Fire ants in the hole!

Once upon a time, leaving a sweet treat on the kitchen counter was considered the ultimate fireantinvitation for ants to march into the kitchen and help themselves to their favorite food. The times have changed, and so have the ants’ interests. Sweets have now moved down the “favorites list” of ants and the newest addition to the list, at position one is, literally shockingly, electricity! Apparently, passing an electric current through your wires is now analogous to inviting ants for an “electric rendezvous”. A species of ants, known as ‘fire ants’, have been found to be attracted in large numbers to electric boxes around UK. Nests of these ants in electric boxes and around equipments have raised legitimate concerns about this new ‘electrifying relationship’ between the ants and wires carrying electrons!

article_img (1)The main concern, however, isn’t this newfound interest of ants. It’s the problems arising from it. An aggressive species like the fire ants will destroy anything and everything that comes in their way. Be it another living species, or a bunch of colorful wires! Fire ants nesting in an electricity box will eventually destroy the wires inside. This is when the real problem starts. Frayed live wires are the embodiment of a fire hazard. They’re literally, a catastrophe in the making! And the fire ants, being as aggressive as they are, will go large extents to get what they want; which in this case is an intangible form of energy!

Wires frayed and eaten by these ants pose a great risk of short-circuiting, and may even culminate into a fire. It’s only fitting that fire ants would lead to such an accident, although that’s not where they get the name from. Belonging to the genus Solenopsis, this species has derived its common name from its red colored appearance, and its painful sting.

The notorious fire ants have gained infamy overnight due to the many conquered electric CPT120196946_highboxes, housed plug sockets, and destroyed electric wires. Needless to say, the adventurous species is more resilient than it’s more common counterparts. Power outages have not become a recurring problem due to this species as yet, but with exponentially multiplying colonies that have taken a special liking to wires, such incidences may hit the limelight soon. Media reports about London being taken by storm by these little gangsters have been doing the rounds lately. Here’s a report from ‘Metro’:

 

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Forget giant rats: Super ants discovered in London

Friday 25 Jul 2014 8:37 am

1000x70518An invasion of super ants that are attracted to electricity is feared to be spreading across the south of the country after a large nest was discovered in a house in London.

The Asian super ants, also known as fire ants, were first seen in the UK in 2009 where more than 35,000 were discovered inside a National Trust property in Gloucestershire.

But now experts fear the ants are spreading, after a colony was unearthed in a house in Hendon in north-west London – nearly 100 miles from the first site – and in Buckinghamshire.

‘The problems with them are they seem to get attracted to electricity and they can take up residence in plug sockets and power sources, creating a fire hazard,’ Jo Hodgkins, a wildlife and countryside adviser at the National Trust, told The Telegraph.

‘They can easily establish themselves in somewhere like Britain and I would not be surprised if they colonised other areas. They are pretty tough little creatures.’

The ant’s attraction to electricity is stronger even than basic instincts like the need for food or water, meaning the creatures will go to extraordinary lengths to get to electricity sources like chewing through cables and getting inside plug sockets.

Extermination company Cleankill told the MailOnline the infestation in Hendon was ‘serious’ and that the fire ants were more resilient than normal ants.

It is rather strange that the fire ants are driven by an attraction to electricity that’s stronger than the desirability of food and water! Nevertheless, it is of essence that this new attraction be contained, lest we have eaten wires, short circuits, and eventual fires all around us! These ants are especially dangerous since their attack is stealthy and at the same time aggressive. Thus, they might eat up the entire wiring of the house, without so much as a sound!

Clearly, the need for a solution to this ant problem cannot be stressed enough; and toxic chemicals like DDT aren’t acceptable. Wires, electric sockets and electric boxes, all are vulnerable to the stealthy fire ant colonies that are undeterred even with pest control and other ingenious solutions. C Tech Corporation offers a unique, non-toxic and non-hazardous solution to this problem: Termirepel is the result of innovative thinking and green technology that provides efficient solutions to all insect troubles. Termirepel™ can be incorporated into polymer applications like cables and wires, as well as electric boxes in the masterbatch form. It can also be applied in the form of a liquid coating. Appliances can be fortified against such aggressive species like fire ants using this state-of-the-art product. Thus, Termirepel™ assures safer electrical networks, and in turn safer homes!

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid- A threat to the Queen of Conifers!

The dark but delicate beauty of hemlocks has inspired various poems and songs for centuries. Feathery, lacy and graceful, these trees are gorgeous additions to the landscape. No wonder that the hauntingly beautiful hemlock is referred to as the queen of conifers! wt4eSadly, the giant hemlocks are under attack by an invasive insect barely visible to the eye but potent enough to completely wipe out these evergreens. For nearly 60 years or so, the woolly adelgid, which originated in Japan, has been killing our beloved hemlocks. It is called a woolly adelgid, because it is covered with a “woolly”, or fluffy white waxy covering for most of its life. This adelgid primarily sucks the sap out of the tree and deprives the tree of nutrients and sugar for energy. This defoliation could result in the death of a hemlock in around 3-6 years!

The Hemlock woolly adelgid first arrived in the U.S. Pacific Northwest via nursery plants from Japan in 1924. Since then the insect has spread to more than 15 US states! These crawlers feed on the new growth of hemlocks by piercing the twigs that hold the branches, sucking the sap, and injecting toxic saliva. The needles turn from a deep green to a greyish greenadelgid and eventually die, depriving the tree of nutrition from photosynthesis. Infection is signaled by either a white, cotton-like material that appears along a tree’s twigs or by the ‘baldness’ of a tree’s upper branches. The hemlock woolly adelgid has enjoyed remarkable success in destroying trees because of its impressive reproductive potential: consider that one female in the winter generation produces an average of 200 eggs which in turn mature and each female of this generation produces on average another 200 eggs each. That’s 40,000 eggs in one year, starting from one individual female!

 Because large woodland tracts of hemlocks are being decimated, the environment is being impacted negatively in several ways. Resultant erosion and heating up of streams destroys fish, other wildlife and watersheds. In Michigan, hemlocks had decreased by almost 70% in imagesthe short 20 year span between 1935 and 1955. Hemlock forests, which covered about 41% of the land area of the Bruce Peninsula, are almost non-existent today. Currently, more than 5000 acres of hemlocks across 119,000 acres in the southern tip of York County are considered infested with scattered, low level adelgid populations. These insects have killed almost 90% of hemlock trees in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. To mitigate the impact of the adelgid, the United States Forest Service has funded around $4.5 million per year in recent years!

The severity of this issue can be better understood by reading the following article.

