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Sunflowers Linked to Reduced Varroa Mite Infestations in Honey Bees

ENTOMOLOGY TODAY  1 COMMENT

A new study indicates a benefit to honey bees of local sunflower cropland. Even low levels of sunflower acreage nearby correlate with reduced Varroa mite infestation in managed colonies, researchers found, and supplemental sunflower pollen helps ward off the mites, as well. (Photo by Lillian Wong via FlickrCC BY-SA 2.0)

By Paige Embry

Paige Embry

Varroa destructor is aptly named. It is a parasitic mite of Asian honey bees (Apis cerana) that jumped to European honey bees (Apis mellifera) and then romped around most of the world, wreaking havoc.⁠ In 1987 it arrived in the United States,⁠ where it wins the dubious award of being the most problematic of the honey bee’s many pests and diseases.⁠

Scientists long thought that Varroa mites were tick-like—blood-suckers that transmitted diseases—and that the bulk of the harm they caused came from the diseases they spread. Even without spreading diseases, Varroa mites damage bees because they don’t actually eat replaceable hemolymph (a bee’s blood-equivalent); rather, they eat its fat body. It sounds benign because the name is misleading. A bee’s fat body is a bit like a human’s liver. It plays a role in the bee’s immune system and its ability to survive the winter and detox pesticides. Any method of lowering Varroa loads would be a huge boon to honey bees and their keepers.

new study published in December in the Journal of Economic Entomology provides early evidence that the humble sunflower (Helianthus annuus) may provide some relief from those fat body-destroying mites.

Evan Palmer-Young, Ph.D.

The pollen and nectar of sunflowers (and some other members of the Asteraceae family) are protein-poor and generally considered a subpar source of nutrition for bees. From an overall health perspective, however, sunflower pollen and nectar look like great food because they may help reduce parasites. Evan Palmer-Young, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Bee Research Lab in Beltsville, Maryland, is lead author on the new study. Previous experiments on bumble bees had shown that sunflower pollen strongly reduced infections by a specific parasite, so, Palmer-Young says, “We wanted to see whether honey bees might derive similar, infection-reducing benefits from sunflowers.”

The study covers four different experiments that looked at two parasites and several viruses, but only two experiments showed significant results. The authors sum up their findings: “Although we did not find significant effects of sunflower pollen on endopasrasites [Nosema ceranae] or viruses in laboratory or field settings, sunflower pollen was associated with reduced levels of Varroa mites in honey bee colonies.”

In one experiment the scientists provided supplemental pollen (sunflower pollen, wildflower pollen, or artificial protein patties) to field colonies of honey bees in late summer when Varroa levels often begin to rise. The colonies given supplemental sunflower pollen saw a 2.75-fold diminishment in Varroa infestation levels relative to bees receiving artificial pollen patties. (The group receiving wildflower pollen had more mites than the ones fed sunflower pollen, but the difference was not statistically significant.)

Perhaps the most significant finding was from the experiment that looked at the association of Varroa mite infestation levels and sunflower crop acreage. The scientists found that honey bees located near sunflower cropland had lower mite levels—even when the total land cover by sunflowers was scant (a median of 0.32 percent). Their models predicted that each doubling of sunflower acreage within two miles of an apiary would lead to a 28 percent decrease in mite infestation. The researchers note that this pattern is a correlation, and some other factors related to having sunflowers in the vicinity—different management practices by beekeepers or pesticide exposure, for example—may be the cause for the lower mite loads. Nevertheless, Palmer-Young says a big takeaway from the work is, “that sunflowers appear to be protective against a major threat to honey bees (i.e., mites), whereas the amount of U.S. sunflower cropland is declining—potentially limiting bees’ access to sunflower-associated benefits.”

