NC officials set up pest survey to protect sweet potatoes

Why aren’t sweet potato weevils moving off of the Carolina coast to the plethora of sweet potato farms further inland? That’s what researchers from the NC Department of Agriculture want to find out.

Specialists found the weevil near Carolina Beach in the early 1980s, and since then it has stayed in the area and has not moved toward the state’s coastal plain, where most of the sweet potato fields lie. So researchers are setting out nearly 500 traps to track the weevil population and to see what the weevils are feeding on.

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North Carolina officials keep watch on mosquito populations

In the StarNewsOnline

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A horse in northern New Hanover County tested positive for eastern equine encephalitis last week. Confirmation from the state is still pending, but the horse is likely the third in eastern North Carolina to die from the disease this year.

Marie Hemmen, vector control manager with New Hanover County, said EEE is transmitted by a bog mosquito, the culiseta melanura. Two interns in Hemmen’s office used microscopes to classify the mosquitoes that had been trapped. A mosquito trap set up near the county’s flock of sentinel chickens in Castle Hayne showed a preponderance of melanura mosquitoes. Two chickens from the sentinel flock were infected last week.

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