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Hemlock Woolly Adelgid in Skaneateles Lake Watershed

Posted on: June 23, 2014  

Published by: Kristina Ferrare  

The invasive insect, Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (Adelges tsugae) also known as HWA has recently been confirmed on hemlock trees in the Bahar Nature Reserve along the western shore of Skaneateles Lake in the Town of Niles, and recently confirmed by the NYS DEC along the eastern shore in the Town of Spafford. HWA was first confirmed in Cayuga County in 2012, and has significantly expanded its range into the Owasco Lake Watershed and into Fillmore Glen State Park.

HWA is a tiny aphid-like insect that feeds on twigs at the base of hemlock needles. The damage prevents the transport of nutrients to the needles and buds, effectively starving the tree. Tree death commonly occurs six or more years after infestation in the Finger Lakes region, but may cause death within 4 years in warmer states.  HWA gets its name from the white waxy hairs that protects the insect while it feeds in the winter, appearing like masses of white wool along the stems of hemlock branches.

Hemlock trees are known as keystone species – other species of plants and wildlife depend on hemlock trees as a food source, shelter, and insulation during summer and winter months. Without hemlock, the remaining ecological community also becomes threatened.  Hemlock is found in the deep coves and steep slopes characteristic of the southern end of Skaneateles Lake and much of the Finger Lakes region.

HWA has been in eastern US for well over 60 years, but didn’t get a foothold in NY until it was found in the lower Hudson Valley in the mid 1980’s. It has rapidly spread in recent years, likely aided by mild temperatures.  Recent cold weather has helped to slow the spread of HWA, but because it reproduces quickly, will have only a short term impact. Highly effective pesticide treatments are available, and research into biological controls in the Finger Lakes region is continuing.

Skaneateles Lake is the drinking water for the City of Syracuse and the widespread loss of hemlock has ecological consequences that can trigger loss of water quality in the lake. Treating hemlock trees for HWA should be done with caution in order to prevent unnecessary pesticide contamination into the Lake. 

Evidently, unless proper measures are taken, hemlock, which is one of the most common _Woolly Adlegid2trees in the US, may soon drop off the list, going the way of the now-vanished chestnut and elm due to the hemlock woolly adelgid. Infested hemlock trees can be protected individually with chemicals and insecticides. However, the costs associated with application, environmental safety concerns about applying toxic insecticides, and the tremendous reproductive potential of the adelgid makes this approach less feasible on a broad scale in natural areas. Also, it is obvious that simply removing and destroying infested stock, which proved so successful when dealing with individual infested trees, is not a feasible long term solution for addressing a large population of trees.

At C Tech Corporation, we offer a safe and infallible solution to deal with these tiny insects. Termirepel™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous product that primarily repels insects from the application. It is a broad spectrum repellent which works against almost 500 species of pestering bugs thus efficaciously fending them away from the application.  The best feature of this product is that it is an eco-friendly product that causes no harm to the insect as well as humans and the environment. It is available in masterbatch and lacquer form, and as a liquid solution. To keep these insects at bay, this product can be coated on the tree trunks in lacquer form. The repelling mechanism of the product would ward off the hemlock woolly adelgid and any other insect that could harm the hemlock trees. Thus, using Termirepel™ would effectively ensure that our cherished hemlocks remain protected from this destructive pest!

Wheat Midge attack- A farmer’s worst nightmare!

It has been surmised that for every person in the affluent North, one person is close to starvation in the South. Latin America has about 70 million hungry people; Africa has around 140 million, while South Asia has over 350 million hungry people! These statistics give us a orange-wheat-blossom-midge-sitodiplosis-mosellana-2-trap-system--206-p precise idea about the significance of sufficient agricultural production in the world. It has been reported that around 20-40% of the world’s agricultural production is lost due to pests, weeds and diseases. Thus, special emphasis needs to be given to sustain the production of atleast the major crops cultivated. Wheat is the most widely cultivated plant in the world, providing more than 20% of the food calories consumed. Out of all the pests that harm or damage the plant- the worst enemy of wheat is no doubt the wheat midge.

Wheat midge is a sporadic and occasional pest that occurs in some crops every year. Although the wheat midge predominantly attacks all wheat varieties, it may also harm other members of the grass family, including barley, couch grass, rye, etc. Midges may exist at low population levels for several years before becoming a significant problem. fhsBut, if the conditions become favourable for its growth, populations can reach epidemic proportions quickly. Crop damage occurs during the larval stage. The midge larvae, after hatching, feed on the developing wheat kernel, causing it to shrivel, crack and become deformed. As there are no visible, external changes in colour, size or shape of the affected wheat head, the damage to the crop is not readily apparent. Damage can only be detected by inspecting the developing seed within the glumes.

The effect of these neon insects can range from a slight change in shape, to a completely shrunken and deformed kernel, or lead to complete abortion of the kernel. Damaged kernels may be downgraded, and up to half of damaged kernels may be blown out during harvest. Moreover, the damaged kernel allows easier water entry, often resulting in sprout damage and low falling numbers. The seeds are also more susceptible to attack from pathogenic micro-organisms such as wheat scab and glumes blotch. The deleterious effects of wheat midge infestation include reduced yield, grain quality and growth vigour of seedlings. Additionally, the presence of wheat midge larvae in stored wheat grain may cause heating in the grain bins and eventually contaminate flour milled from infested grain.

midge0106bThe wheat midge first caused economic damage during 2006 in Flathead County, with spring wheat yield losses estimated at 1.5 million dollars! These pests arrived in the Peace country three years ago; however the tiny bugs caused more than $1 million in damage. In the Peace Country in 2013, 23% of wheat samples received through the commission’s harvest sample program was downgraded. It was reported that, in the south-west region, almost 30% was downgraded. In Alberta, the average expected yield of wheat was 62 bushels/acre, and the average estimated yield was 48 bushels/acre. A survey conducted by the Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (AARD) showed that, out of the 47 producers of wheat in the area, 42 experienced losses due to this pesky creature. The average estimated damage due to wheat midge was approximately 33%, which lead to a loss of revenue of around $7 million!

The graveness of the issue can be comprehended by reading the following article published in ScienceDaily.

New Pest Plagues Wheat Producers

Published by Montana State University

Published on March 2, 2007


It is likely that Montana’s typically dry weather prevents most producers from encountering a tiny pest known as the orange wheat blossom midge. However, heavy rainfall at the right time last summer appears to have helped large numbers of this insect devastate some spring wheat fields in the Kalispell area. The first verified orange wheat blossom midge in the Kalispell area came in Dan Brosten’s spring wheat, where he harvested just 15 percent of a normal yield.