Total crop area devoted to sunflowers in the U.S. has decreased by 2 percent per year since 1980. The authors note that market and policy shifts that led to changes in agriculture in the Dakotas played a role in that decline. In the 1980s, low-quality farmland was converted to (flower-rich) grasslands as part of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)—a change likely beneficial to bees of all sorts. Post-2000, both sunflower crop area and CRP acreage were replaced by corn and soybeans. The authors note, “Between 2006 and 2016, 53 percent of CRP land surrounding existing North and South Dakota apiaries was converted to crop production, but only 8 percent was used for bee-friendly crops.” This area hosts 75 percent of U.S. sunflower acreage as well as 40 percent of U.S. honey bees during the summer.

The authors write that they don’t have enough evidence yet to recommend specific changes in land use, but Palmer-Young says, “If sunflowers are as big of a factor in mite infestation as indicated by our landscape-level correlations … having a few more acres of sunflower within a mile or two of apiaries could bring colonies below the infestation levels that require treatment of hives with acaracides (i.e., mite-controlling chemicals).”

Palmer-Young provided a poetic summary for the paper:

Fields of sunflower blooming in sight
yield for many a bee a delight.
But with bright yellow joy
Displaced by corn and soy,
Honey bees could lose balm for their mites.

In other words, if additional research supports sunflowers as an anti-parasitic for Varroa mites, don’t be surprised if beekeepers start tossing out sunflower seeds everywhere they go.

Read More

Sunflower-Associated Reductions in Varroa Mite Infestation of Honey Bee Colonies

Journal of Economic Entomology

Paige Embry is a freelance science writer based in Seattle and author of Our Native Bees: North America’s Endangered Pollinators and the Fight to Save Them. Website: www.paigeembry.com.

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SEPTEMBER 21, 2022

Plant resources threatened by pests and diseases

by SciDev.Net

armyworm
Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

Imagine a world where farms bear no crops, forests have no trees and nature exists without plants.

Not only will our world look incredibly different, but humanity would likely cease to exist altogether. Plants provide 98% of the air we breathe and 80% of the food we eat. That’s how much our lives depend on plants, yet we often overlook how vital they are.

Our global plant resources are under threat from pests and diseases. Once plant pests are established in an area, it becomes nearly impossible and extremely costly to eradicate them. This sets back global efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by curtailing our ability to provide food security for all, protect our environment and biodiversity for future generations, and to ensure that crops and plant products are traded safely to help boost economic growth.

Every year, we lose as much as 40% of global crop yields or around US$220 billion due to plant pests. In Africa alone, nearly US$10 billion worth of annual maize yield is lost due to fall armyworm, a dangerous transboundary pest that has now spread in more than 70 countries. Reducing this menace will help alleviate hunger of the type faced by some 828 million people around the world in 2021, according to the latest report of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Climate change has increased pest incursions, particularly in new places where they had not been detected previously but have now thrived. Changing temperatures, humidity, light and wind are the second most important factors for pests to disperse, next to international travel and trade.

Invasive pests remain the main drivers of biodiversity loss. As the world becomes more globalized and interconnected, the increase in the movement of people and goods has been associated with the rise of the introduction and spread of plant pests across borders.

That is why global frameworks are crucial such as the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), an international treaty ratified by 184 countries which makes provisions for the protection and safeguarding of plants and facilitation of safe trade.

International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures—the gold standard in plant health—are in place for countries to adopt in their national legislation and import requirements. These standards range from pest surveillance, pest risk analysis, guidance for countries in developing pest eradication programs, national reporting of important pests, and more.

Global network of plant experts

Building a global community of plant health experts and advocates is essential. The IPPC Secretariat works with partners and donors to develop standards, facilitate countries’ adoption of the Convention and implementation of standards, and build the capacity of national plant protection organizations.

Guides, training materials and e-learning courses help these plant stewards effectively carry out their duties in safeguarding plants. Innovative tools such as the ePhyto allow countries to trade safely using digital phytosanitary certificates that make the trade in plants safer, faster and cheaper.

Raising global awareness and action among the wider public is also important. In 2020, we celebrated the International Year of Plant Health through 680 events held in 86 countries.

On May 12, 2022, the first International Day of Plant Health was declared following its adoption at the General Assembly of the United Nations in March. We thank the governments of Zambia and Finland as tireless champions in tabling the resolution at the Assembly, supported by FAO and the IPPC Secretariat.

