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China develops GM corn variety to combat yield-cutting fall armyworm

Dong Xue | CGTN | April 12, 2021

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Credit: Miaoli County Agriculture Office
Credit: Miaoli County Agriculture Office

This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Food security is a major policy issue in China. To strengthen the nation’s seed industry, the country has approved a series of supporting policies, including in South China’s Hainan Province.

Like James Bond once said, “Nothing is impossible.” Lyu Yuping, a veteran plant breeder, had a similar belief and so [he] named his genetically modified corn seed “the 007”.

Lyu has devoted himself to agricultural technology and the seed breeding industry for more than two decades. He believes the corn seeds he’s developed are the real deal.

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Fight against fall armyworm: good progress, more efforts needed

Format News and Press Release Source 

 Posted 16 Apr 2021 Originally published 16 Apr 2021 Origin View original

FAO Director-General reviews action to tackle the destructive pest

Rome, 16 April 2021 – The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, QU Dongyu, today hailed progress in the fight against one of the most destructive pests jeopardizing food security across vast regions of the globe – while urging renewed drive and scaling up of efforts.

Qu was speaking at the latest virtual meeting of the Steering Committee of the Global Action for Fall Armyworm (FAW) Control, attended by over 40 participants including FAO Members, international experts and key research partners. Fall armyworm – known in Latin form as frugiperda, or “lost fruit,” for its crop-wrecking potential – has dramatically spread eastwards from the Americas in the last five years. Having established itself in most of Africa, as well as large swaths of Asia, it has lately been reported in Australia and parts of Oceania. More than 70 countries are now affected; there are fears that the Mediterranean fringes of Europe could be next.

Thriving in warmer climates, FAW primarily feeds on maize crops – but also on wheat, sorghum, millet, sugarcane, vegetables and cotton. The pest’s voracious appetite means that in many parts of the world, food, fuel and fibre are at severe risk. FAO estimates that FAW has contributed to worsening food security for 26 million people. While the bug cannot be eradicated, managing it is vital and possible through a coordinate approach.

Demonstration countries

In his address, the Director-General commended the steps taken to date: eight “demonstration” countries have been chosen as hubs for the Global Action, one for each geographical zone where the threat is most acute – China, India and the Philippines in Asia; and in Africa – Egypt, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Kenya and Malawi. All have set up National FAW Task Forces, and are developing detailed work plans for monitoring, technology evaluation and capacity building. The demonstration countries have also served as links to “scale-up” countries from their region, with some 50 more attending coordination meetings to date.

FAO’S Technical Cooperation Programme has been a “catalytic force to support a number of these efforts,” Qu told participants. The integrated pest management packages are based on the Organization’s guidelines. He added that “it is thanks to the excellent network among key stakeholders in the different countries that we have achieved these results together.”

Down in the field

Aside from the institutional level, FAO has been working to assist those whose livelihoods are most directly threatened. In 2020, despite limitations posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly a million and a half African farmers were trained on scouting and monitoring the appearance and spread of FAW. They also learned about using bio-pesticides and pesticides, as well as nature-based solutions for FAW management.

Those benefitting from this outreach include farmers such as Cyril Nzagumandore, in Rwanda’s Nyamagabe district. “Before, from this 10-hectare marshland, we used to harvest 5 to 6 tons,” he explains. “But in 2017, this dropped to 3.5 tons. We did our best to fight the worm, but had nothing to show for it. When the FAO project came, we understood more about FAW and the technologies it takes to fight it. The FAW mobile phone application I received allows me to collect and share information. Then the agronomist comes and inspects the field. Production has gone back up. Today, from our 10 hectares, we’re harvesting 7 tons.”

Digitalizing the fight against FAW

The app on Nzagumandore’s phone is part of the digital tools FAO has put forward to tackle the FAW challenge. Available in 29 languages, it analyses manually entered data and photos, and uses a mix of artificial and human intelligence, to detect the presence of the worm and offer guidance. Current proposals are to enhance the system with a predictive capacity: this would warn of impending invasions by combining more sophisticated data, ranging from meteorological patterns to insect reproduction cycles to the presence of other host plants in the vicinity.

