Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Grant Application Deadline is Nearly Here

The hours are ticking down until Western IPM Center grant proposals are due, so if you've been putting off the final submission of your application documents, don't put it off much longer!

The application deadline is 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 18. Filing ahead ensures there are no last-minute hangups, power outages, misplaced flash drives, corrupt files, server crashes or the like.

And just think, once the application is in, there are still a few days left to do that last-minute Christmas shopping...

Good luck to everyone who is applying, and Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

While the Issue of Protecting Bees Goes to Court, Learn How You Can Protect Bees and Other Pollinators

It's been a busy week couple of weeks for bees.

On December 1, a two-year European Union moratorium on neonicotinoids went into effect, then last week a coalition of beekeeping groups sued the Environmental Protection Agency over its approval of the pesticide sulfoxaflor, which is highly toxic to honeybees. 

Sulfoxaflor, marketed by Dow Chemical under the brand names Closer and Transform, is a neonicotinoid but it belongs to a different subclass than the widely used imadicloprid. The suit claims the pesticide poses a threat to not just honeybees but other pollinators, and that the EPA violated the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act in registering the insecticide. The suit was filed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Read the opening brief here(In Europe, meanwhile, Syngenta and Bayer are suing to overturn the EU neonicotinoid ban.) 

While the fate of these chemicals gets played out in court, the Pacific Northwest Extension just updated its excellent publication, "How to Reduce Bee Poisoning from Pesticides." Download it it here

The 36-page publication includes sections on the causes of bee poisoning, signs and symptoms of bee poisoning, ways growers and applicators can protect bees and ways beekeepers can protect bees, among several others.

The heart of the document is a full-color table that rates common active ingredients based on their toxicity to bees. (There is also a table of trade names listing the active ingredients in each.)

The publication was written by Louisa Hooven and Ramesh Sagili at Oregon State University, and Erik Johnsen at the Washington State Department of Agriculture. The Pacific Northwest Extension is a cooperative effort between Oregon State University, Washington State University and the University of Idaho.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Alaska Recruits Citizen Scientists to Watch Out for Invasive Species

To expand the number of eyes watching out for exotic and invasive pests, the Alaska IPM Program is recruiting “Citizen Scientists” to be on the lookout for unusual insects, plants and disease organisms throughout the state.

“Citizen scientists, or perceptive people, have made some of the most significant pest detections in recent decades, including the Asian Longhorn Beetle and other invasive species,” said Gino Graziano, an invasive species instructor with the program. “Our goal is to educate individuals who enjoy observing the natural world and are curious about learning more about what they see.”

The more citizen scientists looking for insect, plant and disease organisms throughout our state, Graziano said, the better informed officials will be on issues that may impact the environment, natural resources and the state’s food supply.

To make reporting easy, the Alaska IPM Program set up a pest identification and reporting portal on the web, allowing folks to easily upload their digital photos of unusual insects and plants.

“The information submitted is sent to a statewide team who promptly respond with information regarding the sample,” Graziano said. “As needed, information can be sent to local or state land resource managers who quickly respond to potential problems.”

So far in 2013, citizen scientists have uploaded 30 submissions to the site, and although none were new species in the state, several were high-priority weeds, Graziano said. 

The Alaska IPM Citizen Monitoring Portal can be found at www.uaf.edu/ces/ipm/cmp/