Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Friends of Integrated Pest Management Award Nominations still open!

The Southern IPM Center still has it's Friends of IPM Award Nominations open.  The program recognizes outstanding work in IPM in the southern region. We have two kinds of awards: one for IPM professionals and one for graduate students.

Deadline for nominations is Friday, December 18, 2015.
You'll find the Calls for Nomination for these awards, along with cover forms, at . Click on the nomination call that you wish to use to get to the Call documents and the nomination form. You will be using our Proposal / Project Management System (PPMS) to submit your nominations this year, so please be sure to find the instructions for that in the Call for Nomination and follow the steps. 
Professional awards:
There are 6 categories of awards: 
  • Bright Idea (research-oriented or new idea)
  • IPM Implementer (on the ground)
  • IPM Educator (extension or teacher)
  • Pulling Together (group)
  • Future Leader (young professional)
  • Lifetime Achievement (seasoned professional). 
The award is open to anyone in the region demonstrating excellence in the field of IPM. In fact, they welcome the opportunity to recognize those outside of the university setting, such as growers, school IPM coordinators, teachers, etc. 
Award winners will be publicly recognized at an event of their choice.
The Call for Nominations for the professional awards is at .
Graduate Student awards:
The Friends of Southern IPM graduate student award will go to two graduate students: one Masters student and one Ph.D. student.
The graduate student award, in addition to a public presentation of the award, comes with a sizable monetary award. The winning Masters student receives $2,000, and the winning doctoral student receives $3,000. All winners—including in the professional category—must assist with a story about their work or conduct a webinar before receiving the financial award. Please read the Call for Nominations for more information.
This year, each department can nominate UP TO 3 Masters students and UP TO 3 Ph.D. students. Each department can submit up to six nominations, and universities can submit from more than one department (I.e., entomology, plant pathology, weed science, horticulture, etc. departments can submit from the same university).
The Call for Nominations for the graduate student awards is at .
Nominations for both award programs consist of a cover form and a two-page written nomination. Additional materials may be submitted in support of the nomination but are not necessary. The bulk of the description and evidence of the person’s or group’s qualifications of the award should be in the two-page nomination, NOT in the additional materials.
Please share this notice with anyone you work with who may wish to nominate someone for either of these awards.

If you have any questions about either of these awards, or you have trouble navigating the PPMS system, please direct them to Henry Fadamiro at or 334-844-5098 or Rosemary Hallberg at or 919-513-8182.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Western Weed Summit Takes Aim at Invasive Plants

Western Weed Summit Takes Aim at Invasive Plants

Finding a way to stop fire-prone cheatgrass and other invasive species is unavoidable if sagebrush ecosystems in the West are to remain viable for native plants and animals, experts say.

More than 200 federal and state land managers and scientists trying to figure out how to do that took part in the three-day 2015 Western Invasive Weed Summit that wrapped up Thursday in Boise.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Nine Wildlife Species Affected by Climate Change

A great article on the U.S. Department of the Interior blog on wildlife species affected by climate change. 

Here is what they say, "Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. We are already seeing its effects with rising seas, catastrophic wildfires and water shortages. These changes are not only having a dramatic impact on diverse ecosystems but also on the wildlife that call these places home. Here are 9 species that are already being affected by climate change.

If we don’t act on climate now, this list is just the tip of the iceberg of what we can expect in years to come. Future generations shouldn’t just see these animals in history books -- we owe it to them to protect these creatures and their habitats."

Moose, Alces alces
Alfred Viola, Northeastern University,

Friday, November 13, 2015

Lucid Mobile Apps Receive Updates

The team that brought you the Grasshoppers of the Western U.S. app has a new announcement. See below:

"In the fall of 2013, the ITP team (USDA/APHIS) released its first suite of Lucid Mobile apps. These apps were based on Lucid keys contained within 10 of ITP’s webbased identification tools ( The 10 apps were made available, via the Google Play Store, for Android mobile devices. In the spring of 2014, the 10 apps were made available for iPhones at the iTunes App Store.
In 2015, the Android and iOS apps received a signficant update to enhance the apps functionality for users.

Each of the 10 apps now has a custom-designed landing page to support easy access to the key(s) and the various types of content offered in the app. The apps have been updated to the latest Lucid Mobile Player, offering users a number of new features such as searchable/filterable lists and differences.

All 10 of the iOS apps are now universal apps, meaning that they are designed to run natively at a higher resolution on iPads. When you download the app from the iTunes App Store, you receive both the iPhone and iPad versions.

Lucid Mobile takes full advantage of all the conventions and functionalities to which mobile device users are accustomed, while supporting the valuable features of desktop Lucid keys. You can now carry Lucid keys with you into the field for screening and identification on your mobile devices without requiring internet access. To download ITP’s apps onto your iPhone, iPad, or Android mobile devices, or to update the apps you have previously downloaded, visit:

For questions or comments about ITP’s mobile apps,
contact the ITP team ("

Grasshoppers of the Western U.S.

Need to identify a grasshopper in the Western U.S? Well now there’s an app for that.

The ITP team (USDA/APHIS) has released a new Lucid Mobile app, Grasshoppers of the Western U.S. The app was developed with the cooperation of Australia's Identic team based on ITP's recently released web-based tool, Grasshoppers of the Western U.S., Edition 4

Grasshoppers of the Western U.S. app has 'keys' to identify grasshoppers in adult and pre-adult stages. The keys setup to be user friendly for citizen scientists to expert entomologists.

