IFAS News

University of Florida

UF/IFAS Bug Week focuses on “Big Money Bugs” that generate economic damages, benefits

Topic(s): Agriculture, Biocontrols, Citrus, Crops, Economics, Entomology and Nematology, Environment, Families and Consumers, Household Pests, IFAS, Invasive Species, Lawn & Garden, Pests
The invasive Asian citrus psyllid.

The invasive Asian citrus psyllid. UF/IFAS photo by Michael Rogers. Click for high-red image.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Call them Florida’s “Big Money Bugs” – the insects responsible for the greatest economic damages, costs and benefits that arthropods generate in the Sunshine State.

This year, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) focuses on Big Money Bugs for its annual Bug Week, May 21 to 27. The event offers educational outreach for the public while showcasing UF/IFAS’ entomology and nematology program, one of the nation’s largest and most comprehensive.

Visit the Bug Week website at http://bugs.ufl.edu for more information, including profiles on six of the state’s most economically significant arthropods. Among these species are the destructive Asian citrus psyllid and Formosan subterranean termite, topics of great concern, said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources.

“In recent years, pest insects have had enormous negative impacts on our state,” Payne said. “Bug Week is the perfect opportunity for UF/IFAS to raise awareness about the challenges these pests bring about, in terms of lost agricultural and natural resources production, management costs, and even human and veterinary healthcare issues, in some instances.”

Species profiled on the Bug Week website include:

*The Asian citrus psyllid, which cost the state’s citrus industry $7.8 billion in total economic contributions from crop losses during the 2006-07 through 2012-13 growing seasons;

*The Formosan subterranean termite, the most destructive widespread termite species in Florida;

*Invasive yellow fever and Asian tiger mosquitoes, which are known to transmit viral diseases in Florida and believed to transmit Zika virus in other countries;

*Beneficial honeybees, which help make Florida the nation’s third-largest honey producer as well as a top source of rental honey bee colonies used to pollinate crops. (more …)

UF/IFAS study: Hot water, essential oil could help prevent postharvest development of citrus black spot

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, Economics, Pests, RECs, Research

 

Citrus Black Spot 050916

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FORT PIERCE, Fla. – Dipping fruit after harvest with hot water and essential oil dips may reduce postharvest development of citrus black spot lesions per fruit by up to 50 percent, according to new University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences research.

The new management techniques are the result of Jiaqi Yan’s recently completed doctorate she earned at UF. Yan’s dissertation focused on citrus black spot and developed postharvest treatments using hot water, fungicides and essential oils to significantly inhibit the development of citrus black spot lesions.

Citrus black spot is caused by a pathogen called Guignardia citricarpa, a fungal disease first detected in 2010 in an Immokalee grove. Similar to canker, citrus black spot forms dark lesions on fresh fruit skin and adversely impacts the crop’s marketability. The disease is currently believed to be confined to Hendry, Collier and Polk counties.

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Avocado tree-destroying pathogen now in 61 of 67 Florida counties

Topic(s): Agriculture, Economics, Environment, Extension, Families and Consumers, Pests

 

 

A greenhouse tree infected by the Laurel Wilt disease.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences tropical fruit expert is doing his best to help commercial and residential avocado tree owners battle the dangerous laurel wilt pathogen.

With 12,000 commercial avocado trees already destroyed by laurel wilt, growers need a solution, but so do residential homeowners, as the pathogen has now been reported in all but six of Florida’s 67 counties, said Jonathan Crane, a UF/IFAS professor of horticultural sciences and a tropical fruit Extension specialist.

The only counties not to have reported laurel wilt are Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Gulf, Franklin and Wakulla – all in the Panhandle, said Crane, a faculty member at the UF/IFAS Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, Florida.

“Eventually, all Florida counties will have laurel wilt,” Crane said.

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UF/IFAS study on luring, trapping dangerous beetle wins prestigious award

Topic(s): Agriculture, Honors and Appointments, IFAS, Pests, RECs, Research

 

Dr. Lukasz Stelinski, assistant professor of entomology and nematology.  2009 Annual Research Report photo by Tyler Jones.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Royal Entomological Society has awarded its 2016 Best Paper Award to a paper written by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers. The paper was based on a study about a new way to monitor and trap a beetle that transmits a dangerous pathogen to certain trees.

Lukasz Stelinski, an associate professor of entomology at the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center, spearheaded the study in which investigators came up with a synthetic aroma to lure redbay ambrosia beetles into traps.

“Identifying an effective lure for the beetle is an important step in developing management tools for this pathogen-spreading insect in Florida,” Stelinksi said.

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UF/IFAS scientist: Pinellas County a model for mosquito-borne disease surveillance

Topic(s): Entomology and Nematology, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Pests

Mosquito surveillance 042016 - Jonanthan Day

Jonathan Day

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — As we inch closer to summer and its inevitable rain, we also head toward mosquito egg-laying season. And as we do, Florida mosquito control officials may learn to emulate Pinellas County’s mosquito-borne disease surveillance program and its response to a West Nile virus outbreak in 2005, a University of Florida entomologist says.