Overall, thousands of experts and technicians also received training from FAO last year in Africa and Asia – including on mass rearing of natural enemies of FAW, such as particular types of wasps. (Separately, China has included FAW monitoring and control in its own training programmes for nearly 4 million farmer technicians.)

While lauding recent progress, the Director-General also stressed the need for more funding – adding that a Working Group on Resource Mobilization had been set up to that effect.

The meeting agreed on the need to embed the fight against FAW within wider food security and nutrition strategies, in an effort to increase awareness and expand donor engagement. “There is still a lot of work ahead of us,” the FAO Director-General concluded, as he called for stronger, timely national and regional monitoring; early warning capacities; effective technology transfer; and stepped-up capacity development.Primary country

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Government gives green light to fall armyworm biopesticide

James McManagan1 Apr 2021, 5 p.m.Grains

Biopesticide given emergency approval to assist fall armyworm battle.

 Biopesticide given emergency approval to assist fall armyworm battle.

The Queensland government has given the green light to the emergency use approval of the biopesticide Fawligen in a bid combat the destructive pest fall armyworm.

Since arriving in Australia last year the highly mobile pest has spread throughout Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and south to northern New South Wales, destroying corn and sorghum fields in its wake.

Fawligen is a naturally occurring caterpillar virus that kills the pest from the inside out and spreads to the larvae.

Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority had issued an Emergency Use Permit which allows Fawligen to be used.

“The swift approval of the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries’ application, prepared jointly with AgBiTech – the Australian company that developed and produces Fawligen – is a significant step in the battle against this voracious pest,” Mr Furner said.

“Fawligen is a welcome addition to the options available for controlling FAW, particularly in crops, such as sweet corn, maize and sorghum, where currently available options are limited or ineffective.

“Further research and work by industry under the EUP will provide valuable data to help AgBiTech achieve its aim of gaining full Australian registration for Fawligen.”

AgBiTech’s general manager for Australia, Philip Armytage, said Fawligen is best used as part of an integrated pest management system.

“Fawligen will work as an important management tool when used in strategic combinations with natural enemies and conventional chemistry options,” Mr Armytage said.

“Our information from overseas indicates that Fawligen it is not a strong, stand-alone solution for FAW control and as a result, Fawligen supply will be restricted to growers and consultants who have undertaken accredited training to ensure they are fully aware of the product’s abilities and limitations.

“AgBiTech will be providing a training program for farmers, agronomists and researchers who are considering using Fawligen.”

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By Charlotte Tucker -March 9, 2021Share on FacebookTweet on Twitter

Prof. Irina Borodina, founder of BioPhero

Today BioPhero, the insect pheromone company, today announced it has raised around €14.2 million in Series A funding led by DCVC Bio with participation from new investor FMC Ventures, as well as existing investors Syngenta Group Ventures and Novo Holdings. The startup, which has a mission to replace many chemical insecticides with sustainable biological insect pheromones, will use this funding to ramp up production of several products and to produce pheromones at the quantity, quality, and price required to allow farmers to control major pests in a variety of row crops.

Pheromones, being non-toxic, can be a powerful tool to achieve the objective of insect pest control, while avoiding the negative impacts on environment and biodiversity associated with overuse of synthetic chemicals. Pheromones are naturally produced by insects, but they can also be used very effectively to control the buildup of pest populations in farmers’ fields by disrupting their mating process. They are highly sustainable as they are insect-specific and non- toxic. Not only can they replace insecticide use but they can also reduce over-application by helping to prevent the buildup of resistance against both chemical insecticides and GM seeds.

Following its seed round in 2018, BioPhero developed – and scaled up – new and efficient production methods for insect pheromones using microbial fermentation. The production processes use renewable raw materials, produce less waste than the traditional chemical synthesis, and – crucially – are able to deliver insect pheromones at the cost, quality, and volume required for row crops such as wheat, maize, rice, and soybeans. BioPhero has successfully demonstrated that it can produce pheromones at tonne-scale, and the company is now ready to start production of its first product and to make it available to customers and development partners around the world.