76 species of adult grasshoppers are identifiable in the family Acrididae and one in the family of Romaleidae. 

Grasshoppers of the Western U.S. Lucid Mobile app is available at no cost for the iPhone, iPad, and Android mobile devices.

View ITP apps at the following sites. 

Search for New Director of Western IPM Center

The University of California's Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) department is in pursuit of filling the Director, Western Integrated Pest Management Center (Academic Coordinator III) position.

According to UC ANR, they are "seeking a Director to assume leadership for its Western IPM Center (WIPMC) within the UC Statewide IPM Program." The director will be responsible for the WIPMC staff as well as managing the operations of WIPMC.

Other responsibilities will include communication with WIPMC's Advisory and Steering Committees and collaboration with other agencies.

Minimum and Required Qualifications:
This position focuses on Integrated Pest Management.

  • A minimum of a Master’s Degree is required, though advanced degrees are preferred in an appropriate scientific discipline and professional background in any of the following pest management fields; entomology, plant pathology, weed science, nematology, or vertebrate pest management.
  • Experience leading or managing a program, obtaining and managing competitive grants; the ability to build new collaborative efforts among diverse stakeholders; staff supervision, and excellent interpersonal, organizational and communication skills are required. 
Preferred Qualifications:

  • Knowledge of the diverse agriculture in the Western U.S.; experience with federal grant sources. 

WIPMC is one fourth of the regional IPM centers focused on providing coordination of IPM programming. The remaining three regional centers are the Southern IPM Center (SIPMC), the Northeastern IPM Center (NEIPMC) and the North Central IPM Center (NCIPMC). 13 states and four Pacific Island territories are part of WIPMC.

For more information about the position or how to apply, please visit here or email Deziree Sutliff and refer to position #15-32.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A New 'Bugwood Images'

The Bugwood Center (The University of Georgia, Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health) and ITP (USDA APHIS) announce the release of a significant update to the end-user interfaces for four of Bugwood’s image sites ( Forestry Images, Insect Images, IPM Images, and Weed Images have a new look with added navigation and functionalities to support the use, sharing, and permission management of images. The update included ITP’s Plant Pest Image Node at Bugwood Images – a collection of over 23,000 images originating from ITP’s Identification Tools. Attached is a document highlighting a number of the updates that support the users of Bugwood Images. 
Terrence Walters, ITP Coordinator
Joe LaForest, Bugwood Center, Associate Director IPM and Forest Health

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

EAB strikes again!

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has added North Carolina to the regulated area for Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). According to APHIS they are adding NC at the request of state, “in response to the detections of EAB in multiple counties throughout North Carolina.”

Regulated areas’ purpose is to prevent EAB from moving to other states. “Federal Order outlines specific conditions for the interstate movement of EAB-regulated articles from the quarantined areas in North Carolina”. These conditions include interstate movement of host wood for EAB and wood products from areas under quarantine. Firewood of all hardwood species, nursery stock, green lumber, waste, compost, and chips of ash species are in the category of wood products.

“The interstate movement of firewood from quarantined areas is an especially high-risk pathway for the spread of EAB.” APHIS is working with ‘state cooperators and foresters’ to help prevent the man-made spread of EAB, use controls (biological or otherwise) and increase the public’s awareness about the dangers of moving firewood.

States currently managing EAB with quarantined areas include Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia. States entirely quarantined include Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and now North Carolina.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Watching species evolve, one after another

apple maggot (Rhagoletis pomonella) by Joseph Berger,

The apple maggot (Rhagoletis pomonella), a fruit fly native to the U.S., is curious, as apples are not native to the U.S. Before the apple maggot started feeding on the apple in the 1850s, they would feed on native hawthorns and their life cycle was tied to the life cycle of the hawthorn.  Interestingly, there are wasp parasitoids which will infest larval apple maggot,s and so their life cycle is also tied into the same time frame.  As some of the apple maggots have displayed a preference for the apple trees over the hawthorns, very slowly, their life cycle has shifted to match the fruiting cycle of the apples.  Scientists have been watching the apple maggot and have seen how the feeding and mating habits have changed in the apple tree feeders, thus splitting the apple maggots into two different species based on their apple or hawthorn preferences.  As the life cycle of the maggots is changing, the parasitoid wasps are also splitting based on their hosts' preferences.  This supports the "sequential speciation" evolutionary process, stating that adaption and speciation doesn't occur independently and is more of a cascade of new species that arise as new niche opportunities are introduced.

apple maggot (Rhagoletis pomonella) by Whitney Cranshaw,

Source Article: Caught in the act: New wasp species emerging
Apple Maggot Images: Rhagoletis pomonella

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The University of Minnesota Extension is recruiting candidates for Extension Educator

The University of Minnesota Extension is recruiting candidates for Extension Educator - Aquatic Invasive Species Position at Andover or St. Cloud, Minnesota
For any questions about the job or application process please see the contact information at the end of the blog message.

