The war on the boll weevil

by Dominic Reisig, NC State University

In NC State University News

The boll weevil (Anthonomus grandis) is not much to look at – just a grayish, little beetle with an impressively long snout. But this particular beetle, and its hunger for cotton, was powerful enough to forge an unprecedented partnership between farmers, legislators and scientists. And that partnership showed how much can be accomplished when scientists and farmers work together.

What adult boll weevils lack in size they make up for with their larvae’s ability to feed on and destroy cotton. Boll weevils entered the U.S. from Mexico in the late 1800s, when they were first spotted in Texas. By the 1920s they had spread through all of the major cotton-producing areas in the country. The scope of the damage was breathtaking, as were the control efforts thrown at this insect: at one time, one-third of the insecticide used in the U.S. was used to combat boll weevils. Continue reading

‘Going Green’ with Stink Bug Control

In USDA Agricultural Research Service news

By Dennis O’Brien

A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entomologist has found “green” alternatives to insecticides to control three native stink bugs that damage cotton, and the new methods are catching on with growers.

The green stink bug (Chinavia hilaris), southern green stink bug (Nezara viridula), and brown stink bug (Euschistus servus) are a particular problem in the southeastern United States, because cotton is often grown alongside peanuts. Brown and southern green stink bugs develop in peanut fields and migrate into cotton. Green stink bugs move into cotton from nearby wooded areas. Continue reading

An experimental trap lures away male psyllids before they can mate

In ARS News

By Jan Suszkiw

An acoustic trap developed by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists may offer an environmentally friendly way to control Asian citrus psyllids, gnat-sized insect pests that transmit Huanglongbing, a devastating citrus disease also known as “citrus greening.”

Infected citrus trees cannot be cured and often die within several years. Until such time, they may bear green, misshapen fruit with acidic-tasting juice, making the fruit unmarketable. Continue reading

New, more effective bed bug trap may be coming this year

Traps with a new blend of bed bug attractant may be on the market sometime this year. Better yet, the total chemical cost may make them affordable.

Just last month, researchers at Simon Fraser University announced that they had discovered a new blend of chemicals to attract bed bugs to a trap. For years scientists have been searching for a blend of pheromones to use in a bed bug trap to help control bed bugs. Pheromones are chemicals that animals release to communicate with other members of the same species; they are used mainly to find and attract mates.

Continue reading