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PhD Fellowships Available in Tick Pathogen Discovery

The National Institute for Microbial Forensics and Food and Agricultural Biosecurity (NIMFFAB) and the Center for Veterinary Health Sciences (CVHS) at Oklahoma State University are pleased to announce the availability of two graduate fellowships for highly qualified, motivated graduate students to pursue the PhD degree while completing mentored research in bioinformatics and pathogen discovery. Available projects involve microbiome and transcriptome analysis of ticks using next generation sequencing and novel platform queries to characterize new and emerging tick-borne pathogens of veterinary and public health importance. English fluency and basic programming skills are required; additional training in bioinformatics is recommended.

For more information, contact vbsc@okstate.edu or visit the Graduate College Application page to begin an application. Oklahoma State University is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity.

It’s winter – Do I still have to worry about ticks?

Many people let down their guard for themselves and their pets once November comes because the associate the cold weather with fewer insects. However, when it comes to ticks, winter weather in the southern states often does not get cold enough to kill off the entire population of adult ticks. Therefore, it’s important to continue to protect pets and be vigilant during the winter months.

The National Pest Alert for ticks gives information about the most common tick species in the U.S., along with tick biology, disease symptoms and photographs of ticks in different stages. Colored maps also show where residents might find different tick species. Continue reading

Northeastern IPM Center announces new online videos

The Northeastern IPM Center announces new videos available on its website and YouTube channel. Continue reading

Wasp and Scale Insects Help Control Giant Reed

By Sandra Avant, Agricultural Research Service

The release of tiny insects to combat the invasive weed giant reed is paying off, according to a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) study.

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists released the arundo gall wasp and the arundo scale several years ago as part of a biocontrol program to kill giant reed along Texas’ Rio Grande. The weed, also known as “carrizo cane” and “Spanish reed,” clogs streams and irrigation channels, weakens river banks, stifles native vegetation, affects flood control, reduces wildlife habitat, and impedes law enforcement activities along the international border. Continue reading

Do red imported fire ants have any redeeming qualities?

by Steve Byrnes, Texas A&M AgriLife

Red imported fire ants have earned a justifiably bad rap across the south and most Texans would be hard put to name a single redeeming quality the ants have.

But a team of Texas A&M scientists and a colleague from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge have published a manuscript offering a glimmer of redemption for the invaders. The paper, “Decreased small mammal and on-host tick abundance in association with invasive red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta,” was published in the scientific journal Royal Society Biology Letters on Sept. 21. The work and list of collaborators are available at http://bit.ly/2cDdgWy. Continue reading

Reducing your chances of getting bitten by ticks

Most people know about wearing insect repellent and long pants to prevent getting bitten by ticks, but there are also ways to reduce tick populations in your yards. For instance, making sure that loose leaves are kept to a minimum, treating heavily wooded areas with pesticides meant to kill ticks and mites, and treating some of the animal hosts for ticks are other ways to reduce tick numbers in your yard.

Read Entomology Today to see the detailed suggestions for how to protect yourself from ticks.

Ticks to look out for – by state

Even though nearly all media attention is on mosquitoes this summer, most people fear ticks more. At A Bug Day in Gastonia in May, I talked to several people who weren’t as worried about mosquitoes as they were about ticks. Perhaps that’s because ticks attach to a person and hang on for a while.

If a tick bites you or someone in your family, you’re probably going to go to the doctor’s office. And what is the doctor going to ask? Probably what kind of tick bit you! Each tick transmits a different pathogen, so it’s important to know which species of tick bit you. That will help the doctor determine what to treat you for. Continue reading