The IPPC Secretariat and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs of the UK this week partnered to gather the world’s best plant health experts and advocates. The first and largest International Plant Health Conference being held in London aims to address new and emerging challenges such as climate change impact, the increase in international trade, the rapid loss of biodiversity and new pest pathways such as e-commerce. We will explore more efficient policies, structures and mechanisms at the national, regional and global levels.

Much work remains in protecting our plants. We need to be cautious when bringing plants and plant products when traveling as these could carry plant pests and diseases. Likewise, we should be aware that buying plants and plant products online should come with phytosanitary certificates that attest they meet phytosanitary import requirements.

E-commerce is an emerging pathway for the introduction and spread of plant pests. Online purchases cross international borders through mail or express freight systems via air freight or sea containers. These purchases often include but are not limited to, ornamental plants, soil from imported plants, untreated wood packaging materials such as pallets and crates and even novelty items such as seed-infused “plantable bookmarks.”

We call on governments, legislators, policymakers and donors to invest in research, outreach and in building the capacity of national plant protection organizations, and to strengthen pest monitoring and early warning systems.

We need all industry actors and government partners to adhere to international plant health standards to mutually protect our plants, food supplies and our economies.

When we protect plants, we protect our health, our environment, our livelihoods and our lives.


Explore further

Researchers use science of light to reduce pesticides used to protect crops from pests and diseases

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As a grower, you want to have an overview of what’s happening in your crop at all times. This is why many growers make sure that scouting takes place at regular times. Natutec Scout is a tool developed by Koppert to make sure every grower can utilize the benefits of having all your scout data in one central place.

To accommodate growers’ way of working, Natutec Scout offers four different ways to input your data:

  • Pen and paper scouting: write down your observations on paper like you’re used to, and enter your findings straight and simply. Record your findings directly into Natutec Scout using the manual input feature. Input is easier and quicker than using Excel with all the benefits and tools that Natutec Scout provides.
  • Enter your observations on the mobile Natutec Scout app – available for both Android and iOS – in which you make your observations, provide your location, and add notes and photos if you want to add additional findings to your scouting session. This data is then uploaded to the dashboard.
  • Automatic detection of whitefly using the Horiver Scanner: Using the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for automatic whitefly counts enables you to save a significant amount of time and labor when counting the whitefly on Horiver cards. Just take a picture of a Horiver card, and you are done.
  • Import historical scout data using the Excel import functionality. You can easily load multiple years of previous scout data (averages and specifics) into Natutec Scout. You immediately get the tools at your disposal to discover trends, hotspots, and other significant events in the IPM of your crop.

The scout data are transferable. Because of that, it’s nice to work with this knowledge between everyone in your company and for your external consultant(s).

For more information:
Koppert Biological Systems
koppert.com

Publication date: Wed 14 Sep 2022

Scouting pests and diseases

As a grower, you want to have an overview of what’s happening in your crop at all times. This is why many growers make sure that scouting takes place at regular times. Natutec Scout is a tool developed by Koppert to make sure every grower can utilize the benefits of having all your scout data in one central place.

To accommodate growers’ way of working, Natutec Scout offers four different ways to input your data:

  • Pen and paper scouting: write down your observations on paper like you’re used to, and enter your findings straight and simply. Record your findings directly into Natutec Scout using the manual input feature. Input is easier and quicker than using Excel with all the benefits and tools that Natutec Scout provides.
  • Enter your observations on the mobile Natutec Scout app – available for both Android and iOS – in which you make your observations, provide your location, and add notes and photos if you want to add additional findings to your scouting session. This data is then uploaded to the dashboard.
  • Automatic detection of whitefly using the Horiver Scanner: Using the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for automatic whitefly counts enables you to save a significant amount of time and labor when counting the whitefly on Horiver cards. Just take a picture of a Horiver card, and you are done.
  • Import historical scout data using the Excel import functionality. You can easily load multiple years of previous scout data (averages and specifics) into Natutec Scout. You immediately get the tools at your disposal to discover trends, hotspots, and other significant events in the IPM of your crop.

