Climate change is expected to disrupt ecosystems by changing insects’ and other organisms’ life cycles in unpredictable ways -– and scientists are getting a preview of these changes in cities. NC State University research shows that some insect pests are thriving in warm, urban environments and developing earlier, limiting the impact of parasitoid wasps that normally help keep those pest populations in check.
In fall 2013, Dr. Dominic Reisig got a phone call from a farmer in rural Hyde County. The farmer was growing corn, and it was literally falling apart in the field. What was going on? Reisig, an entomologist at NC State University, is a sort of science detective who specializes in insects that pose a threat to crops. And the farmer had presented him with a mystery.
N.C. State University Extension Specialist Dominic Reisig wants to find a way to keep growers with kudzu bug problems out of the “spray continuum.” So he and his colleagues from South Carolina and Georgia will use a $168,644 U.S. Department of Agriculture Southern Regional IPM grant to find out why kudzu bugs leave their home in kudzu patches to move to soybean fields.
Through a 4-H-public schools partnership in Transylvania County, Brevard High School sophomores Abby Williams and Carly Onnink conducted the type of research that professors says they expect to find in a university laboratory. Their topic: kudzu bug pheromones.
Preserving international forests, providing food security and addressing issues of global climate change will require a coordinated effort, Frances Seymour, former director of the Center for International Forestry Research in Indonesia, told an audience at N.C. State University’s 2013 Borlaug Lecture. And before the lecture, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences entomologist Dr. Fred Gould received the Borlaug Excellence in Service to Society and the Environment Award.
Doctoral student Ann Carr is hard at work developing ways to attract ticks so that the general population can avoid them.
Under the direction of Department of Entomology professors Dr. Charles Apperson, Dr. Michael Roe and Dr. Coby Schal, Carr recently discovered that two chemicals – acetone and ammonium hydroxide – attract high numbers of the tick species Amblyomma americanum. The development of this chemical cocktail could open new doors for the screening and management of tick populations in North Carolina and beyond.
National award-winning Ph.D. student Diane Silcox is developing biological solutions with economic savings for managing damage from the hunting billbug, a relatively new pest in North Carolina’s warm-season turf.
Dr. Fred Gould, William Neal Reynolds Professor in the Department of Entomology, is one of two North Carolina State University faculty members named to the Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources, a major program unit of the National Research Council.
Humans aren’t the only species with a sweet tooth. N.C. State University researchers and Extension specialists have found that the invasive spotted-wing vinegar fly (Drosophila suzukii) also prefers sweet, soft fruit. Their study sheds new light on a species that has spread across the United States over the past four years and threatens to cause hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to U.S. fruit crops.
A new invasive pest from Asia likes fruits and berries as much as you do. A Cooperative Extension entomologist at is working to stop the hungry fruit fly, or at least slow it down. Read more in N.C. State’s Bulletin.