the chemicals took them off their hands for free, no questions asked. Continue reading

SARE discusses cover crop survey results tomorrow in webinar

Tomorrow at noon EDT representatives from SARE, Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) and the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) will host a media call following the rollout of the 2017 cover crop survey report. This marks the fifth consecutive year of the national survey which asks farmers about their views and experiences with cover crops.

Join us to hear about key findings from this survey of 2,012 farmers and to participate in a Q&A with survey organizers. Continue reading

Improper mosquito control on livestock can do more harm than good, expert warns

by Steve Byrnes, Texas A&M AgriLife

In an effort to save their livestock from the torment caused by the plague of mosquitoes in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, some producers are making the mistake of misusing chemicals to control the pests, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.

“The results can be potentially disastrous,” said Dr. Sonja Swiger, AgriLife Extension livestock entomologist at Stephenville. “Misuse of potent chemicals can quickly become an example of ‘the cure is worse than the malady,’ not only for the animals being treated but also to the environment. Continue reading

Webinar: Urban Green Spaces and Health

An increasing amount of research has come to demonstrate that trees and green spaces are corner stones for a healthy urban environment. Green spaces support stress relief and recovery from mental fatigue, which contributes substantially to health and well-being.

Click here for more information or to register. Continue reading

Crapemyrtle pest to be targeted by $3.3 million grant to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension

by Kathleen Phillips, Texas A&M AgriLife

The most popular flowering shrub in the U.S. has a new ally in a fight against a new, devastating exotic pest.

A $3.3 million grant will fund the study “Systematic Strategies to Manage Crapemyrtle Bark Scale” to be led by Dr. Mengmeng Gu, associate professor and ornamental horticulturist for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, College Station. Continue reading

Collaring the Mice that Carry Lyme Disease-Causing Ticks

White-footed mice in Howard County, Maryland are being collared as part of a study to improve control of the ticks that spread Lyme disease. The mouse collaring research, never before done in Maryland, is a partnership of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Howard County Department of Recreation & Parks (HCRP), and University of Maryland (UMD).

The mouse tracking is part of a larger five-year ARS Tick Management Project evaluating the use of minimal pesticide or integrated pest management methods to lower the number of black-legged ticks. Some of those ticks carry Lyme disease-causing bacteria and are around single-family yards and gardens adjacent to large Howard County parks. Continue reading