Kristian Ebbensgaard, CEO of BioPhero, explained: “We aim to give farmers a new option: To protect their crops using biological insect pheromones rather than having to rely on insecticides. In row crops this has not been possible until now because of the high cost of pheromones. At BioPhero, we have shown we can break this cost barrier. We are delighted to continue to attract such high-quality investors and see this as a testament to the success we have had in developing and scaling biological pheromone production and delivering new options for growers”.

Unlike with insecticides, insects do not develop resistance to insect pheromones because they are produced by females to attract males for mating and do not present a single target that can easily be overcome by evolution. Insect pheromones are highly effective, have an exemplary safety record and do not harm pollinators or other non-target insects.

“We have been examining the use of insect pheromones in agriculture and new startups in this area for many years. Until now, no company has succeeded in manufacturing pheromones at a cost and scale suitable for worldwide use,” said John Hamer co-Managing Partner of DCVC Bio. “BioPhero’s patented breakthrough platform is the only one that is delivering the cost structure, manufacturing flexibility and quality that allow pheromones to be deployed on major row crops.”

BioPhero was founded in 2016 by Prof. Irina Borodina as a technology spin-out from the Technical University of Denmark. Borodina has assembled a dedicated world-class team with competencies within metabolic engineering, fermentation, chemistry, and process development, also participating as a consortium member in the EU-funded Projects OLEFINE and PHERA. 

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Fightback starts against fall armyworm

Published Yesterday at 09:35 AM

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities
The Honourable Mark Furner

The Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) has received approval to import a biopesticide for research purposes, marking a significant step in the fight to combat fall armyworm (FAW).

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said the Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) approval to import Fawligen® meant the Queensland Government could start working on management packages for impacted industries.

“Since the initial detection of FAW in Australia in January 2020, DAF has worked closely with industry to find ways to address the threat posed by this voracious invasive pest to Queensland’s agriculture industry,” Mr Furner said.

“Fawligen® is a biopesticide targeting the FAW caterpillar which ingests virus particles, becomes infected and dies, spreading the virus to other FAW larvae in the crop.

“DAF first applied in March 2020 to bring Fawligen®, which is produced in the US by Australian company AgBiTech, into Australia.

“Getting DAWE’s approval to import Fawligen®, a naturally occurring caterpillar virus which targets FAW, is a key step forward as it has the potential to be a game changer for producers.”

Mr Furner said having access to Fawligen® would allow DAF researchers to immediately commence small scale work with AgBiTech to assess its performance on FAW populations, under local conditions and in various crops. 

“This will generate information for an Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Authority (APVMA) regulatory submission,” Mr Furner said.

“Natural biological control agents, like Fawligen®, reduce grower reliance on conventional insecticides for FAW control, reducing the risk of insecticide resistance development.

“Another significant advantage of this biopesticide is that it only kills the FAW and is non-toxic to beneficial organisms including honeybees and beneficial natural enemies such as spiders, wasps and ladybeetles.”

AgBiTech’s General Manager for Australia, Philip Armytage, said in response to the spread and rise of FAW as a global pest, in 2015 AgBiTech established a production facility in the US to manufacture Fawligen® for Brazil and other global markets.

“At the time, Fawligen® could not be produced in Australia as the FAW was not present,” Mr Armytage said.

“Globally, Fawligen® is AgBiTech’s biggest product by volume, and we are excited to be able to bring our technology back home to Australia for our farmers.

“We will accelerate the project, working closely with DAF and use all our international experience to support the commencement of the registration work as soon as possible.”

Mr Furner said DAF had a long history of working closely with AgBiTech in supporting the development of the Helicoverpa biocontrol ViVUS Max® in the early 2000s. 

“Australia is the global leader in the use of native and introduced biocontrol agents,” he said.

“We have seen excellent results in the control of similar caterpillar pests such as Helicoverpa as well as with silverleaf whitefly and prickly pear.

“In the meantime, growers should remain vigilant for the presence of FAW and check for the latest insecticide permits applying to fall armyworm using the APVMA’s permit portal.”

The latest advice about the impacts and management of fall armyworm on key crops can be found on the fall armyworm web page at business.qld.gov.au/fallarmyworm.

