In the National News
PARASITOID REGULATORY MOLECULES MAY IMPROVE PEST CONTROL
Australian researchers have published the first-ever comprehensive analysis of the impact of a parasitoid wasp on its host. Larvae of the parasitic wasp, Diadegma semiclausum, that develop inside diamondback moth larvae inject secretions that contain symbiotic viruses that suppress the moth larvae’s immune system and slow metabolism and development. The genes identified in the diamondback moth following parasitization, as well as the parasitoid regulatory molecules, could be used as targets or synthesized chemicals that allow for the control of this pest.
BIOLOGICAL FUNGICIDE FOR SOIL APPLICATION
Becker Underwood has recently released Subtilex NG, a biological fungicide based on the MBI 600 strain of Bacillus subtilis. The product, registered for soil borne pathogens of vegetable crops, does not require special storage or refrigeration because the bacteria produce an endospore that allows it to survive extreme environmental conditions like heat and desiccation. Subtilex NG works by protecting plants from pathogens through root colonization, and by producing a metabolite that destroys fungal pathogens’ cell walls..
NEW PROTEIN DISCOVERED IN ARTHROPOD
Kansas State University biochemists made a discovery about the cuticle of insects that debunks a more than 50-yearold belief about insect exoskeletons. Their research showed that the enzyme chitinase, which breaks down the old skin during molting and long thought to avoid touching the new skin by a physical barrier, is actually prevented from breaking down the new skin by a protein called Knickkopf. This protein is most likely found in all arthropods. This finding could lead the way to new pest control products that target the Knickkopf protein, thus preventing insects from forming new exoskeletons during molting.
USE OF SOUND TO DETECT PEST PRESENCE
Research out of the University of Florida used high tech listening devices to pinpoint the location of the grape root borer on grapevine plants. By following the sound, vineyard growers could target pest control efforts. Researchers elsewhere have used similar technology to detect underground beetles, sugarcane pests, and grain insects in silos. The Florida researchers believe that this study will prove useful to their 22 wineries in dealing with this destructive pest, and could be used for other root boring beetles or caterpillars.
SCHOOL DISTRICTS, CHILDREN BENEFIT FROM IPM
Using IPM to manage pests in schools has returned great results. The Salt Lake City school district has saved $22,000 in pest control per year since implementing IPM. Their pesticide bill in 2010 was $5 for a can of wasp spray. Pest control managers in schools across the country have switched from broad spectrum pesticides to safer options including Vaseline, hoses, mops, flashlights, caulk, and sticky traps. A decade of research has shown that schools that use IPM show a decline in pesticide use as well as pest activity. Funding for school IPM programs has come from a variety of sources, and recently, the EPA has thrown in a $1.5 grant program. Children are more sensitive than adults to pesticides, and the biggest benefit of IPM is their safety.
USING GROUND COVERS IN ORGANIC PRODUCTION
USDA Agricultural Research Service scientists examined how fabric ground covers affect water penetration and nutrient levels in soils where compost or manure has been applied. They found no differences in microbial activity in soil with fabric or polypropylene covers and soil without fabric covers, suggesting that covers on the soil can prevent weeds without hampering soil biological activities.
Useful Publications and Web Sites
• Penn State has released a stink bug monitoring website that provides information about stink bug populations and spread.
• New smart phone apps have been developed to help growers save time and money in the field. Precision Laboratories Mix Tank is an app to determine sprays amounts and gives recommendations for products and mixing. An application called SoilWeb shows the NRCS soil information at your location. AGRIplot is a top rated app to calculate the plot area and distance of a field. Instead of using paper, use the Field Notes app to manage pesticide records. Entomology Dictionary provides definitions of over 4,500 insect terms.
• AgriFoodGateway.com is an agriculture database where growers can access educational information, browse company directories, check market prices, and more.