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Secretariat of the Pacific Community.
Recently, the health of coconut palms has come under severe threat. The Pacific Community (SPC), working with Pacific Island countries and territories, and development partners, is looking for ways to meet this threat before it devastates the hopes of economic progress in the region. In August of 2017 an alert was issued identifying a new danger to the Pacific, which is causing devastation to coconut palms and expanding rapidly across the region. The new threat comes from a longstanding adversary in the region: the rhinoceros beetle.
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. 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.
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.
Research by scientists at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the University of Maryland released today sheds new light -- and reverses decades of scientific dogma -- regarding a honey bee pest (Varroa destructor) that is considered the greatest single driver of the global honey bee colony losses. Managed honey bee colonies add at least $15 billion to the value of U.S. agriculture each year through increased yields and superior quality harvests. The microscopy images are part of a major study showing that the Varroa mite (Varroa destructor) feeds on the honey bee’s fat body tissue (an organ similar to the human liver) rather than on its “blood,” (or hemolymph). This discovery holds broad implications for controlling the pest in honey bee colonies.
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.