Herbicide-resistant superweeds threaten to overgrow U.S. fields, so agriculture companies have genetically engineered a new generation of plants to withstand heavy doses of multiple, extra-toxic weed-killing chemicals.
Mark Smallwood first learned about compost as a child while preparing a garden for growing onions. "My earliest memories are in the garden with my grandmother, making compost," said Smallwood, executive director for the Rodale Institute in Maxatawny Township.
Anyone who spends time in the outdoors is probably aware of the dangers ticks pose to pets and people. Despite some anecdotal evidence that there could be a boom in the tick population in 2012, experts say it’s really too soon to tell.
Leah Tyrrell wants to make something clear: She does not wear ladybug sweatshirts. She does not carry her belongings in ladybug bags, shelter from the rain beneath a ladybug-shaped umbrella, or take notes with pens decorated with little ladybugs.
Starbucks Corp said on its blog on Thursday that it will stop using a natural, government-approved coloring made from crushed beetles in its strawberry flavoring by late June, bowing to pressure from some vegetarian customers.
Buy local means many things to many people. It is the heirloom tomato grown on a Perry County farm, sliced and paired with locally made buffalo mozzarella cheese on a caprese salad. It is the coffee, roasted by hand and brewed from bean to cup at the corner coffee shop. Or the neighbors chipping in to purchase organic grass-fed beef from a nearby farm.
Dealing with herbicide resistant crops is a way of life for Richard Wilkins of Greenwood, Del. The first herbicide resistant weed discovery was made in 2000 on a farm a few miles from his. Wilkins, along with Penn State Extension weed specialist Bill Curran, discussed the challenges and realities of weed herbicide resistance Monday with members of the North American Agricultural Journalists.
Flies, odors and neighbors — oh my. During the Technology Tuesday webinar sponsored by the Penn State Dairy Team, the topic turned from cow comfort to tackle another farm issue, flies and odors. Robert Graves, professor of agricultural engineering at Penn State, said the goal is to keep flies and odor-making microbes “uncomfortable.” Unhappy flies and other pests mean smaller populations.
Having been a county Extension director in Lebanon County for the past 12 years, Winifred McGee has had to split her time wisely between her administrative duties and providing programs to the public. But with recent changes to Penn State’s Extension system, McGee is returning to her first love — focusing solely on education.
The controversy over possible links between massive bee die-offs and agricultural pesticides has overshadowed another threat: the use of those same pesticides in backyards and gardens. Neonicotinoid pesticides are ubiquitous in everday consumer plant treatments, and may expose bees to far higher doses than those found on farms, where neonicotinoids used in seed coatings are already considered a major problem by many scientists.
The PA IPM News Spring 2012 edition is now available as a downloadable PDF file and includes articles on bed bugs, ants, Christmas tree scouting reports, green cleaning products, West Nile virus and more.
Sunshine dappled the surface of Lake Scranton and the sky was pastel blue, but Erin McBride found herself running through a black cloud on her daily jog. "This is the worst I've seen it so far this year," the 25-year-old Old Forge native said after her run Tuesday. "It was definitely a cloud (of insects). I had to keep my head down to keep from getting them in my eyes and mouth."
A scientist believes people living in the Northeast might be at greater risk of contracting Lyme disease this year than ever before. That's the unsettling assessment by Richard S. Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y.
A weed couldn't ask for better weather than we've had so far this year. The same extraordinarily warm start that had our dogwoods blooming three weeks early has been a boon to weeds as well -- especially ones that sprout from seed in late winter to early spring.
Pennsylvania’s state tree — the eastern hemlock — is threatened by a bug in about three-quarters of counties. Local farmers hope to draw attention to the problem, and Penn State researchers are working to find a natural enemy to combat the bug — the hemlock woolly adelgid.
When Donna Fisher's 12-year-old son, Matthew, woke up one morning complaining of back pain, she thought he had just slept awkwardly. "I started to rub his back and he said, 'You have to stop — that hurts,' " said Fisher, a New Kensington resident. When Fisher called to check on him later that day, Matthew said his older brother, Sean, told him he had a blackhead on his back.
Because of the very mild winter, some of the area's most annoying pests never went dormant, making this spring "horrendous" for ticks and fleas, one local doctor says. The size and strength of the stink bug population is left up to anyone's guess.
Monday night was sleepless for Adam Voll, who spent the wee hours fanning apple trees and irrigating peach trees at his family's farm in Butler County, where the temperature fell to 19 degrees, damaging at least some of the crops.
Warm weather beckons us outdoors. It also brings out the bugs. Both of them together can be a dangerous combination. Especially if it's blood-sucking deer ticks that latch themselves onto your skin and can cause a painful and debilitating disease.
A mild winter that’s ending with an early warm-up can be a great thing for sun lovers and folks with an aversion to the cold. But it can also cause some problems: • a potential for ruined fruit crops. • an early start for some allergies. • and the early appearance of some stinging insects.