    The Extension Educator is responsible for developing, implementing, and evaluating educational programs that build local capacity for aquatic invasive species detection and response. These educational programs will provide training and tools to local governments, lake associations, AIS professionals, and citizens groups to prevent, detect, monitor, track, and control the establishment and spread of state-listed aquatic invasive species.
    To accomplish this, the AIS Extension Educator will, in coordination with MAISRC staff and researchers, Extension colleagues, and DNR staff: 1) develop and lead a statewide citizen science program aimed at tracking AIS population changes to inform management and research, 2) contribute to a statewide citizen science program for early detection of AIS; 3) contribute to other research-based AIS programs developed in response to state needs , 4) foster partnerships with state and local governments, lake associations, AIS professionals and citizens organizations, 5) provide programming to these partners to implement on-the-ground AIS prevention, detection, monitoring and control efforts, 6) assist with development of an online data repository for collecting and reporting data generated through these prevention, detection, monitoring and control efforts 7) assist in securing funding to sustain AIS programming efforts. Training and other program delivery will include using a variety of communication strategies appropriate for the intended target audience, including but not limited to workshops, classes, webcasts, social media, publications, mass media and community coalitions.
    The AIS Extension Educator will be affiliated with the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC) and act as a critical interface between local community groups, university scientists, and state natural resource agency managers. The AIS Extension Educator will coordinate with other Extension Educators and Specialists involved in AIS programming and with MAISRC researchers to operate as a team. The AIS Extension Educator will also coordinate communications efforts with MAISRC communications staff.

To Learn More About this JOB click here

TO APPY for Job Opening ID: 305531 you will need: 
  • Vitae
  • Cover letter
  • Transcripts for all college work (unofficial transcripts are acceptable at the application stage). 
  • Names and contact information for three professional references.
First click here to apply online and submit cover letter and resume

Click here to submit your transcript(s) and names and contact information online
  • Click on Employment
  • Click on “Using the Job Application System” (5th bullet on the left hand side of the screen)
  • Click on “My Activity” under “Application Activities”
  • From the drop box select: Transcripts or Reference Attachments
FOR QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR APPLICATION CONTACT: Naaz Babvani, Extension Human Resources 260 Coffey Hall, 1420 Eckles Avenue, University of Minnesota St. Paul, MN 55108 Telephone: 612-624-3717 Fax: 612-624-7749
Faye Sleeper
Program Leader for the Extension Center of Food Agricultural and Natural Resources Sciences
Associate Director, University of Minnesota Water Resources Center
173 McNeal Hall, 1985 Buford Street
St. Paul, MN 55108
The University of Minnesota Extension Water Resource team's mission is to make a difference by connecting community needs and University resources to address Minnesota's critical water resource issues by providing and modeling effective education to ensure safe and sustainable water resources.
Phone: 612-624-3738       Email: 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

America’s Longleaf Restoration Initiative

America’s Longleaf Restoration Initiative Longleaf Partnership Council: 2014 Range-wide Accomplishment Report

Key Overall Findings 

"The combined efforts of the many partners involved in longleaf restoration across the Southeast resulted in over 1.55 million acres of various on-the-ground longleaf restoration accomplishments. These restoration activities included tree planting, prescribed burning, mid-story treatments, invasive species control, native understory plant establishment, over-story treatments, and land acquisition/easements. Approximately 69% of the total accomplishments occurred within the SGAs. Approximately 61% of the overall 2014 accomplishments occurred in Florida (38%), Alabama (12%), and Georgia (11%), states which make up two-thirds of the current range-wide longleaf-dominated forest acreage. Most of the work on public lands (55%) occurred in Florida and Georgia and totaled over 658,000 acres. Restoration activities on private lands in Alabama and Georgia accounted for roughly one-half (175,000 acres) of the range-wide private lands total. Approximately 21% of the overall accomplishments occurred in the western range (Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas), while 17% occurred in the eastern range (South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia)." To read the full Report:  2014 Range-wide Accomplishment Report

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Emerging Plant Disease and Global Food Security

NC State University is looking to hire four faculty to form a new interdisciplinary faculty cluster.
Faculty members can be on any level and will create a new and basic knowledge to understand the fundamentals of emerging diseases caused by pathogens of plants to facilitate quick action to minimize potential damage of new threats. According to the University's announcement, it believes understanding and managing of new plant disease can be accomplished by a "collaborative approach with expertise in epidemiology, population biology, microbial evolution, geospatial modeling and bioinformatics".

For more information about the four positions, or how to apply, please visit the Emerging Plant Disease and Global Food Security page.

For consideration, a curriculum vitae, cover letter, a statement of research experience and goals as it relates to the cluster and contact information for references are requested. Materials for consideration will be accepted electronically via A comprehensive review of applications will begin by Dec. 15, 2015 and continue until the positions are filled. The target start date for is August 2016; however, a mutually beneficial time may be negotiated. Questions about the position may be directed with a subject line “GFSCluster inquiry to Jean Ristaino ( or

NC State University is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, status as an individual with a disability, or status as a protected veteran. Persons with disabilities requiring accommodations in the application process please call (919) 515-3148.

Monday, October 5, 2015

eBay: A Forum for Invasive Plant Trade

Auctions aren't just good for scoring rare collectibles and cheap second-hand items.  Individuals interested in rare and exotic species are using the site to buy and sell live specimens around the world.  Researchers from the Institute of Integrative Biology surveyed eBay and nine other auction websites for flora/plant species over 50 days.  Their survey found that 2,5625 plant species were available for purchase from 65 countries.  Of those species, 510 of them have been documented as an invasive concern somewhere in the world.  In fact, 35 of those species are on the list of top 100 invasive species put out by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.  This type of trade isn't monitored as intensively as shipping plants through typical retail exchanges, and can bring in more than just the desired plant.  People interested in diversifying their garden, should always check if there is a species native to their area that fits their need.  If a native can't be found, research any non-natives for invasive status before buying, as their fun new plant can cause years of battling the invasive tendencies and won't endear you to your neighbors if it spreads to their property.