The scout data are transferable. Because of that, it’s nice to work with this knowledge between everyone in your company and for your external consultant(s).

For more information:
Koppert Biological Systems
koppert.com

Publication date: Wed 14 Sep 2022

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New, Improved, and Expanded!
Field Guide to African Soybean Diseases, Pests & Nutrient Deficiencies

Available Now!
April 1, 2021
  It’s here! The new and improved Field Guide is available for free now. Click here to access.   You asked, we delivered. The Soybean Innovation Lab’s (SIL) network of growers, breeders, agronomists, researchers, seed companies, practitioners, and extension agents needed a practical solution for identifying and addressing soybean diseases, pests, and nutrient deficiencies in the field. In response, SIL developed a pictorial, easy-to-use guide that provides diagnostic tools, management solutions, and guidance for achieving a healthy soybean crop.   The new & improved guide includes more information on important soybean pests and diseases, and a section on identifying and managing nutrient deficiencies, commonly confused for soybean diseases in the field. The guide contains more than 110 images gathered from SIL’s disease scouting network and soybean experts.     The Field Guide to African Soybean Diseases, Pests & Nutrient Deficiencies includes 7 sections to identify and address 44 potential threats to yield.   The expanded Field Guide covers important soybean diseases, pests and nutrient deficiencies including, from left, clockwise: Soybean Rust, Frogeye Leaf Spot, Calcium deficiency, Grasshopper, Stink Bug, Caterpillar, Bean Leaf Folder.   As soybean production increases across Africa, disease and pest pressures become more threatening to growers. The soybean industry requires knowledge on how to identify and manage soybean diseases, prepare for outbreaks, and understand varietal resistance to prevent potentially devastating yield losses due to soybean diseases.

The SIL Field Guide to African Soybean Diseases, Pest, & Nutrient Deficiencies is the the first and most comprehensive pictorial guide available to soybean producers in Africa.
    Download pdf here   Access an online version here   Field Guide Authors   The Field Guide to African Soybean Diseases, Pests, & Nutrient Deficiencies Version 2.0 was written by (left to right):  George Awuni, PhD, Plant and Soil Sciences, Mississippi State University Glen Hartman, PhD, USDA-ARS and Crop Sciences, University of Illinois Nicole Lee, Crop Sciences, University of Illinois Harun Muthuri Murithi, PhD, Plant Pathologist, ARS-USDA Michelle Pawlowski, PhD, Crop Sciences, University of Illinois Daniel B. Reynolds, PhD, Plant and Soil Sciences, Mississippi State University   The first edition of the Field Guide is available in 4 languages: English, French, Portuguese, and Amharic and has been used extensively by SIL’s network of soybean practitioners acoss 24 African countries.     “For the past 4 years all Pyxus agriculture Field Technicians are using the Field Guide to African Soybean Diseases and Pests.

“Whenever they are scouting or scoring pests and diseases they refer to the booklet guidance. It has got easy and simple pics to follow and well explained version of each illustrations.
 
“This has made it easier to distinguish diseases that look alike. So, our scouting, scoring and data recoding on pests and diseases has been easy and the booklet has improved our technicians’ knowledge on soybeans and related aspects. We use it as a field tool all the time.”
 
“Version 2 of the book is most welcome!”


– Dennis Banda, Pyxus International, Malawi
(Photos: Dennis Banda and his Field Guide)  

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EurekAlert

NEWS RELEASE 6-JAN-2021

Researchers discover how a bio-pesticide works against spider mites

TOKYO UNIVERSITY OF AGRICULTURE AND TECHNOLOGY

Research NewsSHARE PRINT E-MAILVolume 90% 

VIDEO: THE LARVA ROTATES IN THE SPHERICAL EGG TO CUT THE CHORION FOR HATCHING; 32× ACCELERATED. view more 

CREDIT: TAKESHI SUZUKI, TUAT. THIS WAS PUBLISHED IN ENG LIFE SCI. 2020;20:525-534

Scientists have uncovered why a food-ingredient-based pesticide made from safflower and cottonseed oils is effective against two-spotted spider mites that attack over a thousand species of plants while sparing the mites’ natural predators.

