Citizen Scientists are helping air potato beetle take a bite out of a major weed pest

A citizen science program in Florida is keeping track of how successfully the air potato beetle is keeping air potato in check.

Native to Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, air potato is a member of the yam family. The plant was first identified in the U.S. back in 1777 and spread throughout the Gulf Coast region of the U.S. It is now a problem weed in Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. In both Alabama and Florida, it is listed as a noxious weed. 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

Scientists seek public assistance in tackling rose rosette disease

by Kathleen Phillips, Texas A&M AgriLife

Halfway through a five-year, $4.6 million grant to combat rose rosette disease in the U.S., the national research team studying it is encouraged by the amount of information learned but admits having a way to go before finding how to overcome the deadly problem.

Rose rosette was observed on wild roses as early as the 1940s, but it was not until 2011 that scientists definitively identified the cause as being from a new virus in the novel genus Emaravirus transmitted by the microscopic eriophyid mite, according to Dr. David Byrne. Now the virus is killing commercial rose varieties. Continue reading

University of Kentucky study combines outdoor exercise with tree health observations

by Katie Pratt, University of Kentucky

University of Kentucky researchers are looking for Lexingtonians interested in improving their health while gaining a greater awareness of their natural environment for a six-week research pilot project.

The project, titled “Healthy Trees-Healthy People,” gets participants out into two Lexington parks to walk and assess the health of selected trees. During the study, they will complete a daily log of their physical activity and tree health observations on designated trails at either Kirklevington Park or Harrods Hill Park. Depending on the park, routes are just under a half-mile and a mile. Continue reading

How can we save the pollinators?

Original article with photos at http://oxford.ly/2tsBiw1

Also in The Connection.

by Louise I. Lynch and Doug Golick, Department of Entomology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

An often-cited estimate is that one-third of the food you eat comes from insect pollinators. Many of the fruits and vegetables that you enjoy develop their fruit and seed primarily through insect pollination services. Other sometimes overlooked benefits of pollinators are the ecological services that they provide. For example, insects pollinate many plants that provide erosion control, keeping our waterways clean. Ground-nesting bees, meanwhile, can help aerate and mix soil. And yet another benefit is simply the aesthetic beauty that many pollinators have. Striking swallowtail butterflies, bustling orange-tailed bumble bees, rubicund milkweed beetles, and metallic green sweat bees beautify our landscape. Can you imagine a world without these creatures? Continue reading

Bee a volunteer to help pollinators – in North Carolina

Are you concerned about the decline of pollinators but not sure how to help?

Do you like being outside?

Do you want to learn how to identify pollinators? Do you want to learn about native plants?

Then come volunteer at the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh, NC, this spring and summer! Continue reading

A Tree’s Life: Easy Citizen Science for Healthier Trees

by Dee Shore, NC State University

Red maple trees have important jobs to do – and so could you, if you happen to have one in your yard and just a few minutes to spare each year.

Through a new project called A Tree’s Life, NC State University researchers hope to recruit 250 people to help them learn more about how trees grow in cities compared to rural areas and suburbs. Continue reading