Tropical soda apple (Solanum viarum) Growing out of a bag of cow manure, in 1991 by Randy Westbrooks, Invasive Species Prevention Specialist,
Original Source Article: How eBay Could Be Messing Up the World’s Ecosystems

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Southern IPM Center announces Enhancement Grant Program

The IPM Enhancement Grants Program is a one of the key ways the Southern IPM Center address important issues affecting the region.  Groups interested in developing or implementing Integrated Pest Management solutions can apply for funding.  There is no restriction based on setting or commodity nor problems that are being addressed as long as the project is effectively bringing IPM to the region and has the potential to positively impact our region. This means that projects can range widely - from settings that include agriculture, urban and school environments, forestry, and wildlife to a wide variety of topics including invasive species management, organic pest management options, countering pesticide resistance, and development of new tools to assist in pest management decisions.

$220,000 is available this year with projects limited to $30,000 - $40,000 depending on project type The funding covers a one-year project, so please keep that in mind when considering your proposal. If interested, see for more information.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Montana Adds Three Species to their Noxious Weed List

If you don't know what the U.S. Noxious Weed Lists are, here is are some quick facts:

  • Separate Federal and State, and even some local/municipal/county lists exist
  • Federal Noxious Weed List was established by the Federal Noxious Weed Act of 1974, was amended in 1990, and then was superseded by the Plant Protection Act in 2000
  • State and local lists can be created by different agencies in each state
  • Plants are added based on their ability to damage the environment, cause harm to persons, or disrupt the economy
  • Federally - Movement of listed plant species is restricted (without a permit)
  • Many of the plants were added specifically for their impact on agriculture or natural areas

As of July, 2015, Montana added three new invasive species to their state Noxious Weed List:

Parrot Feather Watermilfoil (Myriophyllum aquaticum [pictured] or M. brasiliense) by Graves Lovell, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources,

Brazilian waterweed (Egeria densa) by U.S. Geological Survey Archive, U.S. Geological Survey,

common reed (Phragmites australis ssp. australis) by Caleb Slemmons, National Ecological Observatory Network,
These are all plants that are found in or near water.  They can choke out native plant species, thus minimizing the food sources for many aquatic species, and they can also dramatically alter the available light and nutrients.

Want to know more about these species and where they are found?

Common Reed - Maps, Species Information, and Images
Brazilian waterweed - Maps, Species Information, Wiki Article, and Images
Myriophyllum aquaticum - Maps, Species Information, Wiki Article, and Images

Source Article: State Adds Three New Invasive Plants to Noxious Weed List

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

USDA-NRCS SoilWeb App Shows You What's Under Your Feet

A free app available for iPhone and Android phones, SoilWeb provides users with in the field knowledge of the soil type wherever they are.  This smartphone app is the evolution of the Web Soil Survey online tool, a website which allowed users to explore soil information.  The app not only uses you smartphone GPS to give you all the text information about the soil series at your location, but it will also show a graphic of the soil horizon.  Having data in-field while making various decisions about management options will help users make more informed choices and will save time from having to physically dig the land up to learn the area. This tool will be useful for farmers, range land managers, conservationists, and anyone who may be concerned with managing land.

Excavated area showing soil horizons by Andrew Koeser, International Society of Arboriculture,
Source Article: A Smartphone App Provides New Way to Access Soil Survey Information

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Mind Your Business – Hydroponics for Profit

Interested in Hydroponics? Want to make a profit from them? Check out this workshop: Mind Your Business – Hydroponics for Profit.

Learn how to create budgets for your operation, evaluate profitability of alternative systems, assess food safety policies and marketing ideas to increase your bottom line. The workshop is hosted by the University of Florida IFAS Extension’s Small Farms Academy on September 17th from 8:30 am to 3 pm at the Suwannee Valley Agricultural Extension Center. Primary participant registration is $75 and $50 for one additional participant. Lunch and refreshments are included in cost. To sign up visit: Deadline to register is September 11th. For more information contact Dilcia Toro at or 386-362-1725 ext. 102.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Redbanded Stink Bug, an Emerging Pest on Soybeans

Redbanded stink bugs (Piezodorus guildinii) has been present in soybean fields for decades, but they were not found in numbers to consider it a pest of economic concern.  Growers were much more focused on other stink bugs, such as the southern green stink bug, green stink bug and brown stink bug and tailored their control efforts to reducing damage from the more populous insects.  However, after decades of treating for the other species, the redbanded stink bug has also developed some resistance to organophosphates, allowing their numbers to swell enough for them to be noticed in scouting events and cause economic damage.  Scientists have also been able to attribute damage from these insects to delayed maturity syndrome of soybeans.  Researchers advise rotating chemical insecticide options to help control the redbanded stink bugs populations.

Redbanded stink bugs (Piezodorus guildinii) by Russ Ottens, University of Georgia,

Source Article: Entomologists sniff out new stink bug to help soybean farmers control damage

Monday, August 24, 2015

Fraxinus, A Crowd-Sourced Citizen Scientist game

There are a few well known crowd-sourced projects which are used by researchers to compute large amounts of data or find solutions to problems which would be to taxing or expensive for a normal computer.  Sometimes also called games with a purpose, the data is presented in such a way as to resemble more of a game rather than endless pages of numbers.  Think Foldit, Zooniverse/Galaxy Zoo, or EteRNA.