“They have a top-notch mosquito surveillance program in Pinellas County,” said Professor Jonathan Day, a faculty member at the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, part of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. “That’s the model that we always go back to. They averted a much larger West Nile epidemic in 2005.”

Day will speak April 26 at the Southwest Regional Workshop on Arboviral Surveillance in Lehigh Acres, Florida. The workshop is organized by the Florida Mosquito Control Association and FMEL, and participants will analyze the 2011 and 2015 South Florida surveillance data regarding mosquito-borne viruses.

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Florida citrus growers: 80 percent of trees infected by greening

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, Crops, Economics, Extension, IFAS, Pests, RECs, Research

Small lopsided fruit from greening-infected citrus tree.  Spring 2008 Impact Magazine image.  UF/IFAS File Photo.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida’s citrus growers say as much as 90 percent of their acreage and 80 percent of their trees are infected by the deadly greening disease, which is making a huge dent in the state’s $10.7 billion citrus industry, a new University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences survey shows.

The survey, conducted in March 2015, shows the first grower-based estimates of both the level of citrus greening in Florida and the impact of greening on citrus operations in Florida.

“Even though the industry acknowledges that greening has reached epidemic proportions across the state, estimates of the level of infection and its impact on citrus operations are scarce,” the researchers wrote in the paper.

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UF/IFAS recognizes top faculty research

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Aquaculture, Economics, Environment, Honors and Appointments, IFAS, Nutrition, Pests, RECs, Research

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Whether it’s hybrid termites, grain pathogens, mosquito mating or something in between, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers are studying important topics and helping to solve global issues.

The UF/IFAS Research Dean’s Office recently recognized more than two dozen UF/IFAS faculty members for their impactful research, and Dean for Research Jackie Burns said she could not be more proud of the scientists.

“We recognize that these research articles are examples of the many published by UF/IFAS that are highly impactful and help reach solutions to worldwide issues including food shortages, nutrition, diseases and economic development,” Burns said. “Our faculty perform top-quality, globally-recognized scientific work, and we’re proud to recognize them.”

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Veteran biologist named director of UF/IFAS entomology lab

Topic(s): Entomology and Nematology, Environment, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Pests, RECs, Research

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Jorge Rey

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Just as the Zika virus is causing concern worldwide, a University of Florida insect specialist with 36 years of experience at the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory has been named the lab’s new director.

Professor Jorge Rey started at FMEL, part of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, in 1979, the year the Vero Beach, Florida, lab came under UF’s umbrella. He moved up the faculty ranks from research scientist to professor in 1994 and was named interim director last year. Now, he’s the lab director, said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources.

“With his many years of top-quality research and his time as interim director of the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, Dr. Rey has earned the respect of the lab’s faculty members. Thus, he’s an ideal fit as director,” Payne said. “Dr. Rey is well-positioned to lead the FMEL scientists to new heights in research and Extension as we continue to look for solutions to mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue, chikungunya and Zika.”

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What kind of mosquito is that? UF/IFAS course teaches you

Topic(s): Entomology and Nematology, Environment, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Pests, RECs

 

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Want to know how to differentiate between an Asian tiger mosquito and a yellow fever mosquito? Such knowledge may be worth your while because both mosquito species can transmit dangerous viruses such as chikungunya, dengue and zika if they bite you.

Students learn to identify mosquito species during a mosquito identification course being held now and in April at the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory (FMEL), a Vero Beach facility and part of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

There are about 80 species in Florida; approximately 150 nationally and more than 3,500 globally, said Roxanne Connelly, a UF/IFAS Extension entomology professor and instructor for the courses. Connelly teaches identification of the adult mosquitoes, and Nathan Burkett-Cadena, an assistant professor at the UF/IFAS facility, teaches identification of larval mosquitoes.

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UF/IFAS scientists to present plant diagnostic data at D.C. conference

Topic(s): Crops, Economics, Entomology and Nematology, Environment, Extension, IFAS, Invasive Species, Pests

 

Carrie Harmon photographed for the 2011 FAES Awards.  Associate In, MS.  Mycology.  Plant Pathology.  UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Researchers with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Plant Diagnostic Center will help shed light on potentially devastating plant diseases at the 4th National Meeting of the National Plant Diagnostic Network (NPDN) in Washington, D.C.

Held every three to four years, this year’s conference will take place March 8 to 12 in the nation’s capital.

Among those representing UF will be Jason Smith, a UF/IFAS associate professor of forest pathology. Smith’s topic is titled, “Holy Guacamole: Insights into the Emerging Laurel Wilt Pandemic.”

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