An international team of scientists has uncovered how a bio-pesticide works against spider mites while sparing their natural predators.

The findings, published in the journal Engineering in Life Sciences on October 7, 2020, could present farmers and gardeners with an eco-friendly alternative to synthetic pesticides.

Food ingredients have long been used as alternative pesticides against arthropod pests, such as insects, ticks, and mites, because they tend to be less toxic to mammals and pose less impact to the environment. The way bio-pesticides work – often through physical properties instead of chemical ones – also reduces the likelihood that the targeted pest will develop resistance to the pesticide, in turn reducing the need to use greater quantities of the pesticide or develop new ones.

One such bio-pesticide, made from safflower and cottonseed oils–which takes the brand name Suffoil–has been known to be effective against two-spotted spider mites (Tetranychus urticae), a species of arachnid that attacks more than 1,100 species of plants. Suffoil has no effect on another species of mite (Neoseiulus californicus) that naturally preys on the spider mite.

A spider mite normally hatches by cutting the eggshell, or “chorion,” with its appendages as it rotates in the egg. The rotation in turn helps it cut more of the chorion and eases hatching. The spider mite embryo also uses silk threads surrounding the eggs, woven by its parent to house the eggs on the underside of leaves, which may act as leverage to aid this rotation.

To understand how Suffoil works against spider mites, the researchers dipped spider mite eggs in Suffoil and examined them using powerful microscopes. They also used spider mite eggs dipped in water as a control group.

They found that Suffoil partly covered the surface of spider mite eggs and the surrounding silk threads. More importantly, they observed that the embryonic rotational movement essential for hatching was absent or stopped in the Suffoil-covered eggs. It appears that the oil seeps into the eggs through the cut chorion, making the inside too slick for the embryo to rotate, thus preventing the embryo from hatching properly.

“The bio-pesticide works by preventing the spider mite embryo from rotating within its eggshell for hatching,” said Takeshi Suzuki, a bio-engineer at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT) and senior author of the study.

“It may also weaken the toughness of silk threads and reduce the anchoring effect of the egg on the substrate,” said Suzuki.

The findings also offer an explanation as to why Suffoil has no effect on the spider mites’ natural predators – they don’t use rotation to hatch out of their eggs. This means that Suffoil may be used in conjunction with the spider mites’ natural predators.

###

Other contributors include Naoki Takeda, Ayumi Takata, Yuka Arai, Kazuhiro Sasaya, Shimpei Noyama and Noureldin Abuelfadl Ghazy, all affiliated with TUAT, Shigekazu Wakisaka at OAT Agrio Co., Ltd., and Dagmar Voigt at Technische Universität Dresden.

This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI, Grant/Award Number: 18H02203; JSPS Invitational Fellowships for Research in Japan, Grant/Award Number: L19542; Equal Opportunities Support of the School of Science at the Technische Universität of Dresden, Germany

For more information about the Suzuki laboratory, please visit http://web.tuat.ac.jp/~tszk/

Original publication:

Naoki Takeda Ayumi Takata Yuka Arai Kazuhiro Sasaya Shimpei Noyama Shigekazu Wakisaka Noureldin Abuelfadl Ghazy Dagmar Voigt Takeshi Suzuki. A vegetable oil-based biopesticide with ovicidal activity against the two-spotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae Koch. Eng Life Sci. 2020;20:525-534. https://doi.org/10.1002/elsc.202000042

About Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT):

TUAT is a distinguished university in Japan dedicated to science and technology. TUAT focuses on agriculture and engineering that form the foundation of industry, and promotes education and research fields that incorporate them. Boasting a history of over 140 years since our founding in 1874, TUAT continues to boldly take on new challenges and steadily promote fields. With high ethics, TUAT fulfills social responsibility in the capacity of transmitting science and technology information towards the construction of a sustainable society where both human beings and nature can thrive in a symbiotic relationship. For more information, please visit http://www.tuat.ac.jp/en/.