“We had 1200 acres of spring wheat and averaged 10 bushels per acre,” said Brosten. “Normally we’d have 65-70 bushels.” Brosten said he was in a field when he picked up a wheat head to get kernel counts. All that could be seen were what looked like tiny orange worms. He called Jeff Wade, manager of the CHS fertilizer plant in Kalispell, who helped him identify the midge, which as both larva and winged adult is bright orange. “Usually when you see an insect problem, you have some time to react,” Brosten said. “With the midge, by the time you see it, it may already be too late. You have to be looking for it based on past problems”

Brosten and Wade called in Bob Stougaard, a scientist at Montana State University’s Northwestern Agricultural Research Center at Creston. When Stougaard called MSU entomologist Dave Weaver, Weaver connected the dots to a previous call.”A few years ago I had an isolated call about sticky orange material on a working combine and on the harvested grain. Now I think it may have been the midge larvae being broken up by the harvesting equipment.” That would happen, Weaver said if there wasn’t enough moisture for the immature midges to move out of the heads and drop down onto the soil to burrow in to overwinter.

The midge can exist at low populations for several years before the right conditions let their numbers increase enough to become a problem. Wade, too, began putting together information from the past that could have been indications of midge populations increasing to problem levels.”As we look back on the grain that was coming into our elevator, we’ve been seeing some of the orange wheat blossom midge symptoms for the last five or six years,” Wade said.

Those symptoms can include an appearance similar to frost damage, premature sprouting when there is no rain to promote sprouting, and low falling numbers, which is a measurement the elevator takes to determine the milling quality of the grain. “The relationship between midge numbers and crop damage needs to be developed for this particular population,” he said. The tiny insects can be hard to see clearly in the traps and probably would need to be sent to MSU’s Insect Diagnostic Laboratory for identification, eventually.

Of more timely use would be soil samples to look for midge cocoons.”We took soil samples this fall from several fields, and in a couple of soil samples the numbers were way off the charts. The soil samples give us an indication of what problems might lay ahead, but high cocoon numbers don’t guarantee an outbreak. You need to have the correct soil temperature and moisture conditions to drive its development from cocoon through pupae to adult”, Stougaard said.

The prevention mechanism for keeping midges at bay includes plate traps, yellow sticky traps, pheromone traps, etc. Crop rotation is another technique used since ancient times to avert the attack of midges. Use of toxic insecticides is the most common method of controlling midge infestation. However, insecticides are not effective in controlling older wheat midge larvae, which are protected within the glumes as they feed on the developing kernels. Today, midge tolerant varieties of wheat are available which are genetically engineered to resist the infestation of midges. Nevertheless, common genetic modifications include plants that are bred to contain insecticides within their genetic makeup or to withstand direct application of herbicides. In addition to causing environmental damage, when grain is grown with pesticides and then fed to livestock and humans, pesticide residues can accumulate in their bodies posing a threat to their lives.

C Tech Corporation has an infallible solution to all insect-related troubles! Termirepel™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous product that basically repels insects from the application. This product works against almost 500 species of pestering bugs thus efficaciously fending them away from the application.  It is an environmentally safe product that causes no harm to the insect as well as humans and the environment. Termirepel™ is available in masterbatch and lacquer form. It can also be used as a liquid solution. This product could be incorporated in agricultural films and mulches for the protection of wheat crops against wheat midges and other pests, thereby eliminating any pest that stands in the way of copious agricultural production!

Wee-vil destroy your grains!

No, not us. Weevils. They will destroy your grains while you’re not looking. These little rogue 220px-Sitophilus.oryzae.7438beetles are especially harmful for grains stored in warehouses, though they can access grains stored in homes just as easily. They do not need an invitation, and will make themselves at home by first eating your grains, and then laying eggs in those hollowed out grains. The little ones then grow within the “grain-cocoon”, nourishing themselves with the grain contents. It’s safe to say, your grains are their very own “Bed & Breakfasts”!

34-18An infested grain could be thought of as a swiss cheese lookalike, with holes all over. The weevils are of several types, depending on what their favorite food is. There are rice weevils, wheat weevils, maize weevils, cotton weevils, and so on. All of them have a characteristic strong mandible, which they use to make holes in the grains. An entire bag of grains can be destroyed by these terrorists within months. And what is left of the grains once they’re done is just grain-dust; and insect waste. Yes, the grains literally bite the dust when these pests strike.

A six millimeter beetle is hardly a cause of worry, most would say. The reality, however, is the exact opposite. This six millimeter insect is nothing less than a grain-nightmare! Especially if you store your grains for a long time. Hoarders, beware! Afterall, there isn’t much profit in storing grain-dust and insect waste, is there?

The terror caused by these insects often makes it to the news. Rice growing economies especially are troubled by weevils, with storehouses trespassed, and completely destroyed by these mandible-bearing little beasts. Cotton growers, maize and wheat growers are all troubled alike by this vile species. Economic impacts of grains destroyed in such great quantities are large, and the brunt is borne by both, the food growers, and the end consumers.

A storehouse in Bangkok has exposed the massive destruction that took place inside it for months. Without anyone ever doubting the illicit weevil activity going on inside the locked up storehouse, the weevils indulged in a complete rice-debauchery, and the only traces left behind were the powdered grains and the weevil-waste. Let’s read about it:

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Rice to dust

Published: 23 Jul 2014 at 11.17

Bangkok Post reporters go along to an inspection of a rice warehouse in Chachaoengsao.

Pledged rice turns to dust in Chachoengsao

Wassana  Nanuam, Sonthanaporn Inchan 

 CHACHOENGSAO — Inspectors checking supplies of rice stockpiled under the former government’s656274 failed rice-pledging scheme opened a locked warehouse here to find bags of dust mixed with insect waste.

Authorities said they were disappointed to find that a substantial portion of rice at the Marketing Organisation for Farmers (MOF) facility in Chachoengsao’s Phanom Sarakham district had deteriorated, spoiled and been eaten by weevils.

Inspector-general of the Interior Ministry Wasiwa Sasisamit said MOF had been storing 88,005 sacks of government rice since 2012. The inspection team, which included soldiers from the 111th Infantry Regiment, arrived to find a scattered pile of rice sacks that supposedly contained 5% broken white rice.

Inspectors ordered the bags restacked so they could be counted. As workers did so, some sacks broke open, shooting dusty clouds of what used to be rice into the air. It was then the officials noticed how many of the bags seemed flatter than normal.

656275As inspectors moved further inside the warehouse, they found plenty of rice dust, dead weevils and bug waste covering many sacks and the floor. Similar damage was noticeable in another pile of 1,792 sacks of 25% broken white rice.