A recently published article discussed a crowd-sourced game, Fraxinus, which was used to study the genome of Hymenoscyphus fraxineus, a fungus that causes ash dieback.  Fraxinus had players arranging sequences of DNA to make long chains of alignments.  Most interestingly, over half of the alignment answers, 74,356 of 154,038, were submitted by only 49 people, representing 0.7% of all the players.  The game proved again that crowd-sourced projects can be a viable tool to analyze large amounts of data and get the average citizen involved in the researching process.

European ash (Fraxinus excelsior), the species of trees which were infected by ash dieback by Robert Vid├ęki, Doronicum Kft.,

To learn more about Fraxinus: Lessons from Fraxinus, a crowd-sourced citizen science game in genomics

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Mites, an Untapped Biocontrol Option?

Predatory mites for biocontrol in greenhouses by Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University,

A new book, "Prospects for Biological Control of Plant Feeding Mites and Other Harmful Organisms," explores the history of and novel options for introducing mites to control invasive insects.  While earlier work was very narrowly focused on a few species of mites on a few introduced species, contributors to this book documented how many more mite species can be effectively used for more pest control options.

Check out the book!

Prospects for Biological Control of Plant Feeding Mites and Other Harmful Organisms

Monday, August 17, 2015

The second Bark & Ambrosia Beetle Academy!

Interested in bark and ambrosia beetles? The University of Florida’s Forest Entomology Lab is holding its 2nd Bark & Ambrosia Beetle Academy May 2-6, 2016 in Gainesville, Florida. Local and International experts will be instructing “through hands-on labs, field demonstrations, lectures, and socializing”. Applied (May 3 and 4) and Academic (May 5 and 6) modules will be offered and you can choose one or both to participate in. According to the Academy’s site, “Each one includes extensive field trip and lab demonstration at the University of Florida and surrounding forests”. Sign up is encouraged as soon as possible as last year’s seats were filled within two months.
Open to researchers, students, extension agents, government insect identifiers, forest managers or anyone wanting to learn about bark and ambrosia beetles. Visit for more details.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Screening Aids to Exotic Wood Borer/Bark Beetles

Pityogenes chalcographus, Robert Dzwonkowski,

Need more help in identifying Exotic Wood Borer/Bark Beetles? The USDA, along with the cooperation of Colorado State University and collaboration with Purdue University, released 11 screening aids August 13. According to the USDA-ITP’s release, the template and format from ITP’s first suite of screening aids (exotic Lepidoptera) were used to create the aids. Visit the Cooperative Agriculture Pest Survey community (CAPS) site to access the aids. They are available in both high and low resolution formats. Funding support is in the Section 10201 of the 2008 Farm Bill.   

Friday, August 7, 2015

Old World Bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera) found in United States!

Todd Gilligan, LepIntercept, USDA APHIS ITP,

On June 17, 2015, one male Helicoverpa armigera (old world bollworm) was collected in a Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS) pheromone trap in a field in Bradenton, Florida, USA. This moth is a serious agricultural pest globally, and this is the first detection in the U.S. outside of port interceptions. The caterpillars feed on a wide variety of field crops, the adults can fly long distances, and populations have repeatedly evolved resistance to many insecticides.

More information on this pest and news on the current situation can be found at

Aquarium & Pond Plants of the World, Edition 2.1

If you have ever needed a reliable source for identifying an invasive aquatic species, you might have waded through the USDA APHIS ITP’s “Aquarium& Pond Plants of the World” (APPW). Edition 2.1 was released yesterday. The USDA APHIS ITP announcement states APPW still has “fact sheets, images, an illustrated glossary, and an interactive key to support the identification process for over 140 genera of plant and plant-like organisms grown and used in the aquarium and pond plant trade”. The resource has been updated with a new design and increased user capabilities. The tool is now responsive for use across multiple platforms including smartphones and tablets.

                 Screen capture from APPW’s new home page.

APPW can be used to identify invasive species as it includes genera listed on the Federal Noxious Weed List. According to APPW, “As part of its effort to prevent the introduction of invasive or potentially invasive weeds, the USDA maintains an official list of ‘federal noxious weeds’ (FNW) (7 CFR 360.200 and 361.6).”

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Reduce Water, Fertilizer, and Fumigant Inputs by Changing Planting Bed

If you live in a more rural area, you may notice farmer's fields ribboned with rows of raised beds covered in plastic for growing tomatoes, peppers, cabbage and more. Typically, the beds are 36 inches wide and 6-8 inches tall and the input needs, such as water, fertilization, and and pre-planting soil pesticides, are added either before the plastic is laid, or added through a porous plastic hose laid under the plastic.  Plants are grown by punching a small hole in the plastic and either seedlings or seeds are planted in the small hole.  The plastic helps to regulate the moisture and temperature of the soil and will reduce the weed pressure on the crop.

Field preparation by Gerald Holmes, California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo,

Recently, Dr. Sanjay Shukla, a researcher from the University of Florida, experimented with altering the width and height of the beds to evaluate if the change in shape would change the input needs of the crops.  He found out that by raising the height of the bed to 10-12 inches tall and reducing the width to 18-24 inches produced the same yield as the conventional beds, but needed less water, fertilizer, and fumigants.  It also reduces the amount of plastic needed in production, an important factor for waste reduction since the plastic is thrown out after it is unusable (1-2 crops/seasons).  So, how much money does he say this will this save growers?  Per acre: $100-300.  One eggplant grower in Florida has already switched over and says it saves him about $500/acre in equipment, fertilizer, and fumigation.

