Aphids threaten crops!

1 Aphids, also known as plant lice, are diminutive, soft bodied, pear shaped insects which feed on plants, typically during the spring and summer seasons. Aphids are amongst the most common type of garden pests and are commonly green in color, though they can also found in pink, brown, yellow and black. There are over 200 species of aphid s, some of which will only feed on specific types of plants, while the majorities are content to eat a myriad of different plants. Aphids are capable of asexual reproduction and can spawn throughout most of the year, sometimes producing nearly 100 young per aphid in the course of just one week. Because reproduction occurs so rapidly, what starts out as a small aphid problem in a garden, farm or greenhouse can quickly become an infestation without adequate intervention.

Aphids are mostly less than 1/4 in. (6 mm) long. Some are wingless; others have two pairs of transparent or colored wings, the front pair longer than the hind pair. In typical aphids (family Aphididae), two tubes called cornicles project from the rear of the abdomen and exude protective substances. Aphids feed by inserting their beaks and sucking sap from stems, leaves, or roots.

downloadMany kinds of aphids secrete a sweet substance called honeydew, prized as food by ants, flies, and bees. This substance consists of partially digested, highly concentrated plant sap and other wastes, and is excreted often in copious amounts. Certain aphid species have a symbiotic relationship with various species of ants that resembles the relationship of domestic cattle to humans; hence the name “ant cows” for aphids. The ants tend the aphids, transporting them to their food plants at the appropriate stages of the aphids’ life cycle and sheltering the aphid eggs in their nests during the winter. The aphids, in turn, provide honeydew for the ants.

download (2)Damaging aphid populations may develop over a span of several years. Generally medium to low annual rainfall zones are at a greater risk than high annual rainfall zones. Although aphids usually arrive earlier in high rainfall zones, their populations are often kept at relatively low numbers. This is believed to be due to mortalities caused by a combination of strong winds and rain, high natural enemy numbers such as parasites, and fungi, which thrive in high humidity. Direct feeding damage, occurs when colonies of 30 or more aphids develop on individual growing tips.

The degree of damage depends on the varietal susceptibility, the growth stage of the crop, the percentage of plants infested, the number of aphids per growing tip, and the duration of the infestation. Feeding damage often has no obvious signs or symptoms, although heavily infested plants may be covered in black sooty moulds, which live on the sugary honeydew excreted by aphids, and flowers may be aborted. Other signs of damage include down curled leaves and wilting. The damage causes yield and quality losses, by reducing seed size and weight and numbers of pods per plant.

download (1)The damage done by aphids is due to a number of causes, including loss of sap, clogging of leaf surfaces with honeydew, and growth of molds and fungi on the honeydew. Leaf curl, a common symptom of aphid infestation, occurs when a colony attacks the underside of a leaf, causing its desiccation. The downward curl provides protection for the colony, but the leaf becomes useless to the plant. Some species also transmit viral diseases of plants. Among the aphids causing serious damage to food crops are the grain, cabbage, corn root, apple, woolly apple, and hickory aphids and the alder and beech tree blights. Direct damage caused by aphids feeding can cause yield losses of more than 50% in susceptible Lupin varieties. Yellow lupins are the most prone to aphid colonization and occasionally feeding damage may be so bad that crops fail to yield.

Let us take a look at the below article:

Aphids damage early crops

06 Aug, 2013 05:00 AM

 

There has been significant aphid damage to early sown crops, particular in central NSW.

Pest Facts reported there were many accounts of damage in the Central Tablelands region around Mudgee, NSW.

The damage began in July once the resistance imparted by seed treatment wore off.

Oats have been one of the worst impacted crops.

Oat aphid, corn aphid and rose grain aphid favor barley, but are found in all cereal crops. Heavy infestations of these sap sucking insects cause the crop to turn yellow, be stunted and generally appear unthrifty.

All three aphids can damage crops by feeding on them and in some instances by spreading barley yellow dwarf virus.

 

The above article shows the extent of damage these creatures can cause. There have been various other articles published which illustrate the extent of damage caused by aphids. According to a recent study by researchers at Iowa State University aphids has become a threat to soybean in the recent years because they possess a unique ability to block the genetic defense response of soybeans and may open the door for other pests to do even more damage to the crops. Their research further made significant contribution as the scientist stated that Aphids emerged as a serious threat to Iowa soybeans around 2000. The insects are native to Asia and most likely came to the United States via  international travelers or plants brought into the country.  In the years since, aphids have caused soybean farmers major headaches, reducing yields in affected fields by up to 40 percent, a scientist said.

These creatures thus cause a lot of damage in the agricultural sector. Also they invite more pests like the ants to the plants further endangering them. Conventional methods used to combat them include the use of toxic pesticides which are extremely hazardous to the environment. New methods need to be developed to do away with aphids for good. The method used should be 100% effective and should not endanger the environment in any way whatsoever.

