Improved Pest Control From Macho Hormone Treated Male Fruit Flies

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The Mexican Fruit Fly Anastrepha ludens is the most important native fruit fly pest of citrus in America and also infests other economically important crops such as peaches, peppers and mangoes. In cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Mexico has developed a Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) method which involves exposing huge quantities of male fruit flies to…
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Down the pan

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How about I start this week’s blog with a question……what is the common link between the newly-constructed toilet block in Kithimu market place and Maize streak virus (MSV)?
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Puddles of pests: why the weather really matters

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Weather – an integral part of farming ©Paul Dickson While folklore has worked well for many farmers over the years, watching out for red skies or the wind changing direction isn’t always convenient, and a little more notice of hurricanes and tropical storms is usually appreciated. With recent stories of rain beating down on mangoes in…
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Need to control rodents on your crops? Use birds of prey!

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The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel is encouraging farmers to use barn owls (Tyto alba) to control rodent pests on their crops. They aim to attract barn owls by constructing nest boxes; so far 2,000 have been distributed to farmers. As barn owls only hunt at night, day-hunting kestrels are also being…
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Amino acid stops citrus industry going sour

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Lime Swallowtail by Tarique Sani, SANIsoft, Bugwood.org The citrus industry is of significant economic importance to the US, so when any potential pest appears on the horizon there is cause for concern. When the lime swallowtail (Papilio demoleus) was found in the Caribbean in 2006, scientists realised that it may only be a matter of time before these strong fliers appear…
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New plant disease records from CABI scientists in 2011

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In 2011, CABI scientists helped to discover new occurrences of disease-causing phytoplasmas and fungi in Africa, Asia and Oceania. Our scientists, based in Egham in southeast England, provide the Plantwise diagnostic service free of charge to developing countries to support the plant clinics, which give advice to farmers with plant health problems. They work in…
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Remote microscope networks enable long distance pest diagnoses

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The Cooperative Research Centre for National Plant Biosecurity (CRCNPB) in Australia is developing a new way to share information on crop pests and diseases. In addition to providing diagnostic tools in the form of a database on plant pests similar to Plantwise’s Knowledge Bank, they have created an online remote microscope network, which “allows species…
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Creating super banana plants in the fight against nematode worms

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Scientists in the UK and Uganda are developing a genetically modified (GM) variety of banana that is resistant to nematode worms, which account for a high percentage of banana crop losses in Africa. It is estimated that the losses of crops due to nematodes amounts to $125 billion a year. Currently, nematodes are controlled using…
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Virtual farming becomes a reality

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Screenshot of a farming app, image from TheAppera The modern world seems to have an increasing fascination with virtual farming, as more and more of us are downloading applications like ‘FarmVille’ and ‘Zombie farm’. For farmers in Tanzania growing crops successfully is much more than a game, but they are now joining smartphone users to try to increase their…
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1000 new ‘Plant Doctors’ trained in Karnataka

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Nearly 1000 farmers in Karnataka are set to be trained as ‘Plant Doctors’ in a major programme funded by the Karnataka State Department of Agriculture and Bio-Control Research Laboratories (BCRL), part of Pest Control India Ltd. (PCI), and supported by CABI. By the end of March 2011 there will be enough trained plant health workers…
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