Tomato on conventional raised, plastic-mulched beds by Gerald Holmes, California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo,

Source Article: Cutting cost, saving water and helping the environment by changing one simple thing

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Farming 23,000 Years Ago?

Previous research indicated that farming occurred approximately 12,000 years ago, but new finds at a well known site moves that date to approximately 23,000 years ago.  At the site of the Ohalo II people's camp in Israel's Rift Valley, researchers found evidence of weed species and tools associated with farming practices.  Finding evidence of seeds from so long ago is exceedingly rare due to fast decomposition.  However, this site was well protected from water and oxygen, allowing researchers to study the hunter-gatherer way of life.

Wild oat (Avena fatua) by Jan Samanek, State Phytosanitary Administration,

Some of the evidence discovered were weed species associated with cultivated fields and disturbed soils and a grinding slab.  Cereal grains were found distributed around the grinding slab, scarred with markings made by harvesting tools.  Also found were sickle blades, which indicated deliberate planning of harvest.

Source Article: TAU Among International Researchers to Discover First Evidence of Farming in Mideast

Monday, August 3, 2015

Asian Carp Found in Canadian Pond

Two male carp were observed on July 28 and crews from the Fisheries and Oceans Canada were deployed to the Tommy Thompson Park pond to catch the invasive fish.  The fish were first observed by Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) staff and a subsequent electro-fishing excursion stunned the fish and they were able to be removed from the pond.  The fish were sent to a fisheries lab in Burlington, Ontario and were both determined to be fertile and of breeding age.  No one is sure how the fish were introduced to the pond, but their presence has several natural resources agencies on alert.

Grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) by USDA APHIS PPQ Archive, USDA APHIS PPQ,

Source Article: Notoriously invasive Asian carp found in Toronto

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Lionfish Eating Each Other as Prey Become Scarce

While still a rare occurrence, as prey fish populations are declining, some lionfish are turning to cannibalism.  Two recent surveys of stomach contents reported that 4 of 130 lionfish in the Bahamas had consumed other lionfish and in 16 intact lionlish specimen in 157 stomachs in Mexico.  Unfortunately, this probably won't become a natural lionfish population limiting practice.

lionfish (Pterois volitans) by Rebekah D. Wallace, University of Georgia,

Source Article:  This Beautiful But Destructive Fish Is Resorting to Cannibalism
Lionfish Cannibalism in Mexico: Monitoring an Alien Invasion: DNA Barcoding and the Identification of Lionfish and Their Prey on Coral Reefs of the Mexican Caribbean
Lionfish Images: Pterois volitans
Lionfish BugwoodWiki: Pterois volitans

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Emerald Ash Borer Killed by Traditional Method of Storing Wood

Black ash (Fraxinus nigra) is an important tree to the American Indian and First Nations people in the Great Lakes and northeastern regions of the U.S. and the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) is a grave threat to centuries-old traditions, primarily basketweaving.  One of the major concerns with the insect is that it is readily spread through movement of felled trees.  However, the local people's traditional storage method of submerging black ash logs in water has proven to effectively control emerald ash borer.

Emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) on ash (Fraxinus spp.) by Daniel Herms, The Ohio State University,

Researchers followed the submersion method outlined by the Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Potawatomi Indians of Michigan.  Using infested logs, researchers varied the length of submersion time and the time of year to find if this is a treatment option.  Researchers found that submerging logs in a river for 18 weeks in the winter or 14 weeks in the spring kills emerald ash borers and the resulting logs are still usable for basketweaving.  Interestingly, the winter time required is longer due to the insect overwintering in a dormant state.

Source Article: Basketmakers' tradition of storing black ash logs in water effective in killing emerald ash borer
Emerald ash borer images: Agrilus planipennis
Emerald ash borer BugwoodWiki: Agrilus planipennis
Black ash images: Fraxinus nigra

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Many benefits of Cover Crops

The 2015 Cover Crop Survey was recently released, it reports on the growers using cover crops and the effects that cover crops have on the productivity of the land.  A quick rundown of the numbers:
  • 1,229 farmers answered the online survey
  • 47 states represented in the results
  • 84% of respondents have planted cover crops
  • 3.66 more bushels per acre of corn after planting cover crops
  • 2.19 more bushels per acre of soybean after planting cover crops
  • 92% of producers who do not plant cover crops would be motivated to plant if there were economic incentives
  • 300 acres is the average expected acreage of cover crop planting for 2015
  • 84% of cover crops planted were cereal grains and grasses
Cereal rye (Secale cereale) is the most common cereal grain or grass planted as a cover crop.  Image by Joseph M. DiTomaso, University of California - Davis,

Benefits of cover crops:
  • Increased yield
  • Increased organic matter
  • Improvement of soil health
  • Improved weed control
  • Reduced erosion
To learn more about the motivations of cover crop users and other information resulting from this survey: 2015 Cover Crop Survey
For a summarized report: 2015 Cover Crop Survey Analysis
Need help figuring out what cover crop to plant: USDA Cover Crop Chart

Monday, July 20, 2015

Bugwood goes to the Aquatic Plant Management Society Meeting

This is the first year that we have attended this meeting and it is definitely one we would like to go back to!  Over 100 people attended the meeting and represented academia, non-profit organizations, state agencies, federal agencies, industry, and other institutions.  The presentations were very interesting and we learned at lot.  Topics covered included: control/management methods, biology/physiology, monitoring technology, partnerships and programs, and interesting research.

