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USDA. ARS. Agricultural Research Magazine.
Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists are tracking a honey bee killer, and their investigations have taken them from hives in Tucson, Arizona, to Bismarck, North Dakota. Led by ARS entomologist Gloria DeGrandi-Hoffman, the team is staking out hive entrances and monitoring the comings and goings of foraging honey bees, which may be the killer's unwitting accomplices. None of the busy little winged bearers of pollen and nectar will get by without inspection: The prime suspect—an eight-legged, pinhead-sized parasite called the Varroa mite—seems to be sneaking into the hives on the bees' bodies. The Varroa mite, Varroa destructor, is considered public enemy number one to honey bees nationwide. The parasite feeds on the blood of adult bees and their brood, weakening them and endangering the entire hive when infestations become severe. But the mite also poses an indirect threat to more than 90 flowering crops that depend on bee pollination, including almonds, apples, blueberries, cherries, and cantaloupes.
USDA. Agricultural Research Service.
Along the Rio Grande in Texas, tiny insects are taking a big bite out of an invasive weed that competes for limited water resources vital to agriculture and native vegetation. Several years ago, ARS scientists released two insect species as part of a biocontrol program to kill giant reed (Arundo donax).
U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy.
USDA. APHIS. PPQ. CPHST. Identification Technology Program.
ITP and the APHIS PPQ S&T Beltsville Lab are pleased to announce the release of IDphy: Molecular and Morphological Identification of Phytopthora Based on the Types, ITP’s first pathogen tool. This website offers PPQ and its partners the most complete, valid, and up-to-date resource for identifying the culturable species of Phytophthora. IDphy includes detailed standard operating procedures for all steps involved in culturing, sequencing, and identifying suspect samples, covering both molecular and morphological methods. Some species of Phytophthora are devastating plant pathogens that have a significant impact on agriculture and natural ecosystems.
USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
The United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has analyzed the potential environmental effects of establishing an integrated management strategy to control cogongrass in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina. The draft environmental assessment is now available for comment. Cogongrass is an invasive exotic grass found on public and private property, along roadways, in forests, and on farmland. This federally regulated noxious weed grows rapidly, reducing forest productivity, harming wildlife habitat and ecosystems, and encroaching on pastures and hayfields. Because of cogongrass' impact on agriculture and forest industries, Congress has given APHIS funding to partner with Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina to control the spread of this weed. APHIS is proposing is an integrated management strategy that uses preventive, cultural, mechanical, biological, and chemical methods to control cogongrass in key areas of its distribution. APHIS invites the public to review and comment on this environmental assessment by April 1, 2020.