Contact:

Takeshi Suzuki, PhD
Associate Professor
Graduate School of Bio-Applications and Systems Engineering
Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT), Japan
tszk@cc.tuat.ac.jp

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WEMA maize shows promising resistance to destructive fall armyworm

Source: Ghana|Myjoyonline.com | Joseph Opoku-Gakpo | Joy News
Date: 26-04-2018 Time: 03:04:03:pm

Scientists have observed unexpected benefits in Mozambique’s Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) field trials that could well be a game changer in efforts to ensure Africa’s food security.

Though the maize varieties were genetically engineered to withstand drought and the vicious stem borer pest, they’re also showing promising resistance to the destructive fall armyworm pest, which arrived on the African continent in 2016 and continues its devastating advance.

Early results from Mozambique indicate the genetically modified WEMA seeds can offer significant protection against insect pests — without the use of pesticides.

This has positive implications for the other nations that are developing WEMA varieties, including Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa and Ethiopia.

 In Mozambique, the WEMA seeds are being tested on a 2.5-hectare confined field trial site at Chokwe in the Gaza Province, some three hours’ drive from the capital Maputo.

Ordinary local maize varieties, which are conventional, and the WEMA seeds, which are transgenic (GM), were planted last year to provide comparisons, and the results have exceeded the expectation of scientists working on the project.

No pesticides or insecticides were applied at any point in time in the life cycle of any of the plants. Four weeks after sowing the seeds, scientists analyzed the level of infestation by fall armyworm and other pests in the maize fields.

 “The leaf damage is higher in the conventional material than the transgenic one,” Dr Pedro Fato, the plant breeder in charge of the WEMA project, told Joy news during a visit to the field trial site.

“Here we have a combination of insect pressure from stem borer and fall armyworm. There was more than 30 percent [difference] on yield between the conventional and the transgenic, which means WEMA protects about 30 percent of the yield. The WEMA material shows resistance to both insects,” he noted.

The results are important because maize is a major staple in Africa, consumed by more than 300 million people. But the stem borer is a major pest that destroys maize by eating through the plants, leaving them struggling to survive. In many countries, fall armyworm is proving to be equally destructive.

Currently, farmers try to control these pests through the use of pesticides. Farmers in Mozambique say they have to spend a lot of money on pesticides, and they fear using the products could endanger their health.

“When I plant maize, pests attack them. I use pesticides to stop them,” explained Armahdo Bule, 59-year old farmer. “I know that using the pesticides without personal protection could give me diseases. I know that using pesticides is not good because it could give you problems. But we still use them,” he added

The pests also greatly reduce crop yields. “Stem borer is a biotic stress that Mozambique is concerned about, especially in this [Chokwe] area where there is a lot of heat,” Fato said. “It occurs throughout the country and sometimes causes yield loss of more than 40 percent.”

Further compounding the problem of pest attacks is the worsening weather. “Drought is another big challenge we farmers have to deal with repeatedly,” said Tabusa Arije, president of the local farmers association.

“The way the climate is changing has brought a lot of problems. Last year, we planted beans in July, but we didn’t make anything because the rain didn’t come and the temperature was high,” he noted.

Officials managing irrigation services in the country are equally concerned, saying the drought problem has gotten worse recently and led farmers into debt situations.

“There was a bad drought in 2016 and there was no water in the irrigation canals,” said Soares Almeida Xerinda, board chairman of the government irrigation organization Hydraulics of Chokwe.

“The impact was very bad because the farmers lost the crops that they have… Some farmers work with the banks to get inputs including seeds and fertilizers but until now, they still face the consequence of the drought.”

To address the problem facing maize, the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) launched the WEMA project, a public-private initiative that aims to produce conventional and genetically modified maize resistant to drought and pests.

