The Bugs Are Coming, and They’ll Want More of Our Food

Reblogged from The New York Times

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A European corn borer caterpillar. Many insects get hungrier and reproduce more quickly in warmer temperatures. Credit Scott Camazine/Science Source

Climate change is expected to make insect pests hungrier, which could encourage farmers to use more pesticides.

Ever since humans learned to wrest food from soil, creatures like the corn earworm, the grain weevil and the bean fly have dined on our agricultural bounty. Worldwide, insect pests consume up to 20 percent of the plants that humans grow for food, and that amount will increase as global warming makes bugs hungrier, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Science.

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Shifting gears: expansion of e-plant clinics in Kenya

“No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid!”  Passionate words spoken in 2014 during an indelible Oscar moment. The utterance of these words, coupled with the winning of an Academy Award, announced Lupita Nyong’o’s entry into the global stage. Two years later in Lupita’s country of origin, Kenya, long-held dreams in the plant health sector are realized.

Plant doctors (in green lab coats) attending to farmers at Kithumu plant clinic in Embu County

Indeed, the journey to realizing the usefulness of mobile technologies for the plant health sector has been long, and to some extent treacherous. Was the Plantwise program setting up the agricultural extension officers for failure? Was the program having unrealistic expectations? Could it be, in the program’s quest to keep up with the times, it was essentially building an ivory tower? All these were questions Plantwise grappled with in 2014 when it introduced mobile technologies for the running of plant clinics.

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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (13 Jul 16)

Naga King chilis in India are being attacked by invasive mealybugs  © Asit K. Ghosh
Naga King chilis in India are being attacked by invasive mealybugs © Asit K. Ghosh

We’ve selected a few of the latest new geographic, host and species records for plant pests and diseases from CAB Abstracts. Records this fortnight include new host records for the fruit fly Ceratitis capitata in the state of Pará, Brazil, the presence of Meloidogyne enterolobii on Jalapeño pepper in Sinaloa, Mexico and the first report of the invasive mealybug Phenacoccus parvus infesting Naga King chili in India.

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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (29 Jun 16)

Anthracnose caused by Colletotrichum nymphaeae has been identified on peppers in Malaysia © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 2009
Anthracnose caused by Colletotrichum nymphaeae has been identified on peppers in Malaysia © Queen’s Printer for Ontario, 2009

We’ve selected a few of the latest new geographic, host and species records for plant pests and diseases from CAB Abstracts. Records this fortnight include the first report of powdery mildew (Erysiphe quercicola) on rubber trees in Viet Nam, the occurrence of anthracnose fruit rot (Colletotrichum nymphaeae) on pepper in Malaysia and the characterization of a novel polerovirus infecting maize in China.

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Update: Plant Health News (22 Jun 16)

Opuntia stricta 3
Invasive cactus Opuntia stricta in Maasai community areas, Kenya © CABI

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the effects of Tuta absoluta on tomato prices in Zambia, hail causing damage to crops in Colombia and the threat of invasive species on agriculture around the world.

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

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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (08 Jun 16)

Healthy peanut pods © ICRISAT (CC BY-NC)
Healthy peanut pods © ICRISAT (CC BY-NC)

We’ve selected a few of the latest new geographic, host and species records for plant pests and diseases from CAB Abstracts. Records this fortnight include the first report of Curvularia lunata causing fruit rot of tomato in Pakistan, the characterization and occurrence of squash chlorotic leaf spot virus infecting cucurbits in Sudan and the first report of Rhizoctonia solani causing peanut pod rot in China.

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Update: Plant Health News (01 Jun 16)

Hydroponic gardening (Kurman Communications, CC BY)
Hydroponic gardening (Kurman Communications, CC BY)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including Hydroponic lettuce production in Vietnam, Indian fruit growers demanding ban on counterfeit pesticides and Tuta absoluta hits Nigeria.

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

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