ENDS

Minister Furner media contact:                   Ron Goodman            0427 781 920

AgBiTech / Fawligen media contact:         Philip Armytage          0488 263585

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Spotted lanternfly is an incredibly good hitchhiker

TAGS: INSECTSORCHARD CROPSINSECTICIDECROPSarlutz73 / iStock / Getty Images Plusspotted-lanternfly-GettyImages-1054495206.jpgA key Concern is the wide host range of the spotted lanternfly. Be on the lookout for the spotted lantern fly and let NCDACS know if you see it.

John Hart | Jan 05, 2021https://66aab2f6763b501391485cbd0d058ae2.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

The spotted lanternfly is the newest invasive pest that has entomologists across the country worried.

In a talk to the virtual North Carolina Crop Protection School, Whitney Swink, state regulatory entomologist with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, gave the rundown on the spotted lanternfly and urged farmers and others to be on the lookout for the pest and let NCDACS know if they see it.https://66aab2f6763b501391485cbd0d058ae2.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Swink said like many invasive pests, the spotted lanternfly is native to Asia, specifically northern China, Vietnam and Bangladesh. It was first introduced into Korea in 2004 and became a major pest there on peaches and grapevines among other plants.

It was found in Pennsylvania in 2014 and there are known infestations in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Virginia and West Virginia.

Swink said a key concern is the wide host range of the spotted lanternfly. The insect is a pest of apples, blueberries, cherries, grapes, hops, maples, all stone fruits, walnuts and willows. More than 75 species of woody plants have been identified as hosts; Swink said the list continues to grow.

“We recently found out that chinaberry is a host. That is a big concern to us because we have a lot of that, especially in eastern North Carolina,” Swink said.

Another concern is that Tree of Heaven, which is found all over North Carolina, especially west of I-95, is the favorite food of the spotted lanternfly. “It will choose Tree of Heaven over pretty much anything else,” Swink warned.

Swink said the spotted lanternfly has been spotted in Tree of Heaven in eastern North Carolina, but it is still too early to know how active the pest has been in the state. However, she encouraged everyone to be on the lookout for the insect.

The adult spotted lanternfly is quite large, about an inch from head to wingtip. “Because they are plant hoppers, they are very poor flyers. They more glide than fly. They are quite prolific and active from mid- to later-summer through the winter. Here in North Carolina they can possibly be found even into December,” Swink said.

The forewing of the spotted lanternfly is grey with black spots and the wings tips are reticulated black blocks outlined in grey. The hind wings have contrasting patches of red and black with a white band. The legs and head are black; the abdomen is yellow with broad black bands.

“In all of the life stages —eggs, instars and adults —spotted lanternflies are incredibly good hitchhikers. They can cling to pretty much any surface. They can cling to vehicles on roads travelling 65 mph or more,” she said.

“One of the key things that spotted lanternflies do is they produce copious, copious amounts of honeydew. Essentially, they are pooping sugar water. With one insect doing that, it’s not a big deal, but if you start exponentially increasing how many are doing this, you have a problem,” she explained.RELATEDControlling herbicide resistance takes persuadingJanuary 4, 2021Battle against pesticide opponents becoming more pronouncedDecember 22, 2020Building respect and value for soybeansNovember 24, 2020

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Management of Fall Armyworm: The IPM Innovation Lab Approach

https://ipmil.cired.vt.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/IPM-IL-FAW-Management.pdf.

By:

Sara Hendery

Communications Coordinator

Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Integrated Pest Management

Hendery, Sara saraeh91@vt.edu

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Science News from research organizations


Diamondback moth uses plant defense substances as oviposition cues

Date:September 10, 2020Source:Max Planck Institute for Chemical EcologySummary:Researchers showed that isothiocyanates produced by cruciferous plants to fend off pests serve as oviposition cues. The scientists identified two olfactory receptors whose sole function is to detect these defense substances and to guide female moths to the ideal sites to lay their eggs. They uncovered the molecular mechanism that explains why some insects that specialize in feeding on certain host plants are attracted by substances that are supposed to keep pests away.Share:    FULL STORY


A research team from the Nanjing Agricultural University in Nanjing, China, and the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, showed that isothiocyanates produced by cruciferous plants to fend off pests serve as oviposition cues. The plant defense substances serve as odor signals for females of the diamondback moth to lay their eggs on these plants. The scientists identified two olfactory receptors whose sole function is to detect these defense substances and to guide the moths to the ideal oviposition sites. They uncovered the molecular mechanism that explains why some insects that specialize in feeding on certain host plants are attracted by substances that are supposed to keep pests away.