The WEMA varieties are being developed through a collaboration between the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and government research institutions in six African nations using gene technology donated by Monsanto.

Since the resulting seeds are royalty-free, local seed companies can make them available to smallholder farmers at affordable prices.

“The project aims to develop and avail to farmers drought-tolerant and insect-protected maize varieties using a range of approaches, including conventional plant breeding and genetic modification,” said Dr Denis Kyetere, AATF executive director.

“These varieties will improve yields under moderate drought and protect maize from insect-pest damage,” he said.

Conventional WEMA varieties already have been introduced onto the market in target countries, except Ethiopia, which is currently testing the conventional varieties and preparing for drought-tolerant and insect-resistant (Bt) genetically modified maize confined field trials.

In 2016, South Africa became the first project country to commercialize Bt maize for use by smallholder farmers. Mozambique hopes to release the WEMA maize as the country’s first genetically modified organism.

The scientists are excited to discover that the Bt WEMA maize is also showing partial, but significant resistance to the fall armyworm, which has already spread to almost 30 African countries, destroying maize and other crops.

The pests are especially destructive because they don’t respond easily to pesticide applications and reproduce very rapidly.

In Mozambique alone, between 282,000 and 712,000 tonnes of maize were lost to the fall armyworm last year, costing the country’s economy between $83.8 and $208.7 million.

According to a report by the United Kingdom-based Center for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI) on the potential impact of the fall armyworm pests in Africa, which was commissioned by the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

Fato said the additional resistance to fall armyworm is good news for Mozambique’s agricultural sector, although that was not the intent of the research work.

“To control stem borer and fall armyworm, the farmers use a lot of insecticides and the cost of insecticide is higher particularly for the fall armyworm. So if you can produce maize that doesn’t need any protection in terms of insecticide, that will help the farmers a lot, in terms of yield.”

Farmers in the vicinity have already visited the WEMA fields and are excited about what they saw. “WEMA is providing solutions for problems and will increase productivity,” said Armahdo Bule.

“WEMA is welcoming because it will help us deal with diseases and drought,” said farm leader Tabusa Arije. “We are waiting eagerly to get the seeds.

“We are teaching ourselves about the seeds, how to apply pesticides and ensuring technology transfer with the hope that tomorrow, with WEMA varieties, things will be okay.”

This is the second — and perhaps last — of the confined field trials for insect resistance trait in Mozambique. Later this year, some of the varieties will be tested for their ability to withstand drought. Fato expects a smooth process that will eventually allow the WEMA varieties to enter the market and reach the farmers.

“In Mozambique, the regulation is in place,” he explained. “And that is why we certain we shall be able to plant these first transgenic materials. I hope that other crops will follow. The regulation is really conducive to GMO technology development.”

Soares Almeida Xerinda, the irrigation company official, agreed. “The WEMA variety will be a very important product because when you get involved in agriculture, you will always have a drought.

“Even if you have an irrigation system, you can always save water. Water is not in abundance. If you can save the water, you can use it for a long time including when you have a drought. The WEMA project is a good initiative.”

 

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Dear Colleague 

We are now less than 6 months from the start of the XV International Congress of Acarology 2018 (XV ICA 2018) at Swandor Hotels & Resorts Topkapi Palace in Antalya, Turkey from 2-8 September.

Please note that the deadline for the submission of abstracts and bids for staging XVI ICA 2022 is Friday, 16 March, only 2 days from today. To submit, go to the congress website at here and follow the prompts. The details of four symposiums and their organisers are also listed on the website.

The congress website also has all the up-to date congress details, including registration and accommodation. You are encouraged to make your arrangements to take advantage of ‘early bird’ prices.

Please also forward this email to colleagues who may be interested in attending.

Best wishes and see you in September in Antalya!

On behalf of the Organizing Committee

Sebahat K. Ozman-Sullivan
President
XV ICA 2018

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spider mites (2)

Dear Colleague

We are now just 6 months from the start of the XV International Congress of Acarology 2018 (XV ICA 2018) at Swandor Hotels & Resorts Topkapi Palace in Antalya, Turkey from 2-8 September.

