Webinars are scheduled monthly for information about good and bad insects. Extension staff will discuss troublesome insects such as invasive ants, landscape pests, and house dwellers as well as the 8-legged ones too (arachnids). Not all insects are bad, though, learn the differences in identification and how to welcome pollinators to your area! Previous years webinars are archived and available for viewing.
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International Maritime Organization.
Amendments to an international treaty aimed at preventing the spread of potentially invasive species in ships' ballast water entered into force on 13 October 2019. The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004 (the BWM Convention) was adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations, to address this problem. The BWM Convention entered into force in 2017. The amendments formalise an implementation schedule to ensure ships manage their ballast water to meet a specified standard ("D-2 standard") aimed at ensuring that viable organisms are not released into new sea areas, and make mandatory the Code for Approval of Ballast Water Management Systems, which sets out how ballast water management systems used to achieve the D-2 standard have to be assessed and approved. This will help ensure that aquatic organisms and pathogens are removed or rendered harmless before the ballast water is released into a new location – and avoid the spread of invasive species as well as potentially harmful pathogens.
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).
Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. Division of Environmental Health. State Veterinarian.
In 2019, the Alaska Office of the State Veterinarian, in collaboration with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the University of Alaska, began the Alaska Submit-A-Tick Program. Through this program, individuals who find ticks on themselves, their family members, pets, or wildlife (e.g. hunted or trapped animals) can submit ticks for species identification and pathogen testing. Researchers are asking Alaskans to submit ticks to help determine which tick species are currently in the state. Tick submissions will also help us learn more about how ticks are being imported into Alaska so that we can create effective strategies to limit their introduction. Ticks can transmit bacteria, parasites, and viruses that can cause diseases in humans and wildlife. Pathogen testing allows us to assess tickborne disease risk in the state.
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.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is launching a new “Pests and Diseases” webpage. The new page lists all pest and disease programs managed by APHIS as part of its mission to protect American agriculture and natural resources.
On the new page, users can search by type (plant, animal), keyword (avian, fruit fly, cotton), or by the specific pest or disease (coconut rhinoceros beetle, brucellosis). You can also scroll through the page, which lists the pests and diseases alphabetically and includes a corresponding image.
APHIS created the webpage to make it easier for its customers to find critical information on pests and diseases of concern. With this tool, members of the public will have the information they need to report pests and diseases and together we can protect America’s agriculture and natural resources.
USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is proposing to lift the domestic quarantine for pine shoot beetle. Despite efforts to control pine shoot beetle since it was first detected in 1992, this pest, which only infests stressed and dying pine trees, is now found in 20 states in the northeast and north central parts of the country. Given the limited impact of interstate movement restrictions on the beetle’s spread and the minimal damage this pest has caused to native pines, plantations, and nursery trade, we are proposing to remove the pine shoot beetle domestic quarantine. This action would allow the states to determine the best approach for managing the pest within their boundaries, relieve impacted businesses and individuals from having to comply with costly and burdensome restrictions, and allow APHIS to focus limited federal resources on higher risk pests. APHIS will carefully consider all comments received. Beginning Monday, members of the public will be able to submit comments for 60 days, or until November 22, 2019 at: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=APHIS-2016-0065
USDA. Agricultural Research Service.
Dogs specially trained by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists have proven to be the most efficient way to detect huanglongbing—also known as citrus greening—according to a paper just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Currently, the only solid hope of curtailing the spread of citrus greening is to eliminate trees with the disease as quickly as possible to prevent further spread. Early detection of the citrus greening pathogen is crucial because trees can be infected and act as a source to spread the disease months or years before showing symptoms that are detectable by the naked eye. ARS plant epidemiologist Timothy R. Gottwald with the U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory in Fort Pierce, Florida, discovered that dogs can be trained to sniff out the presence of Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus, the bacteria that causes citrus greening, with greater than 99 percent accuracy.
USDA. FS. Southern Research Station. CompassLive.
Forests are complex ecosystems. They are constantly changing as a result of tree growth, variations in weather and climate, and disturbances from fire, pathogens, and other stressors. The USDA Forest Service Forest Health Monitoring (FHM) program tracks these ongoing changes — every year, across the nation — as a forest health check up. The 2018 FHM report is the only national summary of forest health undertaken on an annual basis. It contains short- and long-term forest health assessments for the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The report is available as a General Technical Report. Individual chapters can be downloaded, and the full series of FHM annual reports is also available. Users can search reports and chapters by year or topic. Highlights and additional resources are also included.
USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
The Asian longhorned beetle has the potential to destroy millions of acres of America's treasured hardwoods, including maple, birch, elm, willow, ash and poplar trees. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure to save infested trees. They need to be removed to keep the beetle from spreading to nearby trees, as well as to protect homes and other personal property since infested trees will die and can drop branches. The beetle is slow to spread on its own during the early stages of an infestation, so early detection and reporting is critical to containing it.
DOI. Bureau of Reclamation.
The Bureau of Reclamation has launched a new prize competition seeking innovative solutions for the 100-percent eradication of invasive quagga and zebra mussels from large reservoirs, lakes and rivers in a cost-effective and environmentally sound manner. Invasive mussel infestations pose significant logistical and economic challenges for local communities, recreationists, and water managers by potentially disrupting water deliveries, increasing facility maintenance cost, and impacting the local ecology.
California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Prevention is the most effective strategy in managing invasive species. However, hundreds of invasive plants and animals have already established in California and are rapidly spreading each year. These invaders are negatively impacting our waters, our native plants and animals (some of them rare, threatened, or endangered), our agriculture, our health, our economy, and our favorite recreational places. Help us celebrate California's Invasive Species Action Week, and more importantly, help stop the spread of invasive species, by volunteering to take action.
DHS. Customs and Border Protection.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists have already intercepted a dozen significant and potentially destructive pests this year at various ports of entry in Florida as part of the agency's all-encompassing efforts to safeguard American agriculture.
Unknown pests pose a significant risk in agriculture due to a lack of knowledge in controlling the pests and the extent of damage they can cause to crops. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entomologists recently classified eight pests discovered by CBP agriculture specialists in Florida as first-in-the-nation interceptions and another pest as a new species.