Utah Pests News Winter 2008-09

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IPM National News

European Countries Banning Neonicotinoid Pesticides

Germany, Slovenia, Italy, and France have banned several neonicotinoid pesticides used for seed treatment based on evidence that they are suspected in honey bee decline.  Britains are asking their government to take similar action.

The pesticides–imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, and clothianidin–are used as seed treatments for various plants including rapeseed and sweet corn.  No research has shown direct links, but there are reports in Europe of millions of honey bee deaths since 2003 when clothianidin was released by Bayer CropScience.

Farmers Markets Grow

There were 4,685 farmers markets in the U.S. in summer 2008, a 7 percent increase over 2006, according to USDA Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS) statistics. 

AMS provides a database of local farmers markets at: http://apps.ams.usda.gov/FarmersMarkets/.  The agency also conducts research on farmers market trends in operations and practices and publishes reference materials for vendors, managers, and the general public.

Fungus Aids in Control of Post-Harvest Pests

Entomologists at Agriculture Research Service in Washington showed that the fungus Muscodor albus has the potential for biofumigation of several post-harvest pests.  The fungus emits a cocktail of gases that, in an enclosed environment, kills several insects, including codling moth, potato tuber moth, and others.

Codling moth is a primary pest of apple, chewing through the fruit to feed on the seeds.  Apples bound for foreign markets are typically chemically fumigated to kill eggs and small larvae on the apple skin.  More work is needed for the fungus’ efficacy, but its use in apple cartons over a 14-day period resulted in 100% mortality.

Newly Discovered Walnut Disease Found in Washington

Thousand cankers disease, previously only known to occur in Colorado, Utah, and Oregon, was identified in summer 2008 in Prosser, Washington.

Recently, pathologists at Colorado State University identified the insect-fungus complex that has been killing walnuts in Colorado, Utah, and Idaho.  The insect, walnut twig beetle, spreads the canker-causing fungus, Geosmithia, at feeding sites below the bark.  Because the insect can attack walnut trees by the hundreds, introducing the virulent pathogen with each entry, the disease complex was named thousand cankers disease.

 Useful Web Sites and Publications

 Web Sites

    • www.thelandlovers.org: a new Web site sponsored by multiple organizations that raises awareness of green industry careers to junior and high school students.
    • www.wateractionguide.com: provides information for green industry professionals to address local and regional water use issues.
    • farm-risk-plans.usda.gov: a new Web site produced by USDA’s Risk Management Agency that helps farmers improve their risk management skills. 
    • weedid.wisc.edu/: an interactive weed identification tool produced by the University of Wisconsin.
    • www.prevalentfungi.org: created by the University of Georgia, and provides listings of pathogenic fungi via a national clickable map.
    • www.aphis.usda.gov/emergency_response: an emergency preparedness and response tool, with a section on plant health emergency and pest watch updates.

New Publications Available

    • Organic Materials Compliance,” published by the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, is an online guide that provides three basic steps to ensure that material use is compliant with organic standards and certification.  Access it here.
    • The expanded second edition of Compendium of Onion and Garlic Diseases and Pests has been recently released by the American Phytopathological Society, containing over 200 color images.
    • Integrated Pest Management for Strawberries, 2nd edition, is the newest IPM manual published by University of California ANR.  It helps growers and managers recognize pest problems and how to implement IPM methods for control.
    • A “Resource Guide for Organic Insect and Disease Management,” published by Cornell University, can be accessed by clicking here.
    • Organic Field Guide” is an online pictorial field guide to organic IPM, broken into five parts: beneficials, insect pests, diseases, weeds, and vertebrate pests.  Access it here.