Boromwit Waruprapha, deputy commander of the 111th Infantry Regiment, planned to file a complaint with local police, but members of the inspection team convinced him to wait for a quality test and calculation of how much rice was damaged.

Col Boromwit said that soldiers earlier had inspected the warehouse and found rotten rice, so they had locked the MOF facility until ministry officials could examine it. The same depot made headlines last year after local cassava farmers reported the strong odour of weevil waste emanating from the warehouse.

A Senate rice sub-committee had even visited the warehouse and found rice dust damaged by weevils and insect waste on the floor.

Warehouse staff, addressing concerns about missing rice, said good-quality rice had been sold, but that other dating back to 2012 had deteriorated. Thus, the Interior Ministry’s Mr. Wasiwa said, rice may not have been stolen. It simply had been eaten by weevils.

After assuming power, the National Council for Peace and Order ordered a check of the quality and quantity of government rice stocks. About 100 inspection teams are checking stockpiles nationwide, a task not expected to conclude until September.

The traditional jute bags usually used to store grains, especially in the Asian countries, 7456A4F7366C4E1EB68CBF650563B2A3provide no fortification to the grains inside. It’s a battle half won by these beetles, when the grains are stored in jute sacks. Polymer sacks are fast replacing these jute bags in most countries, and although they are not an invincible bulwark against these pests, they can still prove to be better than the jute counterparts.

The polymer sacks are susceptible to a weevil breach. But not with the products offered by C Tech Corporation! Polymer bags incorporated with masterbatch form of Termirepel are totally indestructible by any insect. Not only are the weevils kept away, other insects like termites, ants, bugs won’t dare trespass into your grains again!

Termirepel is a non-toxic insect repellent offered by C Tech Corporation, that does not kill the target insects. It is environment friendly, and is not harmful in any way to the nature, or the non-target organisms. It is available in the masterbatch form, lacquer form, as well as in the form of a solution for various applications. Polymeric applications like polymer grain sacks can be incorporated with Termirepel in the masterbatch form during the production period.

Thus, with Termirepel, weevil troubles can be completely put to rest finally, and we will be the rightful owners of our grains once again!

 

 

Pests threatening global food Security!!

The dark cloud of pests looming over the agriculture sector is spreading and increasing at ladybug-bugs-insects-aphids-beneficial-plants-peppers- an alarming rate! Pests, considered as an age old enemy of agriculture, continue to thwart the sector by destroying the crops. Though tiny, they are capable of large scale destruction. They appear in large numbers, attack the vegetation and many times destroy the entire field or the produce. On average the pests are known to cause 10-16% agricultural produce loss. Toxic and hazardous pesticides of worth million dollars are used to curb this pest problem to little effect.

Moreover, the pests have now started moving to regions, previously unsuitable for their images (1)existence, because of global warming. It has been reported that pests are spreading towards the North and South Poles at a rate of nearly 3 km a year! This poses a great threat to global food security. With the increasing population, the demand for the food supply is increasing rapidly. In the midst of such situation, the report that the pests are spreading across the globe is surely alarming. The threat posed by these vile pests could lead towards a chaotic situation endangering the global food security. Let’s take a look at the following article which reports the spread of the pests;

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Spread of crop pests threatens global food security as Earth warms

A new study has revealed that global warming is resulting in the spread of crop pests towards the North and South Poles at a rate of nearly 3 km a year.

The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change and carried out by researchers at the University of Exeter and the University of Oxford, shows a strong relationship between increased global temperatures over the past 50 years and expansion in the range of crop pests. 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. The study suggests that these figures will increase further if global temperatures continue to rise as predicted.

The spread of pests is caused by both human activities and natural processes but is thought to be primarily the result of international freight transportation. The study suggests that the warming climate is allowing pests to become established in previously unsuitable regions. For example, warming generally stimulates insect herbivory at higher latitudes as seen in outbreaks of the Mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) that has destroyed large areas of pine forest in the US Pacific Northwest. In addition, the rice blast fungus which is present in over 80 countries, and has a dramatic effect both on the agricultural economy and ecosystem health, has now moved to wheat. Considered a new disease, wheat blast is sharply reducing wheat yields in Brazil.  

Dr Dan Bebber from the University of Exeter said: “If crop pests continue to march polewards as the Earth warms the combined effects of a growing world population and the increased loss of crops to pests will pose a serious threat to global food security.”

Professor Sarah Gurr from the University of Exeter (previously at the University of Oxford) said: “Renewed efforts are required to monitor the spread of crop pests and to control their movement from region to region if we are to halt the relentless destruction of crops across the world in the face of climate change.”

The study used published observations of the distribution of 612 crop pests collected over the past 50 years. It revealed that the movement of pests north and south towards the poles, and into new previously un-colonised regions, corresponds to increased temperatures during that period.  

The study was funded by the HSBC Climate Partnership and Earthwatch.

Date: 1 September 2013

The above article presents a grave picture of the growing pest problem in the agriculture sector. We cannot stop these pests from spreading across the world, but we can protect our crops from their wrath. We need to adopt an environment friendly full proof solution to tackle the pest problem. Termirepel™, a product of C Tech Corporation is an ideal solution to combat the pest problem as it is extremely low toxic in nature, works effectively and efficiently against the pests and have very low environmental implications. It works on the mechanism of repellence and does not harm target or non-target species. In masterbatch form it can be incorporated in agriculture films, mulches, tarpaulins to protect the crops from the vile pests. It can also be incorporated in storage bags to protect the produce. In coating form in can be coated near the storage areas to make them pests free. It is high time that we adopt the use of safe measures to fight the problem of pests.

Wrath of the locusts!

A plague of locusts has been feared throughout history. Even after all these years, locusts continue to wreak havoc. In many ways, locusts are like harmless little grasshoppers. They eat plants and they hop long distances on springy back legs. locust_616_600x450Their lifestyle may be solitary, similar to that of grasshoppers. However, locust behavior can be something else entirely. They have another behavioral phase called the gregarious phase. Just one locust can’t cause trouble. The problem is, sometimes, locusts gather in big groups or swarms. When environmental conditions favour the growth of many green plants and promote breeding, locusts can congregate into thick, mobile, ravenous swarms. In an astoundingly short period of time, they can completely destroy a crop; nuisance for commercial agriculture, but life-threatening for subsistence farmers. Dr. Steve Rogers of Cambridge University says, “The gregarious phase is a strategy born of desperation and driven by hunger – swarming is a response to find pastures new.”