Bugwood presented on the last day, covering the EDDMapS website, South Eastern Early Detection smartphone application, and covered the new push alert system.  The push alert system will send out alerts to user's smartphones about news relevant to the region or species included in the application.  Presentations given by other attendees were equally as interesting.

Did you know that when a crested floating heart (Nymphoides cristata) leaf is damaged or cut in half, it will grow roots and may produce daughter plants from the damaged leaf ?  This is information that will be important for planning management strategies in infested waterbodies.

crested floating heart (Nymphoides cristata) by Larry McCord, Santee Cooper,

There were several presentations on grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) movement in rivers and reservoirs.  Researchers will implant tracking devices in the grass carp and monitor their movement at key points to see where they will travel if they are introduced for invasive aquatic plants control.  Sterile grass carp, also called triploid grass carp, are often used in rivers to prevent them from reproducing.

grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Archive,

In addition to the presentations, there was a large station with many species of aquatic weeds!  This is great for showing the variety of species that are an issue nationwide.

Aquatic weeds identification station by Rebekah D. Wallace

Shortly before the awards dinner, there was a duck race!

Aquatic Plant Management Society Meeting Duck Race by Rebekah D. Wallace
This was an interesting and educational meeting, so if you're in the aquatic plants field you should check it out!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Populations Declining Despite Some Conservation Successes

Conservation programs have definitely increased populations of threatened and endangered species: Lesser-Prairie Chicken, Oregon Chub, and Sierra Nevada Yellow-Legged Frog are just a few of the species which have begun to rebound.  For many species, conflicts with humans, either directly or though habitat disturbance, is a primary cause of population decline.  In fact, habitat destruction is the main threat to 85% of the species assessed on the ICUN Red List.  As such, habitat restoration is a major part of most conservation plans and this has lead to population increases and delisting of some species.

Lion (Panthera leo) by Joy Viola, Northeastern University,
However, not all endangered species are part of conservation programs and many are protected are continuing to decline.  Big cats are very charismatic and are "poster animals" for conservation programs and endangered species.  Despite conservation efforts, many species are still declining due to prey animal population decline, human-animal conflict, and poaching.  Many species of plants are also impacted by human activities, not only habitat destruction, but also poaching.  Almost all of the 84 species of Asian slipper orchid are threatened by over-collection and habitat loss.

While 14 new species have been assessed as Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct), no new species have been listed as Extinct.

Source Article: Conservation successes overshadowed by more species declines – IUCN Red List update

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Lesser-Prairie Chicken Survey Shows 25% Population Increase in One Year!

The Lesser-Prairie Chicken Initiative (LPCI), like many successful programs, is a collaboration among government agencies and private landowners.  Not only does getting the public involved in the conservation efforts raise awareness and support, but 95% of the chicken's current range is on private land.  The lesser-prairie chicken is currently located in four ecoregions covering five states, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. From 2014 to 2015, the total population experienced a 25% increase; this is on top of last year's 20% increase.  As most of the population decline is due to habitat loss, USDA - Natural Resource Conservation Service, through the LCPI, has invested more than $20 million to help private landowners improve habitat and ranchland sustainability on nearly 950,000 acres since 2010.  By improving the habitat for the chicken, the ecosystem as a whole benefits from cleaner air, water, and soil.

Lesser-prairie chickens prefer grassland habitats. Image by Dave Powell, USDA Forest Service (retired),

Source Article: Survey: Lesser Prairie-Chicken Population Continues to Climb
Lesser-Prairie Chicken Initiative
Lesser-Prairie Chicken Survey - Aerial survey shows lesser prairie-chicken population increased 25 percent from 2014 to 2015

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Oregon Chub the First Fish to be Removed from the Endangered Species List

It took 20 years of work by a large group of federal and state agencies, private landowners, and other concerned programs, but the Oregon chub (Oregonichthys crameri) has been removed from the endangered species list.  The fish was listed in 1993 when the population was estimated to be 1,000 individuals in eight known locations.  Today, there are over 80 known location and the population had increased approximately 140,000.  The restoration efforts were funded 100% by USDA-ARS and the chub's habitat, slack water off-channel habitats such as beaver ponds, oxbows, side channels, backwater sloughs, low gradient tributaries, and flooded marshes, fell mostly under the Wetlands Reserve Program.  The population rebounded almost entirely due to habitat improvement and introduction to new locations within its historical range.  By developing cooperative partnerships with a number of different agencies, professionals, and private landowners projects like the Oregon chub recovery can succeed.

Beaver pond, typical habitat for Oregon chub. Image by Karan A. Rawlins, University of Georgia,

Source Article: USDA Employee Named “Recovery Champion” for Oregon Chub Conservation Efforts
Oregon Fish and Wildlife Office: Species Fact Sheet Oregon chub

Sportsmen's Fight Against Invasives Video

Produced by Wild Dakota Outdoor Television in partnership with the MRWC, these thirteen videos were designed to raise awareness among sportsmen of invasive species and their impacts on hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation.
largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoidesDave Fuller, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks,

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Seabird Populations Reduced 70% Since 1950

A comparison of seabird populations from the 1950s to 2010 showed a loss of 230 million birds during that time.  The decline can be attributed to a number of causes, including human over-fishing of prey fish, plastic and oil pollution, invasive species introduced to nesting sites, habitat destruction, and climate change affecting the environment.  Seabirds can be an important indicator of the health of marine and coastal ecosystems, so such a steep population decline indicates that there are major problems within these environments which need to be addressed.