Termirepel™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous insect and pest repellant. It can be best described as a termite aversive. It is effective against a multitude of other insects and pests like weevils, beetles, thirps, bugs, aphids etc. It works on the mechanism of repellence and therefore does not kill the target as well as non-target species. Being non-toxic, it does not harm the soil and environment. Termirepel™ can be added to a thin agricultural film to protect plants and crops from insects like aphids. It can also be incorporated in irrigation pipes to ward of pests.

 

 

Termirepel™ in agricultural films: A solution to all our pest problems

a2Agriculture is still the means of livelihood for a vast section of human population all over the world. Inspite of the tremendous progress that has been made in this sector, it continues to be riddled with problems pertaining to pests. Pests are the nemesis of the agricultural sector. Every year millions of tons of crops are being damaged owing to pest damage. Currently 10-16% of global crop production is lost to pests. Crop pests include fungi, bacteria, viruses, insects, nematodes, viroids and oomycetes. The diversity of crop pests continues to expand and new strains are continually evolving. Losses of major crops to fungi, and fungi-like microorganisms, amount to enough to feed nearly nine percent of today’s global population.

Insects are responsible for two major kinds of damaged2to growing crops. First is direct injury done to the plant by the feeding insect, which eats leaves or burrows in stems, fruit, or roots. There are hundreds of pest species of this type, both in larvae and adults, among orthopterans, homopterans, heteropterans, coleopterans, lepidopterans, and dipterans. The second type is indirect damage in which the insect itself does little or no harm but transmits a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection into a crop. Examples include the viral diseases of sugar beets and potatoes, carried from plant to plant by aphids.

dCrops and agricultural produce are susceptible to damage by insects and pests at each stage from pre-harvest to post harvest level. Post harvest damage recorded in Asia alone is approximately 6%. Every year millions of dollars worth food grains are lost to pests! Furthermore according to survey by World Food Program there are 842 million undernourished people in the world today. That means one in eight people do not get enough food to be healthy and lead an active life. In such circumstances, such blatant wastage of food should be avoided at all costs. This is uninvited and unwanted charity!

bIn our efforts to stem the damage to agricultural produce owing to pests, we have taken refuge in the use of toxic pesticides. Although this has helped stem the damage to a considerable extent, they are not always effective. What they do simultaneously is irrevocable damage to our natural environment, having a negative effect on all its components. Toxic pesticides used rampantly in the agricultural sector worldwide contain extremely toxic potential carcinogens which are harmful to humans as well as to beneficial insect species like bees. Neonicotinoid which is principal components of numerous popular pesticides has been proved to be the sole cause of the Colony Collapse Disorder syndrome! It’s estimated that over the past five years, some 30 percent of bees in the United States have either disappeared or failed to survive to pollinate blossoms in the spring. That’s about 50% more than the rate expected. The problem is direr in some other countries. In Spain, recent data indicate a loss close to 80% of beehives.

The use of these toxic pesticides needs to be discouraged for the sake of the greater good. But at the same time crops need to be protected from the onslaught of vicious pests.

The use of agricultural films as a means to safeguard crops from pests has been explored since the past some years. Agricultural films are basically low weight LDPE or PE plastic films. Mulches, silage bags are just varied forms of a basic agricultural film. According to a new market report published by Transparency Market Research “Agricultural Films (LDPE, LLDPE, HDPE, EVA/EBA, Reclaims and Others) Market for Greenhouse, Mulching and Silage Applications Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2013 – 2019,” the global agricultural film market was valued at USD 5.87 billion in 2012 and is expected to reach USD 9.66 billion by 2019, growing at a CAGR of 7.6% from 2013 to 2019. In terms of volume, the global demand was 4,410.3 kilo tons in 2012 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.7% from 2013 to 2019.” Thus we can see that agricultural film usage is growing at a fast rate.

 

Agricultural films are being used increasingly in a bid to preserve and nurture plant health by preventing water loss, UV stabilization to cool soil and prevent insect attack, etc. But after using agricultural film too, the plants can still be susceptible to pests. This is so as these agricultural films are usually made of plastics like Polyethylene (PE), LDPE, etc; which can be easily damaged or chewed through by rodents and other pests. This would effectively leave the plants vulnerable to further attack by pests. Agricultural films by themselves are not insect and pest resistant. The agricultural film will be useful to the plant only if it could prevent pests from attacking it.

 

Thus there is a need for addition of some kind of additive in the agricultural film so as to make it effective against insects and pests. Termirepel™ a product by C Tech Corporation is a non-toxic, non-hazardous termite and insect aversive. It is available in the form of a polymer compatible masterbatch and thus can be incorporated in the agricultural film during the manufacturing process itself. It is an inert compound and highly stable at high extrusion temperatures. Also it is stable within the polymer matrix and will not leach out in the environment. It is developed keeping the safety of the environment in mind and is therefore eco-friendly. Termirepel™ works on the mechanism of repellence whereby it acts on different levels ensuring that the target species is repelled away from the application. It does not kill and is therefore not life-threatening to the target as well as non-target species.