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          Crop damage due to locusts

An approaching swarm of locusts looks like a big black cloud. As the swarm descends, the insects eat everything in sight – garden crops, grass, flowers, and even clothes hanging on a clothes line. In poor desert countries, families can starve after locusts eat all their food. A swarm of locusts can stretch over 460 square miles in size and include billions of hungry insects! Locust swarms may devastate crops and cause major agricultural damage; ultimately causing famine and starvation. Each locust can eat its weight in plants each day, so a swarm of such size would eat around 423 million pounds of plants each day. When these insects alight on the ground, they immediately begin to devour the grass and grain, eating every green thing they can find. Adult locusts will potentially eat any vegetation that is green, or even partially green. The bigger the swarm, greater will be the damage caused. Although the young hoppers cannot fly, they march in bands, eating the crops in their path. Swarming locusts can fly almost 80 kilometres a day, and they may travel several 1000 kilometres before they settle to breed.

Locust swarms occur in many parts of the world, but today they are most destructive in the sustenance farming regions of Africa. The destruction of crops has a devastating effect on people. Although locust swarms do not affect humans directly, they could cause death due to famine and starvation. Cases of crop destruction due to locusts are ubiquitous. In 2004, West and North Africa experienced their largest infestation of locusts in more than 15 years. Desert locusts swept across Sahel from Mauritania to Egypt, and then continued as far as Israel in the east and as far as Portugal in the north. Half the crops of Mauritania were lost as a result of this infestation. download (3)In 2004, Australian plague locusts were responsible for national agricultural losses estimated to be worth more than $11 million. In November 2008, a locust swarm 3.7 miles long devastated agricultural production in Australia. A swarm of an estimated 30 million locusts had descended on Egypt. The insects descended on agricultural farms in Giza and in Cairo, causing damage of catastrophic proportions.

The following article will explain just how destructive locusts can be:

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Madagascar hit by ‘severe’ plague of locusts

Published on 27 March 2013

A severe plague of locusts has infested about half of Madagascar, threatening crops and _66642760_66642755raising concerns about food shortages, a UN agency says.

The UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) said billions of the plant-devouring insects could cause hunger for 60% of the population.

About $22 million (£14.5 million) was urgently needed to fight the plague in a country where many people are poor, the FAO added.

It was the worst plague to hit the island since the 1950s, the FAO said.

FAO locust control expert Annie Monard told BBC Focus on Africa the plague posed a major threat to the Indian Ocean Island.

“The last one was in the 1950s and it had duration of 17 years so if nothing is done it can last for five to 10 years, depending on the conditions,” she said.

“Currently, about half the country is infested by hoppers and flying swarms – each swarm made up of billions of plant-devouring insects,” the FAO said in a statement.

“FAO estimates that about two-thirds of the island country will be affected by the locust plague by September 2013 if no action is taken.”

It said it needed donors to give more than $22 million in emergency funding by June so that a full-scale spraying campaign could be launched to fight the plague.

The plague threatened pasture for livestock and rice crops – the main staple in Madagascar, the FAO said.

“Nearly 60% of the island’s more than 22 million people could be threatened by a significant worsening of hunger in a country that already had extremely high rates of food insecurity and malnutrition,” it added.

An estimated 80% of people in Madagascar, which has a population of more than 22 million, live on less than a dollar a day.

The Locust Control Centre in Madagascar had treated 30,000 hectares of farmland since last October, but a cyclone in February made the situation worse, the FAO said.

The cyclone not only damaged crops but created “optimal conditions for one more generation of locusts to breed”, it added.

There are very few solutions available to combat a modern-day plague of locusts; many farmer burn branches to create smoke in the hopes of driving the insects out, but this technique is not always effective. Insecticides are sometimes used to control locusts, but this method is hazardous and may cause long-lasting consequences to the crops and humans who consume them.

C Tech Corporation offers a non-toxic and non-hazardous product, Termirepel™ to protect the crops from these ravenous insects. It is an environmentally safe product that works by repelling the insects without causing any harm to the target or non-target species. Termirepel™ is available in masterbatch and lacquer form. It can also be used as a liquid solution. It can be incorporated in agricultural films and mulches for the protection of crops against a wide range of insect species. Thus Termirepel™ could be effectively used to prevent the massive destruction of crops caused by locust swarms – a threat affecting the livelihoods of one-tenth of the world’s population.

Spotted Wing Drosophila destroying fruit crops!

Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) also known as Drosophila suzukii, is gaining notoriety as a drosophila-suzukii-fonte-opo-veneto-ortovenetocrop enemy for economically valuable small fruit and tree fruit crops. Known in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest since about 2009, this species now appears to be established in many fruit growing regions around United States, as well as many countries across the globe. This crop enemy is a type of the more common vinegar fly. Drosophila suzukii is a fruit crop pest and is a serious economic threat to soft summer fruits like cherries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, peaches, nectarines, apricots, grapes, and others.

The females of this species are usually known to lay eggs in the fruit, which is then 12LarvesDrosophilaSuzukiiCeriseseventually destroyed by the new born suzukii flies. This pest has troubled crop growers around the world, and researchers in Europe have invested almost 6 million Euros to find solutions to this persistent problem.

Like other members of the vinegar fly family, D. suzukii is small, approximately 2 to 3.5 mm in length and 5 to 6.5 mm in wingspan and looks like its fruit and vinegar fly relatives. Its body is yellow to brown with darker bands on the abdomen and it has red eyes. The male has a distinct dark spot near the tip of each wing; females do not have the spotted wing. The foreleg of the male sports dark bands on the first and second tarsi. The female has a long, sharp, serrated ovipositor. The larvae are small, white, and cylindrical reaching 3.5 mm in length.

swdWhen first observed in a new region, D. suzukii has often been confused with the western cherry fruit fly (Rhagoletis indifferens) and was given the short-lasting name cherry vinegar fly. The cherry fruit fly is significantly larger than D. suzukii (up to 5 mm) and has a pattern of dark bands on its wings instead of the telltale spot of D. suzukii. The telltale spots on the wings of male D. suzukii have earned it the common name “spotted wing drosophila” (SWD).

Unlike its vinegar fly relatives which are primarily attracted to rotting or fermented fruit, female D. suzukii attack fresh, ripe fruit by using their saw-like ovipositor to lay eggs under the fruit’s soft skin. The larvae hatch and grow in the fruit, destroying the fruit’s commercial value.

Various reports have been published regarding the crop damage and losses caused by this new enemy of crop growers. The following report gives an account of the havoc wreaked by this species on a farmer’s crop in California:

Untitled

 

 

 

Berry Crops Destroyed By Pests

By Wendy Mitchell & The Ledger Independent

A little pest is causing big trouble in the local berry community.

