NCSU Transition Team for Methyl Bromide helps growers maintain yields while improving the ozone layer

A group of extension specialists at NC State University have helped growers use integrated pest management to transition away from a toxic fumigant while maintaining their yields. Decreased use of the fumigant has had positive environmental consequences as well: the decreased use has led to lower bromine levels in the atmosphere, accounting for one-third of the measured decrease in ozone depleting halogens above the Antarctica.

The transition away from the pesticide methyl bromide began in 2005, in response to scientific data linking it to decreasing ozone levels in the atmosphere. Developed countries banned methyl bromide under the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty signed in 1987 to protect the stratospheric ozone layer. In the United States, the USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture devised a funding mechanism to help scientists gradually wean farmers away from methyl bromide use. Each year, scientists would apply for “critical use exemptions” to specify how much methyl bromide they felt farmers in their state would need while they searched for alternatives. The funding mechanism was called the “Methyl Bromide Alternatives Program.” Continue reading

NC State Center for IPM Leader Receives State Entomology Award

Karl Suiter and Heather Moylett, NC Entomology Society Chair

NSF Center for Integrated Pest Management Associate Director Karl Suiter received the 2017 Outstanding Contributions to Entomology Award from the North Carolina Entomology Society last week during their annual meeting.

Dr. Suiter leads several teams of scientists and programmers who develop products for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service plant protection and quarantine (APHIS-PPQ) program. An entomologist by trade, Dr. Suiter is highly skilled in implementing custom IT solutions that support regulatory decision making, data warehousing and information sharing. His entomology expertise helps him link biology to information technology to design practical tools for pest prevention and pest management. He has been with the Center since 2003. Continue reading

Climate’s Effects on Flowers Critical for Bumble Bees

by Mick Kulikowski, NC State University

In a study that shows the importance of climate change on critical pollinators, North Carolina State University researchers found that earlier and longer flowering seasons can have poor effects on the bumble bees that rely on these flowers to live and thrive.

“We wanted to understand how climate change is affecting bee populations – specifically three species of bumble bees that live at higher altitudes and are important pollinators,” said Rebecca Irwin, an NC State professor of applied ecology and co-principal investigator on the study, which is published in the journal Ecology Letters. “We asked whether variation in snowmelt timing and summer precipitation directly affected bumble bee colonies and their survival, or if the snowmelt and precipitation effects on flowers were more important. It turns out that the effects on flowers played a more critical role in affecting bee populations.” Continue reading

ProNR Forest Management Series Webinar: Green Value, A tool for simplified financial analysis of forest-based initiatives

Title: ProNR Forest Management Series Webinar: Green Value, A tool for simplified financial analysis of forest-based initiatives

What will you learn?

Introducing Green Value, a tool being adapted for use in the USA by its developers, the Earth Innovation Institute (EII) and the USDA Forest Service. Dr. Shoana Humprhies and Dr. Thomas Holmes will introduce webinar participants to this tool designed to support the needs of family forestland owners and conservation land managers. It will also be of benefit to consultants or agency personnel assisting private landowners. learn more here… Continue reading

NC State study finds Triangle bees can’t stand the heat

In the News and Observer

On a hot summer day, urban areas of the Triangle can be up to five degrees warmer than surrounding rural locations, and the temperature gap grows after the sun sets, as acres of pavement, concrete and steel emit heat absorbed during the day.

The phenomenon is known as the “urban heat island” effect, and a recent N.C. State University study shows that many of North Carolina’s native bee species keep away from hot, urban areas. The study also offers a glimpse at how bees might be affected by rising temperatures due to climate change. Continue reading

NC State University leading national initiative on cover crops

In Southeast Farm Press

Scientists from North Carolina State University are joining with others across the country to promote soil health by developing and helping farmers adopt new cover crops.

Made possible by a $2.2 million grant from Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, the new $6.6 million research initiative aims to “to get new cover crop solutions into the hands of those who use them or will be using them,” according to Twain Butler, a research agronomist with the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation who is leading the project. Continue reading

NC State project aims for better cover crops

by Dee Shore, NC State University

Scientists from NC State University are joining with others across the country to promote soil health by developing and helping farmers adopt new cover crops.

Made possible by a $2.2 million grant from Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, the new $6.6 million research initiative aims “to get new cover crop solutions into the hands of those who use them or will be using them,” according to Twain Butler, a research agronomist with the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation who is leading the project. Continue reading