APHIS Removes the Oriental Fruit Fly (Bactrocera dorsalis) Quarantine Area in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California

Effective January 17, 2018, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) removed the Oriental Fruit Fly (OFF) quarantine area in the Los Angeles area of Los Angeles County, California. Continue reading

UK researchers to study pollinator food availability on farmland

by Katie Pratt, University of Kentucky

Pollinators are extremely important to agriculture, accounting for one in every three bites of food, but their populations have been declining worldwide for a number of years. In a new study, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment researchers are evaluating how food availability on farmland impacts bee communities in early spring.

“Managing corn and soybean fields in a way that provides food for pollinators early in the spring could be beneficial to bee communities,” said Clare Rittschof, UK assistant professor in the Department of Entomology and leader of the project. “The goal of this project is to help producers improve pollinator populations on their land by providing an attractive and nutritious food source for them.” Continue reading

Biological Sciences Technician for Emerald Ash Borer Biological Control Facility

Emerald Ash Borer Biological Control Rearing Facility is looking for a biological sciences technician to support research on emerald ash borer and the natural enemies (parasitoid wasps) that are being reared for release to control this invasive insect.  Research will concentrate on three areas: optimizing rearing production, production of EAB eggs and natural enemies to support field research, and evaluating the establishment of natural enemies throughout the U.S. The position will involve mostly laboratory work but will include trips to the field to collect ash logs and foliage for feeding the beetles. The incumbent will work at the EAB Biocontrol Laboratory in Brighton, MI, but this position is administered by North Carolina State University under a cooperative agreement.

The position is expected to be filled for several years at approximately $41,000 per year.  The incumbent will do the following:

1)     Assist the Emerald Ash Borer Rearing facility in producing EAB natural enemies and EAB eggs for use by researchers in the field.  This will include all aspects of rearing (e.g. rearing EAB adults and collecting eggs, cutting logs, infesting logs with eggs, caring for the natural enemy colonies, etc.).

2)     Process yellow pan trap samples collected by cooperators throughout the country. The incumbent will receive and record yellow pan trap samples and store them for future processing.  The incumbent will learn how to identify EAB natural enemies, go through the samples and collect all suspect EAB natural enemies, and ship potential specimens for positive identification.

3)     Conduct rearing studies to optimize storage of parasitoids. These studies will be designed by an APHIS Science and Technology scientist and the EAB Rearing Facility director. The incumbent will follow experimental protocols and collect and summarize data.

Please send an email with a cover letter and resume to Benjamin.h.slager@aphis.usda.gov

If they have questions about the position they can contact Ben at 810-844-2704.

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture Invests in Exploratory Research

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today awarded grants to support the initial development of innovative ideas in agriculture and food production through the Exploratory Research Grants (ERG) program. Funding is made possible through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

The ERG program fosters the creation of transformative innovations that address plant and animal health and production, food safety and nutrition, bioenergy, natural resources and environment, agriculture systems, technology, agricultural economics and rural communities. AFRI is America’s flagship competitive grants program for foundational and translational research, education, and extension projects in the food and agricultural sciences. Continue reading

Let the March Madness BMSB Citizen Science Project Begin!

Project Description: Land grant university and USDA Entomologists are teaming up to determine the location and population density of a newly invasive insect, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, Halyomorpha halys (BMSB) in the United States. ‘Updated map of BMSB in the US’

Representative elementary schools in each of the 48 continental United States are receiving this invitation to participate in the ‘March Madness Citizen Science Project to ‘Find Stinky the BMSB’. Continue reading

Are bed bugs worse than we thought?

Written By: Dr. Mike Merchant, Urban Entomologist and Professor, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension

Bed bugs are trouble. They drink our blood. They soil our homes with their feces and cast skins. They keep us awake at night and add stress to our already stressed out lives. And they’re revolting to most people.

Until now, if there was one positive thing that could be said about bed bugs, it might be that they haven’t been found to carry communicable disease. The impact of bed bugs seemed mainly to come down to sleepless nights and the economic sting of pest control expenses. Continue reading

Identify pests before applying pesticides

by Amanda Tedrow, University of Georgia

Pesticides, which include insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and more, can contain organic or conventional ingredients. People use them in homes and workplaces, on farms and in gardens, and in other places where they want to control pests like weeds, insects, fungi, rodents and plant viruses.

University of Georgia Cooperative Extension urges all Georgians to learn more about the safe use, storage and disposal of pesticides. The UGA Extension Pesticide Safety Education Program promotes the safe, responsible use of pesticides by individuals and commercial groups by providing training programs, materials and educational resources that cover pest identification, personal safety, safe storage and safe disposal of pesticides. Continue reading