With a name longer than its 2 mm size, the spotted wing drosophila attacks ripe fruits and berries, laying eggs in the fruit and decimating the crop.

berry

“They are a very big problem,” said Bracken County Extension Agent David Appelman. “I did verify the presence of the insect in both Mason and Bracken County last year.”

Appelman’s crop was not immune.

“They devastated my blackberries last year and we will have to wait and see if the harsh winter will reduce their population,” he said.

According to Rusty Monahon, who operated Bracken Berry Farm until this year, the pests have destroyed a family business.

“We are no longer in operation,” Monahon said, recently posting photos on his Facebook page of his former berry patch field plowed under.

The pest, a fly the size of a common vinegar or “fruit-fly” is to blame, said Appelman, who helped Monahon identify the problem in his crop last year.

The larvae are not toxic, but infested fruit are not desirable for commercial, or home gardening consumers.

“There is no chemical yet to fight them,” Monahon said. “The problem is if there was a chemical for this, the application of it would be too close to harvesting and you would have residue left on the fruit. (You) just can’t win.”

Unlike other fruit flies that lay eggs in over ripe or rotting fruit, this insect can lay eggs in fruit before it ripens, Appelman said.

“This results in poor shelf life or even unusable fruit. Small, backyard gardeners can try to use traps as a means of control. Instructions on how to make traps are available from our office,” he said.

With a SWD larvae infestation damaging his crop, Monahon’s berries were unsellable, therefore SWD destroyed a business that signified a decade-long family operation and the work of his daughter and late son, Monahon said.

Monahon is not sure when or if he will go into the berry business again.

“We might start again sometime but won’t until this problem is solved,” he said. “Then there will come another problem.”

It takes a few years for a new berry patch to mature to a commercial level.

“This is very discouraging for many growers as blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are fruits that we could grow with limited or no pesticide applications,”Appelman said. “Grapes and possibly peaches will need insecticide to protect the fruit from this insect.”

Identifying SWD is tricky. It resembles a vinegar fly, which is often seen near rotted fruit.

According to research officials, SWD are distinguished from other vinegar flies by markings and prominence on ripe fruit on the vine or tree versus downed or decayed fruit.

SWD prefer softer and thinner skin fruits as host for their offspring, but may infest figs, apples, tomatoes and grapes, where skins may have split.

Each egg has two fine, white, hair-like structures that stick out of the fruit that function as breathing tubes for the larvae.

Infested fruit will begin to collapse, bruise, or wrinkle within a few days after the female has laid eggs. The cycle from larvae to breeding SWP is about two weeks, so multiplication of the pest in a crop can be rapid, official said.

On the bright side, locally, strawberries seem to be free of the pest.

“I did not see any indications that the strawberries were affected in this area,” Appelman said.

C Tech Corporation offers its extremely low toxic product, Termirepel to protect the valuable fruit crops from this potentially harmful species of vinegar fly. Termirepel is an environment friendly product that works by repelling the target insect species (Drosophila suzukii in this case) without damaging the crop or the environment. The target insect, too, is kept unharmed in this modus operandi. Termirepel is available in many forms such as masterbatch, lacquer, liquid solution etc. It can be incorporated in agricultural films and mulches for crop protection.

To bee or not to bee – that is the question!

Honey_bee_-_Apis_mellifera41As the famous urban legend goes, Albert Einstein once quoted, “If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live.” Though there is considerable doubt attached to the source of this quote, the real question is, Can the extinction of bees really mark the end of the whole human race?  If yes, then we are not just moving, but in fact sprinting towards the doom of mankind! Bees have been disappearing at alarming rates all over the world. Speculations and studies have been doing rounds of the media for long; and although there seem to be numerous reasons for the disappearance of bees, neonicotinoids have been at the top of the list for quite some time now.

Neonicotinoids are insecticides that are chemically similar to nicotine. Although this class of insecticides shows less toxicity than the previously used organophosphate and carbamate insecticides, they have been reported to cause considerable harm to the environment as well as humans. More so, to our star pollinators and honey makers- bees!

Researchers claim, neonicotinoids may impact bees’ ability to forage, learn and remember thnavigation routes to and from food sources. There has been a huge collapse in the colonies of bumblebees as well as honey bees over the past few years. This ‘colony collapse disorder’ is alleged to have close ties with none other than, neonicotinoids!

These insecticides were first introduced in the 1990s and have grown extremely popular in the agriculture industry over the past decades. The Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S. (EPA) reports that clothianidin, the neonicotinoid found in corn and canola, “has potential to leach to ground water and be transported via runoff to surface water bodies.”

2.3 million acres of corn were grown in Ontario alone in 2012. Virtually all commercial corn seed is now treated with neonicotinoids. Since bees rely on surface water sources, they are absorbing neonicotinoids when they drink in the vicinity of these farms. Neonics also enter the pollen produced by the corn tassel. A July 2013 study by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture (OMAF) found that some bees were feeding on a diet almost exclusively of corn pollen – and neonics were found in the pollen collected by bees feeding on corn.

_75755334_c0129286-aerial_spraying_of_pesticides-splIn 2012, 70% of Canada’s dead bee samples contained neonicotinoids. Scientists now know it affects their immune system. The immune system keeps watch for harmful cells like viruses and sends out alarms so they can be destroyed. Studies (such as this one by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences) have shown that neonicotinoids jam the antiviral signaling system of honeybees. With no warning signal to trigger an appropriate response, the bee becomes vulnerable to viruses, such as chronic paralysis virus. What would usually be a trivial infection becomes deadly for the bee, and fatal for the entire hive!

Bees around the world have been held in high regard due to their importance as pollinators and producers of honey and wax. There have been reports from various countries, including US, about the extinction and endangerment of several bee species. The feral honey bee is one among these endangered bee species. If this trend continues, humans would soon have to search for:

 A: new methods of pollinating crops

 B: new honey makers!

In addition to these selfish human needs, the decline of bees is a grave issue for the environmentalists since it would mean losing a valuable insect species in the near future.

The following article sheds light on the impact of the villainous insecticides on bees:

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Pesticides linked to bee deaths must be banned, scientists say

Neonicotinoids, fipronil linked to ecosystem damage in new report

By Aleksandra Sagan, CBC News Posted: Jun 24, 2014 12:27 PM ET Last Updated: Jun 26, 2014 10:55 AM ET

Scientists want two commonly used pesticides banned around the world for helping cause the mass deaths of bees and harming the planet’s ecosystem.

A panel of independent scientists, operating as the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides, found the pesticides neonicotinoids and fipronilare harming the environment, posing a similar threat as DDT did in the 1960s.

The scientists, who eventually want the use of these pesticides to be phased out globally, say regulatory bodies must at least mandate more precautionary measures and tighter regulations around their use.