The brown marmorated stink bug — an invasive species officials have been worried about for more than a year — has been confirmed in Markleton. The voracious plant-eater, identified by scientists at Pennsylvania State University, was found by Tony Marich in his home.
A small, glitter-green insect that has killed more than 50 million ash trees in the Midwest and beyond has arrived in the Philadelphia region. Officials had both dreaded and expected it - just not this soon.
U.S. poison centers answer more than four million calls each year. That’s one call every eight seconds! This March marks the 50th anniversary of National Poison Prevention Week. In honor of this important occasion, the U.S. EPA is hosting a conference call on poison prevention with Administrator Lisa P. Jackson on Monday, March 19 at 10:30am EDT.
When Dr. Larry Hull entered the world of land-grant university tree fruit entomologists in 1972, integrated pest management was just the new kid on the block. The idea of IPM was to draw back from the heavy reliance on chemical pesticides and to integrate a diverse group of pest control tactics, most of which were just ideas that needed to be developed.
A dead Camponotus leonardi ant infected by Ophiocordyceps unilateralis s.l, a brain-manipulating fungus. The fungus has grown stalks from the ant's head and the bulbous, reddish tissue on the stalks are ascomata (spore producing bodies), from which spores are shot out nightly to infect new hosts.
Pennsylvania’s fruit orchards remain free of the Plum Pox virus. That’s the good news relayed by State Agriculture Secretary George Greig, reporting on the results of a survey conducted last summer in Adams, Cumberland, Franklin and York counties.
It appears growers are at least doing their part to control the brown marmorated stink bug, or Asian stink bug as it is now referred to, as evidenced by their apparent decline in numbers in orchards last season.
Martin Overline doesn't like to brag, so he leaves it to others to say what he will not: He ranks among the best mouse men on the East Coast. He doesn't breed mice or collect them for study. He kills them. Sends them on their furry, four-footed journey to that giant mousetrap in the sky. And metes out similar fates to other creeping, crawling pests.
David Mortensen, a weed ecologist at Penn State University, predicts that weeds will evolve resistance to new herbicides too. He says it's a kind of treadmill, where farmers constantly need new weedkillers. "When one herbicide fails, you add a second herbicide, and then a third herbicide to the package. And I am convinced that this is not a sustainable path forward," he says.
Steve Jacobs. Jacobs, a senior extension associate with the Pennsylvania State University Department of Entomology, talked about the brown marmorated stink bug at a recent Chicago pest management conference.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released for public comment the K-12 School Environmental Health Program Guidelines for States, Tribes and Territories. The guidelines are primarily intended to be used as a resource for the establishment of a state, tribal, or territorial K-12 school environmental health program. EPA encourages the public to review the draft guidelines and provide comments by April 13, 2012.
As bed bugs continue to be a growing problem in apartment buildings, dorm rooms, hotels, hospitals and homes across the country, a new treatment method is proving to be very effective and less disruptive for students at Penn State.
Take a walk down the aisle of your local supermarket or hardware store and you’ll see plenty of products with labels using phrases like “eco-safe” and “environmentally friendly”. Such “green” claims can help us choose better products, but how can we be sure they are what they claim?
Over-reliance on glyphosate-type herbicides for weed control on U.S. farms has created a dramatic increase in the number of genetically-resistant weeds, according to a team of agricultural researchers, who say the solution lies in an integrated weed management program.
Penn State Cooperative Extension has played a key role in the success of many agriculture-related businesses. "We would not be in business without Penn State Extension and their expertise," said Pat Frazier, owner of Lock Mountain Strawberries on Lock Mountain Road, west of Martinsburg.
The three-decades-old initiative to restore American chestnut trees back into forests in the eastern United States has entered a new phase, according to an expert in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- Building on relationships with Philadelphia child cares, a new Pennsylvania Integrated Pest Management project with the city’s child care directors will promote safer and healthier indoor environments in these facilities.
The 7th International IPM Symposium, "IPM on the World Stage-Solutions for Global Pest Challenges," will be held in Memphis, Tennessee USA on March 27-29, 2012 at the Memphis Cook Convention Center. Symposium sessions will address Integrated Pest Management (IPM) across disciplines, internationally, in the market place, agricultural, structural community settings, horticultural, and natural environments.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Fruit tree viruses are very costly to nursery owners, fruit producers, and consumers. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s virus testing certification ensures that fruit trees produced at participating nurseries are being grown using practices that greatly reduce the presence of common viruses.
Something is very wrong with the bees. Since 2006, the mysterious phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder has wiped out countless honeybee colonies throughout Europe and North America, and nobody knows why. But a weird parasite may hold the answer.
One of the nation's most widely planted crops — a genetically engineered corn plant that makes its own insecticide — may be losing its effectiveness because a major pest appears to be developing resistance more quickly than scientists expected.