Termirepel™ is the right choice in our quest for alternative methods to protect crops from pest and in turn save agriculture!

 

 

 

Termite damage!

Termites though extremely small and tiny creatures have managed to stir us imageshumans into noticing them and acknowledging their existence. The primary reason is the tune of damage they cause which has a direct impact on the economy of the country and thus the humans. Termites attack in groups and feed on any form of cellulose especially wood. This little bit of trivia makes us realize that almost everything around us is susceptible to a termite attack. Termites always seek for moisture filled places and therefore basements and the space under wooden boards are their favorable infestation places. Termite damage often looks similar to water damage. Outward signs of termite damage include buckling wood, swollen floor sand ceilings, areas that appear to be suffering from slight water damage and visible mazes within walls or furniture. Termite infestations also can exude a scent similar to mildew or mold. Dry wood termite infestations may only become apparent after a colony has burrowed so deeply into an infested item that the veneer cracks and the maze-like tunnels beneath become visible. Such damage is common in antique furniture pieces.

Termite swarm season will arrive with warmer weather

RUTH CORRELLMAR 26, 2014

 Subterranean termites are the most destructive wood-feeding insect in Tennessee, and even though they do their part to recycle dead and fallen trees back into the soil, termites can also attack the wood, paper and other wood scrap sources around a home, according to University of Tennessee entomologist, Dr. Karen Vail.

The National Pest Management Association estimates that it costs the U.S. about $5 billion per year to repair and treat damage caused by these insects.

Dr. Vail says that termite signs should be easy to spot. “The termite swarm season will be starting shortly. Winged termites will fly, drop to the ground, drop their wings and search for a moist, protected area to mate and start their colony. In a home, the swarmers, or a pile of their wings, are often found on the window sill.”

Winged termites can be distinguished from winged ants fairly easily. Termite wings images (3)are nearly equal in size and shape, but the ant’s front wings are larger than the hind wings. Winged termites have straight antennae and the ants are elbowed. The termite thorax is broadly attached to the abdomen, but in the ant, the waist is pinched. In Tennessee, termite swarmers are typically dark brown to black.
Termite workers on the other hand are white, soft-bodied wingless insects that travel above ground in mud tubes that are as least as wide as a pencil. It is recommended to search your basement, crawlspace or foundation walls and look for these tubes.

When termites damage wood, they eat the softer wood and leave behind the denser wood giving the wood a layered effect. Mud will probably be present in the layers. Termite-damaged wood will be soft and allow a screwdriver to easily penetrate. Puckered paint may indicate termites are feeding below the surface.

If you do discover termites, it’s definitely time to call a pest management professional. Suggestions for choosing a pest management firm and termite control strategy can be found in the UT Extension publication Subterranean Termite Control. 

Dr. Vail reminds consumers not to be pressured into signing a contract with a pest control agency immediately. Termite damage occurs slowly. The amount of damage caused by taking an additional day, week, or month to make an informed decision is negligible.
Many structures were pretreated with a soil termiticide before the house was built and, if properly done, treatment should provide at least 5 years of protection. At other homes, a professionally installed and maintained termite baiting system may detect and treat termites. However, if wood or wood scraps were buried in the backfill, or under porches or steps, or if spreader boards or grade stakes were not removed before the concrete set, then termite food was left in place. Construction site preparation, installation and cleanup determine some of a structure’s susceptibility to subterranean termites.

The following suggestions can be followed to help make a home less conducive to subterranean termite invasion:

  • Reduce the amount of cellulose around the structure. Keep a 12- to 18-inch bare zone next to the foundation and use inorganic mulches (pea gravel or river stone) instead of plant-based ones “near” the foundation. Replace wooden landscape timbers with those made of other materials such as concrete or vinyl. Don’t stack firewood against the house. Keep tree roots from getting close to the foundation.
  • Reduce moisture sources around the home or building. Ensure the irrigation system is working properly. Termites love moisture to make mud tubes and for mating. Repair outdoor water faucet leaks quickly. Keep crawlspaces dry by either using a plastic cover with ventilation or by using an encapsulation system. The finished grade outside the house should slope away from the house to prevent water from collecting under the house. 

Termites can be controlled but total elimination is less certain. The homeowner should be vigilant at all times.

Thus we can see the extent of damage termites have caused and will continue to cause in the long run. This is an extremely unsettling revelation and needs immediate attention.

New methods need to be devised to exterminate this ever- hanging threat to our precious wooden structures. The time has come for going the unconventional way here. We at C Tech Corporation can provide a long lasting and effective solution to combat termite infestations. Our product Termirepel™ is a non-toxic and non- hazardous termite aversive. It is effective against a host of termite species including dampwood termites as also the most aggressive ones. It is available in the form of polymer compatible masterbatches as well as in lacquer form. Termirepel™ is the one and only effective solution to our termite woes!