Laysan albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis) by Forest and Kim Starr, Starr Environmental,

Source Article: Global trends show seabird populations dropped 70 percent since 1950s

Monday, July 13, 2015

Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frogs Reintroduced to Lakes in Yosemite

Historically, the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog (Rana sierrae) was abundant thoughout the Sierra Nevada.  Tourists would encounter hundreds of them near lake shores, but the population has declined precipitously in the last 30-40 years.  The populations are now scattered and extinct in some of the historical range.  The causes of the decline of frogs have been attributed to introduction of fish non-native, primarily trout, to the frog's lakes, the chytrid fungus, pollution, other diseases, and human activity which has impacted their environment (nutrient run-off from farms, mining run-off, etc.).  The non-native trout will not only eat the frogs at all life stages, but they also compete with frogs for food.  The chytrid fungus has impacted many species of frogs by growing in keratin on the skin and causes chytridiomycosis.  It is a disease which affects the frog's ability to breathe and regulate their water balance and often results in death.

Cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii), a non-native trout introduced to Yosemite.  Image by Chris Schnepf, University of Idaho,
Yosemite National Park has been working internally on restoring lakes and reintroducing the frogs to portions of their historical range.  The frogs had not been entirely extirpated from Yosemite, so they have been able to use local populations to reintroduce to other areas of the park.  They have reintroduced frogs to two of the seven lakes that they have restored and have micro-chipped some of the frogs to keep track of their locations.

Source Article: Yosemite Restoring Endangered Yellow-legged frogs to Alpine Lakes
Yosemite Species Page: Sierra Nevada Yellow-Legged Frog

Friday, July 10, 2015

Upcoming themed week! Articles about species' population status

Recently, there have been a few posts on various scientific and government websites about the rebounding and decreasing populations of species in the U.S.  So this week, we will be featuring some of those articles!

If you are interested in learning more about endangered species and their current population status, check out the following websites.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources evaluates species for their extinction risk and makes this information available to the public as the ICUN Red List.  Species are listed as: Not Evaluated, Data Deficient, Least Concern, Near Threatened, Vulnerable, Endangered, Critically Endangered, Extinct in the Wild, or Extinct.  You can search for individual species and the results will tell you the all about the species including: Status, Taxonomy, Assessment Information, Geographic Range, Population, and more.

The Wold Wildlife Federation website runs a Species Directory which links to information for dozens of endangered species.  Choosing a specific animal will take you to a page describing the animal, threats to their survival, conservation efforts, and ways that the public can help that species.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also has a page for Endangered Species.  Not only does it have information similar to the other resources above, but you can also search on their interactive map for endangered species in your area.

Stay tuned for our articles next week!

African penguin (Spheniscus demersus) adult with chick by Joy Viola, Northeastern University,

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Using Crops to Create Art

Rice (Oryza sativa) by Keith Weller, USDA Agricultural Research Service,

As home gardeners and farmers alike know, the same plant species can have many different varieties with wildly different looks.  Farmers in China have used different varieties of rice to create huge "paintings" in their fields.  Rice plants come in many different colors and using those to create 3D art has become a tradition for the farmers in Xibo, where the fields are a part of theme park.

To see some of the art: In pictures: 3D art in China's rice paddy fields

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Attracted to Mature Fruit

Brown marmorated stink bugs (Halyomorpha halys) are native to Asia and were first found in the U.S. in 1998.  In its native range, it has multiple generations per year, but it hasn't been found to have more than one generation per year in the U.S., though it could have more than one in the southern states.  It is considered to be a destructive agricultural and home pest.

Brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) by David R. Lance, USDA APHIS PPQ,

They feed on leaves and fruit of a wide variety of crop, horticultural, and ornamental plants, totaling over 120 species. This is of particular concern to plants grown as crops, as the feeding sites become necrotic and damage the fruit making it unmarketable.

Brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) feeding on peach (Prunus persica) by Gary Bernon, USDA APHIS,

Researchers have studied these insects to discover ways of controlling them and reducing the damage that they cause to food and structures.  A study conducted on the feeding habits of these bugs show that they are highly preferential to attacking plants which have mature fruit on them.  By removing the fruit from the trees, the bugs almost entirely disappeared from those trees.  This indicates that the bugs could be drastically reduced in areas that choose varieties in which the fruit matures outside of the feeding period of the bug or varieties which are non-fruit bearing, especially for ornamental plantings.  These bugs are known for their attraction to homes as overwintering locations, and the ornamental plantings around home provide food for them in the spring and fall.  By planting species that don't fruit at those times, or at all, the bugs also won't be attracted to the structure as an overwintering location.

Source Article: Stink bugs have strong taste for ripe fruit
BMSB Images: Halyomorpha halys
BMSB BugwoodWiki: Halyomorpha halys
BMSB Distribution Map: Halyomorpha halys

Monday, July 6, 2015

Dogs put to work doing what they do best

Overly energetic and enthusiastic shelters dogs may not be as attractive to families looking for a pet, but their personalities can be put to use by researchers trying to locate and track wildlife.  These dogs can be trained to find scat of all kinds of wildlife, from wolves to impalas to whales, which the researchers will use to analyze for diet, diseases, hormone levels, and other factors.  Not only does using dogs to locate animals allow researchers to collect better information and faster, it also reduces the bias that can come with other, traditional methods of tracking, such as game cameras, traps, and snares.

Dog (domestic) (Canis lupus familiaris) by Terry Spivey, USDA Forest Service, 

To read more about these hard-working dogs: Poop-sniffing dogs work for wildlife researchers