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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Aphids' Category


11
Apr

Chemical-Intensive Practices in Florida Citrus Lead to Harm and Collapse, as Organic Methods Offer Path Forward

(Beyond Pesticides, April 11, 2024) Scientists are moving forward in testing an agroecological method of “push-pull” pest management (reducing the attractiveness of the target organism and luring pest insects towards a trap) to fight the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) in Florida orange groves, as it spreads a plant disease known as the pathogenic bacteria huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening, which is deadly to citrus trees. The disease is spread by the pathogenic bacteria Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas).  The chemical-intensive, or conventional, citrus industry is under intense pressure to find alternatives, as synthetic antibiotic use for this purpose has been successfully challenged in court. ACP is the carrier, or vector, for HLB, spreading it through the citrus groves and killing the trees. The chemical-intensive industry has focused on using antibiotics, which the environmental and public health community has rejected because of serious medical concerns associated with life-threatening bacterial resistance to antibiotics used to protect humans. A federal district court decision in December 2023 found illegal the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to register the antibiotic streptomycin in Florida citrus without adequate review of its impact on endangered species. The streptomycin lawsuit, filed in 2021 by a coalition of […]

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14
Jul

Soil Amended with Insect Exoskeleton Is Effective Alternative to Harmful Chemical Fertilizers

(Beyond Pesticides, June 14, 2023) The exoskeleton of the black soldier fly (BSF; Hermetica illucens) has the potential to be an effective organic fertilizer. A study in the journal Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment highlights the positive impacts on plant size, flower count, seed production, appeal to pollinators, and resilience to herbivory that the fly’s molted exoskeleton (or exuviae) can have when used as a soil supplement. The use of insect exuviae as an organic alternative to harmful synthetic fertilizers is an important step toward an environment free from chemical contaminants, and BSF are uniquely equipped to contribute to a regenerative organic agricultural system. The study set out to determine the impacts of BSF exuviae on plant growth, resilience to herbivory, and pollination. The scientists divided black mustard plants into four different treatment groups: 1) grown in soil amended with BSF powdered exuviae; 2) control group planted in chemically-treated (conventional) soil; 3) grown in amended soil and subjected to increased herbivory from caterpillars (Pieris brassicae) and aphids (Brevicoryne brassicae); and 4) planted in conventional soil and subjected to increased pest exposure. Scientists measured plant growth, flowering status, seed production, herbivore abundance, and pollinator activity. After three weeks, the supplemented soil grew […]

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14
Dec

Neonicotinoids Regulators Criticized by UK Parliament

(Beyond Pesticides, December 14, 2012) Decision making advice by the Advisory Committee on Pesticides (ACP) and insecticide regulator, the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra), were harshly criticized on Wednesday by Members of Parliament (UK), as they discussed the problems associated with neonicotinoids, a group of neurotoxic insecticides linked to serious declines in bee and pollinator populations. The meeting was attended by Members of Parliament, members of the Advisory Committee on Pesticides, Lord de Mauley, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, the Department for Environment, the Food and Rural Affairs and officials, bringing neonicotinoids and their impact on bees to the attention of the international community as well as at home. The discussion focused on the evidence used to make a decision on the allowance of neonicotinoids and plans for the future. ACP members indicated that evidence for future draft plans would be based on new studies developed in 2012 on the effects of neonicotinoids at the colony level, as well as the impact of neonicotinoids exposure in field tests, rather than in the lab. Research will likely fill the extant data gaps, the most important of which were identified by officials of Defra, the environmental regulatory agency in […]

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13
Nov

Lights Out for Aphids

(Beyond Pesticides, November 13, 2012) There’s a new tool in the fight against aphids. Research published in the journal Horticultural Science discovered that reducing the amount of ultra-violet (UV) light in an environment can shrink the population of an aphid infestation. This study is encouraging as it has the ability to dramatically reduce pesticide applications. Scientists carried out their study in two “tunnel type” greenhouses over three separate lettuce growing seasons. The crops in one greenhouse were covered with standard mesh netting, while crops in the other greenhouse were covered with netting that filtered radiation in the UV spectrum (the product ‘Bionet’ was used in the study). Researchers then artificially introduced aphid pests into the environment, and tracked their dispersal patterns and overall population weekly through a statistical analysis. Although the aphid population grew exponentially in both environments, it was significantly lower in the greenhouse where the aphids were covered by the UV-absorbing material. This has important implications for greenhouse-grown greens. Using this technique, farmers can reduce the costs associated with pesticide use, concurrently protecting the health of the surrounding environment and consumers purchasing their crops. The researchers note that UV radiation acts as an important visual cue not only […]

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