Neonics are a popularly used preventative pesticide, being sprayed over crops or coated on plant seeds before there is a pest problem, according to the task force.

They represent 40 per cent of the insecticide market, and global sales tallied more than $2.79 billion in 2011.

‘Life would be awful’ without bees

After being treated with systemic pesticides, plants absorb and transport them to all their parts: leaves, flowers, roots, stems, pollen and nectar.

The pesticides are then picked up by insects, like bees and butterflies.

“Seventy-five per cent of the crops that we eat are pollinated by insects of one type or another — mostly by bees,” said professor Dave Goulson, one of the report’s authors.

Pollinators, like bees and butterflies, are heavily affected by pesticides.

In bees, exposure can can cause problems with navigation, learning, food collection, disease resistance and reproduction. Exposed bumblebee colonies have grown more slowly and produced fewer queens.

“So, if we didn’t have those bees — if we don’t look after them — then we won’t have most of the fruits that we like to eat, most of the vegetables that we like to eat,” said Goulson. “We’d be eating porridge, rice, bread — not much else. Life would be awful.”

But not everyone supports the idea of a ban on neonicotinoids. CropLife Canada, a trade association that also represents developers and distributors of pest control products and plant biotechnology, opposes a ban saying the varroa mite is the primary culprit behind declining bee health. It says there is no correlation between  pesticide use and bee health.

Beekeeper loses 65 million bees

David Schuit, a former bee hive inspector, lives in Hanover, Ont., and owns Saugeen Country Honey, a family beekeeping business that started in 2007.

mm Since 2012, the family has lost more than 65 million bees, said Schuit. He estimates he now owns about 2,000 and attributes the monumental decline to the liberal use of neonicotinoids on nearby farms.

Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency tested the soil on his property for traces of neonicotinoids, he said. In some soil outside the honey house, he said the agency found traces of the pesticide.

“This is no joke. This is reality,” he told CBC News. “We need neonicotinoids banned now”

The pesticide exposure impacts a bee’s memory, he said, and they struggle to do simple tasks, like find the hive entrance. Bees also have a harder time breeding, and Schuit can’t manage to maintain enough queen bees for his business.

Frequently, he comes across Canada geese and other bird carcasses on the fields. He said the birds die after eating exposed seeds coated with the pesticide. 

He posts photos and videos documenting the deaths of his bees and the frequency of exposed seeds on the company’s Facebook page.

“It’s an environmental disaster in the making,” he said.

This year, he’s moved most of his hives out of the immediate area and into what he calls bear country, “where you can’t put a plow on the ground.”

There, he said the bees look a lot healthier.

90% goes into environment, not crop

But not just pollinators are exposed. Any animal that munches on the plants or seeds is also at risk. There’s also soil and water exposure to take into account.

More than 90 per cent of the pesticide goes into the environment rather than the crop, said Goulson.

In soil, what is known as the pesticide’s half-life — or the amount of time it takes for half of the compound to disappear — can be years.

Farmers who use the product annually build up toxicity in the soil, so the pesticide gets into groundwater and then streams, he said.

Soil contamination also exposes terrestrial animals like earthworms. The study’s authors claim pesticides have caused behaviour changes in exposed earthworms, like feeding inhibition, as well as death.

Freshwater snails and water fleas suffer the most from water contamination.

“Essentially, we’re contaminating the global environment with highly toxic, highly persistent chemicals,” said Goulson.

DDT-like threat

While the affected animals may seem insignificant, Goulson warns that biodiversity is essential for humans.

bee“We are witnessing a threat to the productivity of our natural and farmed environment equivalent to that posed by organophosphates or DDT,” Dr. Jean-Marc Bonmatin, one of the lead authors of the report, said in a written statement.

“Far from protecting food production, the use of neonics is threatening the very infrastructure which enables it, imperilling the pollinators, habitat engineers and natural pest controllers at the heart of a functioning ecosystem.”

DDT, which stands for dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, was a liberally used pesticide in the early 1960s. It was banned in 1972 to protect wildlife and people from its toxic effects.

The study points out that some neonics are 5,000 to 10,000 more toxic to bees than DDT.

Health Canada has recommended steps to minimize bee exposure to neonicotinoid during the 2014 spring planting season. The measures for planting treated corn and soybean seeds include:

  • Reducing dust from coated seeds.
  • Safer seed planting practices.
  • Labels with enhanced warnings.

Health Canada said it will closely monitor the 2014 growing season and may take further action after evaluating the outcomes of the new measures.

Health Minister Rona Ambrose called the research done by her department to date “inconclusive.”

She also said that Canada is working with the U.S. government on the issue of neonicotinoids and their effects on bees and other pollinators.

“We are constantly absorbing new science and reassessing. If there is a danger to Canadians, then we will act further,” she added on Tuesday at an event in Toronto.

The Worldwide Integrated Assessment of the Impact of Systemic Pesticides on Biodiversity and Ecosystems will be published in the peer reviewed Environment Science and Pollution Research journal in a few weeks. The date is still to be determined by the journal.

 

The experts now find themselves between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, neonicotinoids are the most popular of insecticides being currently used, whereas on the other hand, they are also life threatening to our friendly neighborhood bees! Goes without saying, there is a need to develop more environment friendly ways of protecting our crops.

There’s good news, though. C Tech Corporation’s Termirepel can replace these insecticides! This extremely low toxic insect repellent can effectively repel the target insects without any damage to any species. Termirepel™ can be incorporated in agricultural films, mulches etc. In all, it is a win-win situation, where we can protect our agricultural produce, and at the same time keep the bees healthy and happy! Could it bee any better?!

Whitefly woes of Greenhouse Growers

1Whiteflies have infested the agricultural industry around the world for many decades. They are small hemipterans or ‘true bugs’ that typically feed on the undersides of plant leaves. They comprise the family Aleyrodidae, the only member of the superfamily Aleyrodoidea.

Several prototypes have been encountered that are plant specific and native to areas exhibiting certain specific climatic conditions. Whiteflies have been predominantly associated with areas exhibiting tropical/subtropical climates. However, their manifestation in a multitude of geographical zones has been felt increasingly. One hypothesis suggests that the transfer of decorative plants from tropical regions may have aided in the spread of the whiteflies to temperate environments from their native tropical & subtropical regions. The ability of the whitefly to adapt to various plants facilitates the spread of dangerous plant viruses, which these insects are notorious for transmitting.

A number of plant species are susceptible to attack by the various whitefly species. Depending on the plant they predominantly affect, these whiteflies have been assigned specific common names. Thus, a variety of whitefly species such as tobacco whitefly, sweet potato whitefly, cabbage whitefly, citrus whitefly etc. have been identified. Ornamental plants, vegetable crops, fruit crops, weeds, greenhouse plants, palms are some of the host plants that frequently fall prey to these insects.