From repellent to attractant

Cruciferous plants, such as cabbage, rape (canola), mustard and horseradish, produce glucosinolates. Upon mechanical damage of the plant tissues, e.g. caused by a chewing insect, glucosinolates are hydrolyzed by the endogenous plant enzyme myrosinase. This leads to the formation of a variety of toxic breakdown products, mainly isothiocyanates, to defend themselves against voracious insects. This defense mechanism is very effective against most herbivores. The diamondback moth Plutella xylostella, however, has evolved mechanisms of its own to outwit this defense: It is able to feed successfully on plants of the cabbage family and make use of the plants for its own reproductive purposes.

“We wanted to know whether the moths use isothiocyanates as odor cues to locate their host plants. In fact, behavioral experiments showed that three isothiocyanates are key signals for female moths to locate and lay eggs on cruciferous plants,” says study leader Shuang-Lin Dong from Nanjing Agricultural University.

Two olfactory receptors specialized on isothiocyanates control egg-laying

The main scientific question was, what are the molecular mechanisms on which female Plutella xylostella moths base their choice of the oviposition site? The researchers therefore analyzed, which olfactory receptors were highly expressed in female moths, and studied the function of these receptors in the frog oocytes. “With this method, we were able to investigate which odors an individual receptor was responding to. We showed that two receptors, OR35 and OR49, responded to the three isothiocyanates that we had previously identified as being crucial for oviposition,” says Markus Knaden from the Max Planck Institute in Jena. These two receptors did not respond to any other plant-related odors or to the sex pheromones of the moths. Presumably, OR35 and OR49 evolved to detect precisely those egg-laying signals. “We were surprised that even two receptors are specifically tuned to the isothiocyanates. The two receptors, however, detect the isothiocyanates with different sensitivities. We hypothesize that the more sensitive receptor could make sure that female moths locate plants from a distance, while the other may help to provide a more accurate detection of the isothiocyanate concentration. This will give the female moths more information about the substrate on which they will lay their eggs,” says Shuang-Lin Dong.

Validation of gene function using CRISPR-Cas9 gene knockout techniques

The researchers used the CRISPR-Cas9 genetic scissors to knock out the genes encoding the two receptors in moths. This method is used to test the function of a specific gene. For egg-laying assays, they used plants of the thale cress Arabidopsis thaliana, a model plant that belongs to the cruciferous plant family. Some of these plants were unmodified and produced isothiocyanates that were attractive to the moths, whereas the others were mutants that were unable to produce isothiocyanates. When one of the two receptors was inactivated, the moths laid considerably fewer eggs on the isothiocyanates-emitting plants. When both receptors were knocked out, the moths were unable to discriminate between unmodified Arabidopsis plants and the mutant plants.

Cheaters in plant-insect interactions

In the course of evolution, plants have developed various strategies to defend themselves against herbivores. A crucial part of plant-insect interaction is chemical communication. “In most cases, it is useful for a plant to communicate to potential herbivores that its defense system is already activated. However, there will be always someone who misuses the communication for its own benefit, like in our case the diamondback moth, which uses a plant defense signal as an attractant and lays eggs and spreads on this plant,” says Markus Knaden. Finding out how these “cheaters” outwit plant defenses and even use these defenses for their own purposes could help improve the control of global crop pests (such as the diamondback moth): “Our results offer various approaches to control this pest: On the one hand, we could use the identified isothiocyanates or other attractive substances as attractants to trap these pests. On the other hand, we could try to develop chemical agents to interrupt or block the perception of the isothiocyanates and thus interfere with the females’ location of their host plants,” summarizes Shuang-Lin Dong.

