University of Florida

Mosquito threat emerges as season peaks, UF researchers report

Topic(s): Entomology and Nematology, Environment, Household Pests, IFAS, Pests, RECs, Safety

Some mosquito species play a major role in the transmission of disease-causing viruses. (UF/IFAS/File Photo)

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Mosquitoes aren’t just a nuisance, they’re also an economic and health concern, say University of Florida researchers.

July, August, and September are peak months for mosquito activity in Florida, and the state spends about $151 million each year trying to control the biting insects.

Controlling mosquitoes is important for economic development and tourism, said Jonathan Day, a University of Florida medical entomology professor at UF’s Florida Medical Entomology Lab in Vero Beach.

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UF researchers use acoustic tools to detect underground insects that attack grapes

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, IFAS, New Technology, Pests

Grapes. UF/IFAS Photo: Thomas Wright.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida researchers are finding new ways to thwart crop-devouring pests — by being good listeners.

High-tech acoustic equipment makes it possible for them to listen in as insects gnaw on grapevine roots, making it much easier for vineyard owners to know where to focus their efforts against the pest called the grape root borer.

Will Sanders, a former UF entomology graduate student, conducted much of the research and outlines the project in the current issue of Florida Entomologist. Using sound to target the pest could one day save vineyard owners money and pay off for consumers in lower costs for grapes and wine, he said. Grapes are a $20 million annual industry for Florida.

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UF/IFAS scientist receives share of $6 million FNIH grant award for malaria research

Topic(s): Pests, Research, Uncategorized

Jeffrey Bloomquist, a member of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, will lead one of four projects awarded a share of a $6 million grant program for malaria control research.

The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health announced $6 million in grants awarded through its “New Insecticides for Malaria Control: Discovery Research for the Identification of New Chemical Entities for Vector Control of Malaria” program.

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UF nature trail project enables smartphone users to hear insect sounds

Topic(s): Entomology and Nematology, New Technology

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Visitors to University of Florida nature trails can now hear an ancient form of communication — insect songs — using one of the latest communication technologies.

Seven educational stations in UF’s Natural Area Teaching Laboratory now feature signs marked with QR codes, the square, black-and-white patterns that are starting to appear in print advertising. By scanning the signs with a mobile device, visitors can access digital recordings of katydids and crickets native to the area.

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UF study finds artificial reefs are economic boon; enjoy widespread public support

Topic(s): Conservation, Economics


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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A newly released University of Florida study of artificial reef use in six southwest Florida counties shows the structures lure a lot more than fish.

The reefs, which provide habitat for popular sport fish and other marine life, pulled more than $253 million into the region during one year, the study found. Though it costs nothing more than a saltwater fishing license to use the submerged structures as a fishing spot, anglers spend money on food, lodging, fuel, tackle and other necessities.

The UF and Florida Sea Grant study looked at money generated by artificial reefs in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and Lee counties in 2009. Researchers found that $136 million came from residents, while $117 million was spent by visitors.

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UF Ordway Swisher finalized as site in large scale ecology project

Topic(s): Announcements, Conservation, Environment, IFAS, Invasive Species, Research

The sun is low on the horizon as seen from a small lake on UF's Ordway-Swisher property close to Melrose, Florida. UF/IFAS Photo: Tyler Jones.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida has officially partnered with a National Science Foundation-funded program to allow measurements and data collection related to the Earth’s ecological health to occur on UF’s 9,100-acre Ordway-Swisher Biological Station property in Putnam County.

The project, known as the National Ecological Observatory Network, or NEON, is a 30-year, continental-scale program to track ecological responses to environmental shifts such as climate change, land-use modifications and invasive species introductions.

The project includes 20 core sites that represent different areas of North America. The Ordway-Swisher site near Melrose will serves as the core site for NEON’s Southeastern domain, which stretches from North Carolina to Texas.

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