The modus operandi of these plant predators includes destruction of the plant by directly feeding on it, or carrying and spreading plant viruses and diseases. The latter has had a debilitating impact on the global agriculture industry.

Life Cycle of Whiteflies:

220px-Bemisia_argentifolii_5194038Adult whiteflies are small, winged, white insects about 1.5-2 mm long. Eggs are laid on the underside of the youngest leaves, and are too small to be seen clearly without the aid of a microscope. A female whitefly may lay up to 300 eggs during her lifetime, and live as long as 42 days at 18 degree Celsius and 8 days at 27 degree Celsius. After hatching, the eggs undergo 4 stages or instars before becoming adults. The first instar or larval stage (sometimes called crawlers) hatches in 5-10 days. They are flat and scale-like, and crawl around for a short while before becoming immobile. The second and third instars or larval stages are followed by the fourth instar or pupal stage, from which the adult emerges. Old pupal skins and adults may be found on the underside of lower leaves, which may have symptoms of wilt. On average, the whitefly completes its life cycle in 35 days at 18 degree Celsius and 18 days at 30 degree Celsius. Whiteflies have no special overwintering stage and can usually survive as long as there is some kind of vegetation around.

 Damage by feeding:

GumboWhitefly_32Whiteflies feed by tapping into the phloem of plants, introducing toxic saliva and decreasing the plants’ overall turgor pressure. Since whiteflies congregate in large numbers, susceptible plants can be quickly overwhelmed. Further harm is done by mold growth encouraged by the honeydew whiteflies secrete. The sooty mold interferes with photosynthesis and reduces the aesthetic value of the crop.

Damage due to transmission of plant diseases:

The whiteflies belonging to the genus Bemisia are important in the transmission of plant diseases. Bemisia tabaci and B. argentifolii, transmit African cassava mosaic, bean golden mosaic, bean dwarf mosaic, bean calico mosaic, tomato yellow leaf curl, tomato mottle, and other Begomoviruses, in the family Geminiviridae. They have a very wide host range, and are capable of feeding on over 500 plant species from 74 families. Among the most susceptible greenhouse ornamental plant species are: poinsettia, hibiscus, ivy, gerbera daisy, lantana, verbena, garden chrysanthemum, salvia and mandevilla. Among the vegetable crops and field crops, cucumber, melons, beans, eggplant, cabbage, peppers, squash, and tomatoes, cotton, potato, peanut, and soybean, are also very susceptible hosts.

Bemisia tabaci is one of the most prolific pests of vegetables and ornamentals throughout the world that has caused considerable nuisance for the plant growers around the globe. This species has three important biotypes, namely, Biotype-A, Biotype-B and the more recent and resilient Biotype-Q.

The Bemisia tabaci was first reported in 1987 in the US, when it was found on poinsettias and outdoor crops. Although it has been known in the US for around 100 years, these outbreaks were determined to be from a new biotype (Biotype-B) which in 1994 was renamed the ‘silverleaf whitefly’, B. argentifolii.

Bemisia tabaci-Q:

UntitledIn December 2004, a strain of the Q-biotype (also known as sweet potato whitefly) was found in Arizona on poinsettias purchased at a retail store. This biotype originates from the Mediterranean and has been reported in the following countries: China, Egypt, France, Israel, Japan, Morocco, The Netherlands and Spain. Till January 2008, 25 states in the US had been reported to have occurrences of Q-biotype, these were: Arizona, California, Georgia, Oregon, Michigan, Alabama, New York, Louisiana, Maryland, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Florida, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maine, Vermont, Indiana, North Carolina, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Hawaii, Washington and Ohio. This strain is particularly vicious because it shows resistance to many insecticides currently used in various countries; such as pyriproxyfen (Distance), neonicotinoids imidachloprid (Marathon or Merit), acetamiprid (TriStar), and thimethoxam (Flagship), and reduced susceptibility to IGR buprofezin (Talus). These insecticides, while being effective against Biotype-B, prove futile in case of Biotype-Q control.

Several incidences of the infestation of Bemisia tabaci-Q in greenhouses and plantations have been reported. The greenhouse growers are especially troubled by the attack of this insect. The following issue was published in the Impacts Magazine of Clemson University:

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New pest attacks greenhouse and other crops

By Peter Kent

(Fall 2006 Issue)

Greenhouse growers are facing a new strain of whitefly this year – the Q-biotype sweet potato whitefly. “The new strain may not be as susceptible to the usual insecticides applied in the past,” said Richard Hassell, plant scientist at the Coastal Research and Education Center.

The new whitefly was first detected in the United States in 2004, and now has been found in 22 states, including South Carolina. It attacks ornamental, vegetable and other crops. Along with the silver leaf whitefly, it reduces crop yields by sucking out plant nutrients and secreting a sticky substance that promotes the growth of fungus. It also transmits viruses that damage crops.

In the field or greenhouses, high infestations of whiteflies can be identified by the presence of plant damage, immature whiteflies on the underside of foliage and adults that fly when the plant is disturbed. Shipping infested plants can spread the pest. Growers should check plants before and after shipment and rotate insecticides to help manage this and other insect pests.

Now more and more potent insecticides are being developed to effectively treat the stronger strain Q. However, these insecticides will end up greatly scarring the environment and the applications (crops on which they are applied). Also, whitefly control is difficult and complex, as whiteflies rapidly gain resistance to chemical pesticides. The USDA recommends “an integrated program that focuses on prevention and relies on cultural and biological control methods when possible.”

Pesticides used for whitefly control usually contain neonicotinoid compounds as active ingredients: clothianidin (commercial), dinotefuran (over-the-counter and commercial), imidacloprid (over-the-counter and commercial) and thiamethoxam (commercial). Neonicotinoids can be harmful if ingested. Neonicotinoids are also extremely toxic to bees, which are essential to the pollination of flowering plants, and are seen as probably one of the causes behind the dramatic decrease in their numbers.

This problem can be effectively combated by our non-toxic and non-hazardous insect repellant, Termirepel™. Since Termirepel™ aims at averting the target insects without actually killing or harming the non-target organisms, it offers an environment friendly and effective approach to repel the resilient Bemisia tabaci-Q. It is therefore possible to treat the infected plant by averting the flies without damaging the plant or the environment with harmful chemicals present in the insecticides. Termirepel™ can be incorporated in agricultural films, mulches etc. Termirepel™ is also available in the form of lacquer, masterbatch and liquid form.