Further investigations are planned to study whether other insects that attack cruciferous plants also use special receptors to detect isothiocyanates and to locate the plants for oviposition. The results may provide information on the extent to which the perception of these odors by specialized receptors is also conserved in other species.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Max Planck Institute for Chemical EcologyNote: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Xiao-Long Liu, Jin Zhang, Qi Yan, Chun-Li Miao, Wei-Kang Han, Wen Hou, Ke Yang, Bill S. Hansson, Ying-Chuan Peng, Jin-Meng Guo, Hao Xu, Chen-Zhu Wang, Shuang-Lin Dong, Markus Knaden. The Molecular Basis of Host Selection in a Crucifer-Specialized MothCurrent Biology, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2020.08.047

Cite This Page:

Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology. “Diamondback moth uses plant defense substances as oviposition cues.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 September 2020. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/09/200910120123.htm>.

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Yahoo.com

States urging residents to be on the lookout for destructive invasive species

MEREDITH DELISOABC NewsAugust 16, 2020

Officials across multiple states are urging people to be on the lookout for an invasive species that can have a devastating impact on agriculture.

In recent weeks, officials in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey have been sounding the alarm about the spotted lanternfly, which currently is in its prime feeding season and can wreak havoc on crops.

For the first time, live spotted lanternflies were also found on Staten Island, New York, state authorities announced Friday.

PHOTO: A spotted lanternfly is seen on a tree in this stock photo. (STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images)
PHOTO: A spotted lanternfly is seen on a tree in this stock photo. (STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images)

The first live find is “concerning,” Basil Seggos, the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) commissioner, said in a statement, adding that the goal is to “prevent it from further entering New York state and limiting any serious threats to our natural resources.”https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fnyagandmarkets%2Fposts%2F2949919981804190&show_text=true&width=552&height=543&appId

The spotted lanternfly feeds on more than 70 plant species, which can make the plants vulnerable to disease and attacks from other insects. A Penn State study released earlier this year found that the invasive species cost the Pennsylvania economy about $50 million, including $29 million in direct costs on growers and forest landowners.

MORE: ‘Gross’: Lanternflies causing big bug problem for some

People can help limit the spotted lanternfly’s spread by reporting sightings to their state agriculture department or by simply squashing the bug.

Video: ‘Murder hornets’ resurface in Pacific Northwest

   The inch-long insect is distinguished by the reddish, polka-dotted wings of adult spotted lanternflies, which mature in late July and August. People should also be on the lookout for the insect’s eggs, which adults begin laying in September. Egg masses are about 1 inch long and resemble mud. To kill them, officials recommend using alcohol, bleach or hand sanitizer, or double bagging them and throwing them away.

People can also help prevent the spread of the spotted lanternfly by not inadvertently transporting the insect or its eggs. Native to Asia, the insect is notorious for hitchhiking and primarily spread through human activity.

Dozens of counties across multiple states are currently under a form of quarantine due to the insect, including 26 in Pennsylvaniaeight in New Jerseytwo in Maryland and one in Delaware. Typically that means anyone who travels in a quarantined county is asked to inspect their vehicle, luggage, gear, outdoor items and clothing for the spotted lanternfly or its eggs before leaving. It may also mean businesses are required to have a permit to move certain items within or from quarantine zones.

MORE: Study: Spotted lanternfly costing Pennsylvania $50M annually

“Its ability to travel easily on any mode of transportation has allowed it to spread,” New Jersey Department of Agriculture Plant Industry Division Director Joe Zoltowski said last week in an update on the state’s actions to eradicate the species. “We are asking residents to do their part by eliminating this bug whenever possible.”https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1293611347981340675&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.yahoo.com%2Fgma%2Fstates-urging-residents-lookout-destructive-021654709.html&siteScreenName=GMA&theme=light&widgetsVersion=223fc1c4%3A1596143124634&width=550px

The insect prefers the tree-of-heaven, another invasive species. Since 2018, more than 200,000 trees-of-heaven have been treated on almost 19,000 acres in New Jersey, state officials said last week. Infestations are primarily along the state’s border with Pennsylvania, which had the first reported sighting of the spotted lanternfly in the U.S. Since first detected in Berks County in 2014, the insect has been found in more than a third of the state’s counties.Story continues

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Bug wars: Feds introduce Asian wasps to battle emerald ash borer outbreak in Lincoln area

Ash borer wasps

The Tetrastichus planipennisi wasp lays eggs in the larvae of the emerald ash borer.