The Organising Committee has received numerous requests to extend the abstract submission deadline. In response, the deadline for the submission of abstracts and bids for staging XVI ICA 2022 has been extended to Friday, 16 March. To submit, go to the congress website at http://www.acarology.org/ica/ica2018/ and follow the prompts. Please note that the details of four symposiums and their organisers are also listed on the website.

The congress website also has all the up-to date congress details, including registration and accommodation. You are encouraged to make your arrangements to take advantage of ‘early bird’ prices.

Please also forward this email to colleagues who may be interested in attending.

Best wishes and see you in September in Antalya!

On behalf of the Organizing Committee

Prof. Dr. Sebahat K. Ozman-Sullivan
President, XV ICA 2018

Email: ica2018turkey@gmail.com 

 

 

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spider mites (2)

Dear Colleague

We are now just 6 full months from the start of the XV International Congress of Acarology (XV ICA2018) at Swandor Hotels & Resorts Topkapi Palace in Antalya, Turkey from 2-8 September, 2018.

Please note that the deadline of 1 March for submitting abstracts is fast approaching. The same deadline applies to bids to stage ICA 2022. To submit, go to the congress website at http://www.acarology.org/ica/ica2018/ and follow the prompts.

The congress website also has all the up-to-date congress details, including registration and accommodation options.

As a special request, please forward this email to colleagues who may be interested in attending.

Best wishes and see you in September in Antalya!

On behalf of the Organizing Committee

Prof. Dr. Sebahat K. Ozman-Sullivan
President,

ICA 2018 <ica2018turkey@gmail.com>

 

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Dear Colleague

The Local Organising Committee for the XV International Congress of Acarology 2018 from 2-8 September in Antalya, Turkey extends its best wishes to you and family for 2018.

We are now just 8 months from the start of the congress at the Swandor Hotels & Resorts Topkapı Palace. The congress website at http://www.acarology.org/ica/ica2018/ has all the up-to date congress details, including topics, registration and accommodation. You are encouraged to make your arrangements to take advantage of ‘early bird’ prices.

To participate in the currently listed symposia, ‘Ticks and tick borne-diseases’ and ‘Parasitic and free living mites of medical and veterinary importance’, visit the website and click on ‘Symposia’ for the contact details of the organisers.

Please note that the deadline for proposals for symposia and seminars has been extended to 1 February, 2018 and that the deadlines for both abstract submission and bids for staging XVI ICA 2022 are 1 March, 2018.

For congress related enquiries, please contact kongre@bilkonturizm.com.tr and for scientific matters, ica2018turkey@gmail.com

See you next September in Antalya!

All the best

On behalf of the Organizing Committee
Prof. Dr. Sebahat K. Ozman-Sullivan
President, XV ICA 2018

 

 

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Dear Colleagues

We are now just over 9 months from the start of the XV International Congress of Acarology (XV ICA2018) which will be staged from 2-8 September, 2018 in Antalya, Turkey (http://www.acarology.org/ica/ica2018/).

As the countdown continues, we are now just 1 month from the deadline for proposals for symposia and seminars in the following areas:

  • Taxonomy and systematics
  • Evolution and phylogeny
  • Ecology and behavior of mites
  • Ecology and behavior of ticks
  • Invasive species and biosecurity
  • Chemical control and resistance
  • Alternative pesticides
  • Biological control
  • Integrated pest management
  • Biodiversity
  • Dispersal of mites and ticks
  • Population dynamics
  • Agricultural acarology
  • Soil acarology
  • Aquatic acarology
  • Veterinary acarology
  • Medical acarology

If you are interested in convening a symposium or seminar, please contact the science secretary at ica2018turkey@gmail.com by 22 December, 2017 to register the topic and get the process underway.

Please check regularly for all updates on the congress website: http://www.acarology.org/ica/ica2018/

All the best

On behalf of the Organizing Committee
Prof. Dr. Sebahat K. Ozman-Sullivan
President, XV ICA 2018

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