Swapping Pesticides with Beetles Could Put Money in Farmers’ Pockets

By Wei Zhang. Reblogged from Agrilinks.

34096134693_27bfc1e954_bEvery time you see a ladybug—also known as the ladybird beetle—you should tuck it in your wallet as a lucky charm to bring prosperity, according to the folklore of many countries. There’s a grain of truth in the old stories. Research shows that each ladybird in a cotton field in the North China Plain provides an economic benefit to farmers of at least 0.05 yuan, or one U.S. cent. This may not sound like much, but consider: Doubling the current ladybird density in two-thirds of Chinese cotton fields could bring farmers around $300 million per year.

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CABI joins Koppert to reduce the reliance on chemical use in pest management in Kenya

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CABI has initiated activities with Koppert Biological Systems to increase the fight against crop pests and diseases which threaten the food security and livelihoods of thousands of farmers and their families in Kenya.

CABI has signed a collaboration agreement with Koppert to deliver more Plantwise plant doctor training in Kenya, with funding from the Koppert Foundation. This includes plans to further raise the awareness and promotion of biocontrol methods as part of integrated pest management (IPM) advice given to farmers.

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Why African farmers should balance pesticides with other control methods

By Esther Ndumi Ngumbi. Reblogged from The Conversation.

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Insects are constantly adapting to methods used to control them. Shutterstock/Alf Ribeiro

Insect pests cause almost half of the crop losses in Africa. If the continent is to feed its growing population, farmers must find ways to control them. Pests account for high losses in other developing regions too.

For smallholder farmers in particular, pest management needs to be affordable, safe and sustainable. It should avoid the drawbacks of synthetic pesticides as far as possible. Research is now showing that integrated approaches can achieve these goals.

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Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle on Guam – an update

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An adult male coconut rhinoceros beetle. Emmy Engasser, Hawaiian Scarab ID, USDA APHIS ITP, Bugwood.org

10 years ago the Coconut Rhinoceros beetle (CRB) was first discovered on the western Pacific island of Guam. Since then, these shoe-shine black, miniature invaders have spread to all parts of the island and are laying waste to the local coconut and oil palm population. The economy, culture and ecology  of Guam and other Pacific islands are intrinsically linked to the native palm species such that the rhino beetle poses a major threat. The indigenous peoples of Guam have a long history of weaving palm fronds, an artistry that is now at risk due to the rhino beetle. These trees are a symbol of tropic paradise, a motif that drives Guam’s primary industry; tourism. Continue reading

Fall armyworm could cost Africa $2bn+ in lost harvest

DJHggJ4WsAAzkwI (1)Last week, CABI confirmed that since it arrived in Africa in 2016, the Fall Armyworm (FAW) has been reported in 28 African countries, presenting a now permanent agricultural challenge for the continent. FAW mainly affects maize and can cut yields by up to 60%. In research funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), CABI estimate that, if not properly managed, the pest will cost 10 of Africa’s major maize producing economies a total of $2.2bn to $5.5bn a year in lost maize harvests.

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Pakistan’s papaya pest squashed through biocontrol

By Saleem Shaikh. Reblogged from SciDev.Net

Pakistan’s papaya pest squashed through biocontrol
Copyright: G.M.B. Akash / Pano

A severe infestation of the papaya mealybug (Paracoccus marginatus) nearly wiped out papaya orchards in Pakistan before the largely farmed country decided to replace conventional chemical pesticides that were ineffective with natural predators that proved to be successful.

The system was developed by agro-biotechnologists and entomologists at the Pakistani chapter of the UK-based Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI) who introduced the use of Acerophagus papayae, a parasitoid (insects whose larvae parasite upon and eventually kill the host), to effectively control the mealybug infestation.

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Update: Plant Health News (09 Sep 15)

Weaver ants work as colonies to feed on crop pests, providing effective control © Troup Dresser, via Flickr
Weaver ants work as colonies to feed on crop pests, providing effective control © Troup Dresser, via Flickr

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the researchers attempting to prevent pest beetles entering avocado crops in Mexico,  the use of weaver ants in pest control to reduce pesticide use and the colonisation of crops such as lettuce with secondary pathogens.

Click on the link to read more of the latest plant health news!
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