  • Peter Salter

A piece of ash branch, infested with the emerald ash borer and injected with the eggs of the Tetrastichus planipennisi wasp, was attached to an ash tree at Platte River State Park last summer.

City tree crews discovered the first signs of emerald ash borer infestation in a tree near 37th and F streets.

One of the newest members of Lincoln’s insect family is a little wasp with a big name and no desire for human flesh.

But it can’t live without the emerald ash borer.

The Tetrastichus planipennisi is an underhanded killer, penetrating the bark of an infected ash tree with its ovipositor — the stinger on other species — to lay eggs in the larvae of the emerald ash borer.

“Then the eggs hatch,” said Dave Olson, a forest health specialist with the Nebraska Forest Service. “And they eat the ash borer from the inside-out.”

Its cousin, Oobius agrili, likes its borers even younger: It injects its own egg inside an ash borer egg, eventually hatching, growing and killing its host.

In both cases, the parasitic wasps mature — larvae, pupae, adulthood — then fly away, looking for more victims, continuing the cycle.

 Ash borer update: Some trees to get reprieve; replanting plans not taking root everywhere

And the brutality of this bug-eat-bug world is now being waged in Lincoln and nearby state parks, introduced to the area by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in an attempt to slow the spread of the emerald ash borer.

The Asian beetle, about the size of a cooked grain of rice, was first confirmed in North America in the early 2000s and has been eating its way west across the U.S. since, piling up massive damage.ADVERTISING

The insect had already killed tens of millions of ash trees — with an estimated value of $11 million — by the time it reached Nebraska, first confirmed in a Douglas County tree in 2016. It landed in Lancaster County in 2018, caught in a trap near Pioneers Park, and was discovered infesting trees in Lincoln last spring.

It’s a lethal little bug, and Lincoln’s estimated 65,000 public and private ash trees are vulnerable. The city has already started removing and replacing most of its 14,000 trees from parks, golf courses and along streets, and will attempt to prolong the lives of some with chemical treatments.

 Emerald ash borer found in Nebraska’s Saunders County

The stingless wasps were the federal government’s idea. The USDA’s Plant Protection and Quarantine program approached the state last year, and the Forest Service identified a handful of spots that could benefit from biocontrol: Pioneers Park, Mahoney and Platte River state parks and Fremont Lakes State Recreation Area.

A federal rearing lab in Michigan supplied nearly 20,000 wasps from three species and in various stages — Oobius agrili pupae, Tetrastichus planipennisi eggs, larvae and pupae, and Spathius galinae wasps.

In some cases, the lab delivers a Trojan tree limb — a branch cutting already infested with ash borer and injected with wasp larvae. Once in the field, the branch is attached to a tree that shows signs of the ash borer, and the adult wasps emerge from the cutting and start hunting in the host tree.

It’s too soon to see results, Shayne Galford, the USDA’s state plant health director for Nebraska and Kansas, said in an email. But officials will return to the release sites to introduce more wasps this year, and check for established populations in 2021. They could also add more sites, he said.

 ‘Each table is a small victory’ — How volunteers and salvage lumber are helping flood victims

The new weapon in the war on emerald ash borers won’t stop their spread, said Olson, with the state forest service. But it could crimp it.

“It’s not going to be a silver bullet. The real goal is to get these predators set up so in a few years the emerald ash borer has additional pressure on it.”

 In war against ash borer, a side skirmish erupts in east Lincoln

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How to get ready for the emerald ash borer in the Lincoln area

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How to get ready for the emerald ash borer in the Lincoln area

  • Updated Feb 18, 2020

They found the first bug in August, in a treetop trap they set northwest of Pioneers Park.

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