Friday, July 3, 2015

Feral Hogs Workshop in Texas

On August 5, 2015 Big Ticket National Preserve in Kountze, Texas will be hosting a free program with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service of Hardin County called Wild Hogs Gone Hog Wild In The Big Thicket.  It will cover everything from how hogs came to the U.S., their behavioral and physiological qualifications for invasiveness, how to safely process them, hunting lands, and more.

Wild pig (Sus scrofa (feral type)) by Craig Hicks,

Source Announcement: Wild Hogs Gone Hog Wild In The Big Thicket
Program Schedule: Wild Hogs Gone Hog Wild In The Big Thicket Program

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Spotted Wing Drosophila Repellent Discovered

Spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) is an invasive fly that feeds on soft-skinned fruits such as blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, cherries, and others.  It was first detected in California in 2008 and has since spread to many states throughout the U.S. While flies are normally attracted to over-ripe fruit, SWD will lay its eggs in the flesh of ripening fruit and the larvae will hatch and consume the fruit through its development into an adult.

Spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) adult on raspberry by Hannah Burrack, North Carolina State University,

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside found that a chemical produced naturally by fruits, Butyl anthranilate (BA), acts as a repellent for the fly.  BA is only produced in small amounts by fruit, by applying a 2.5% solution of BA to blueberries the researchers noted a substantial decrease in the number of larvae and pupae emerging from the fruit.  Nearly complete protection of the fruit was observed at a 10% solution of BA. This means that not only does BA reduce the amount of damage to fruit, but it also reduces the overall population by dissuading SWD from laying eggs.  BA is a commonly used flavor and fragrance ingredient and is generally recognized as safe by the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This chemical could serve as a safe and affordable option for fruit growers in place of other insecticides.

Source Article: Safe repellents that protect fruit from spotted wing Drosophila found
Spotted wing drosophila images: Drosophila suzukii
Spotted wing drosophila BugwoodWiki article: Drosophila suzukii
Spotted wing drosophila distribution map: Drosophila suzukii

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Colorado Releases Biocontrol Agent for Emerald Ash Borer

Oobius agrili is an egg parasitoid wasp native to Asia, the same region as the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis).  The wasp seeks out and lays their eggs in the borers eggs and when the wasp larva hatch, they eat the unhatched borer eggs.  The wasps have been studied and have not been found to affect other, native borers in North America; they specifically seek out emerald ash borer eggs.  The wasps have been released in several northeastern states and have now been released in Colorado.

Oobius agrili parasitizing an emerald ash borer egg on an ash tree by Houping Liu, Michigan State University,
Source Article: Colorado Hopes This Asian Wasp Can Save its Trees
Emerald Ash Borer Bugwood Wiki: Agrilus planipennis
Oobius agrili Images: Oobius agrili
Emerald Ash Borer Distribution Maps: Agrilus planipennis

More Articles:
The invasive emerald ash borer has killed millions of trees, but researchers hope a wasp can save some of the survivors

Biological Control of Emerald Ash Borer


Development of methods for the field evaluation of Oobius agrili (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae) in North America, a newly introduced egg parasitoid of the emerald ash borer (Coleoptera: Buprestidae)

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Everyone on the lookout for spotted lanternfly in PA

Last year, spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) was discovered in Berks county, PA and quickly became the target of eradication efforts.  This year, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is partnering with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and has contributed over $1 million in funding in the Farm Bill for this pest issue.  After discovering the lanternfly, PDA designated the quarantine area and restricted the movement of potential host material to protect surrounding areas.  It especially important to restrict the movement of host material. as the lanternfly moves by walking, jumping, and flying short distances, so large movements are primarily a result of humans moving infested plant materials or objects with egg masses attached.

Not only are the government agencies involved in the effort, but local citizens are volunteering their time to set traps to identify the current range of the lanternfly.  Outreach programs are educating the public on what to look for and the rules/laws of the quarantine.

spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) by Lawrence Barringer, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture,

Source Article: APHIS Partners with Pennsylvania to Fight the Spotted Lanternfly
Spotted Lanternfly Images- Lycorma delicatula

Monday, June 29, 2015

Experimental Biocontrol Agent Released for Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

While the hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae) was introduced to the western U.S. in the 1920s, DNA evidence indicates that the population in the eastern U.S. came from eastern Asia.  The western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) are resistant to their population of adelgid due to the trees similarities to native asian hemlock, but the eastern (Tsuga canadensis) and Carolina (Tsuga caroliniana) hemlocks are more susceptible and can be killed by the infestation.

hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae) by Lorraine Graney, Bartlett Tree Experts,
Researchers found flies native to the western U.S. which are attacking and eating the adelgid.  After ten years of research, the silver flies (Leucopis piniperda and L. argenticollis) were gathered from Washington and released on May 12 in Tennessee and on June 5 in New York under a permit from the USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service.  Most of the flies are confined to infested branches covered by bags, but there are open releases.  While the flies are unlikely to eradicate the adelgids, they may reduce the overall population.

Source Article: Flies released to attack hemlock-killing pest
Hemlock woolly adelgid images: Adelges tsugae Images
Hemlock woolly adelgid Wiki article: Adelges tsugae Wiki
Hemlock woolly adelgid map: Adelges tsugae map
Don't Move Firewood: Adelges tsugae

Friday, June 26, 2015

Island Invasive Species Eradication Database

Did you know that there is an interactive database of invasive species eradications on islands?  The Database of Island Invasive Species Eradications has compiled information worldwide for islands that have eradication programs for invasive species.  You can click on any of the marked islands and a details box will popup and show what the target species are, what stage the program is in (In progress, Successful, or Failed), and the last date of progress update.  Many of the islands off of the U. S. coast have eradicated ungulates (sheep, goats, deer, etc.), rabbits, dogs, cats, and rodents.  You can also search by a few different filters if you are interested in a certain species, place, or eradication status or method.

goat (Capra hircus) by Scott Bauer, USDA Agricultural Research Service,

Check out the Database of Island Invasive Species Eradications

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Consumers willing to pay for sustainably produced palm oil

Palm oil is in a wide variety of products, from food to cosmetics and has also been used as biofuel in the recent years.  Industry's need for more palm plantations contends with habitat for many endangered species, including tigers, elephants, and rhinos.  Researchers evaluated the finances involved in the cost of a major palm plantation devoting land to conservation efforts and the amount of mark-up that consumers are willing to pay for "conservation-grade" palm oil.  Their experiments showed that consumers are willing to pay 15 to 56 percent more, which could induce companies to practice sustainability where government enforcement has failed.

African oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) by William M. Brown Jr.,
Source Article: Palm oil price change could save tigers, other species