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Department of Entomology

Department of Entomology
123 W. Waters Hall
1603 Old Claflin Place
Kansas State University
Manhattan KS 66506-4004

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Stories from 2009

Why Are Honey Bee Colonies Collapsing?

Tuesday, 25 August 2009: Researchers at the University of Illinois, said the varroa mite, a parasite that infects the honey bee, is a carrier of picorna-like virues that damage ribosomes that produce proteins.

Monsanto, Dow AgroSciences Complete U.S. and Canadian Regulatory Authorizations for SmartStax Corn July 20, 2009 -- SmartStax has received registration from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and regulatory authorization from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and remains on track for a 2010 commercial launch. SmartStax uniquely features a combination of insect control traits that significantly reduces the risk of resistance for both above- and below-ground pests. As a result, the decisions by the EPA and CFIA will allow reduction of the typical structured farm refuge from 20 percent to 5 percent for SmartStax in the U.S. Corn Belt and Canada and from 50 percent to 20 percent of the U.S. Cotton Belt. http://www.monsanto.co.uk/news/ukshowlib.phtml?uid=13995

Malathion; Product Cancellation Order

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). - (July 2, 2009)

SUMMARY: This notice announces EPA's order for the cancellations and amendments to terminate uses, voluntarily requested by the registrants and accepted by the Agency, of products containing the pesticide
malathion, pursuant to section 6(f)(1) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), as amended. This cancellation order follows a May 20, 2009 Federal Register Notice of Receipt of Requests from the malathion registrants to voluntarily cancel or to amend to terminate uses of certain malathion product registrations. These are not the last malathion products registered for use in the United States. EPA hereby issues in this notice a cancellation order granting therequested cancellations and amendments to terminate uses. Any distribution, sale, or use of the malathion products subject to this cancellation order is permitted only in accordance with the terms of this order, including any existing stocks provisions.

DATES: The cancellations are effective July 15, 2009.

Provisions for Disposition of Existing Stocks: Registrants may sell or distribute existing stocks for 1 year from the effective date of cancellation.

Full cancellation order including products and uses affected is available at:

Do Trees Scream Silently During Droughts? Released: July 16, 2009

Like a dog whistle’s sound, trees’ distress signals are too high for humans to hear. For many species of bark beetle, however, trees’ ultrasonic noises are a sirens’ call to come and feast. “These distress signals are just one example of how plant and insect interactions can change during periods of drought – sometimes in rather curious ways,” said Raymond Cloyd, entomologist with Kansas State University Research and Extension. “Homeowners need to be aware of the possibilities, so they can recognize when they need to step in to protect their landscape.”

Revised Publication 2009 version of Wheat Variety Disease & Insect Ratings is now on the web at: http://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/MF991.pdf. Printed copies should be available in a few days. This document discusses the disease and insect resistance of common wheat varieties and should be a useful resource when selecting which varieties to plant this fall. The document is revised yearly, since disease and insect ratings change over time as new biotypes develop.

Carbofuran; Final Tolerance Revocations

EPA is revoking all tolerances for carbofuran. The Agency has determined that the risk from aggregate exposure from the use of carbofuran does not meet the safety standard of section 408(b)(2) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA). EPA is revoking all of the existing tolerances for residues of carbofuran. Currently, tolerances have been established on the following crops: Alfalfa, forage; alfalfa, hay; artichoke, globe; banana; barley, grain; barley, straw; beet, sugar roots; beet, sugar tops; coffee bean, green; corn, forage; corn, grain (including popcorn); corn, stover; corn, sweet, kernel plus cob; cotton, undelinted seed; cranberry; cucumber; grape; grape raisin; grape, raisin, waste; melon; milk; oat, grain; oat, straw; pepper; potato; pumpkin; rice, grain; rice, straw; sorghum, forage; sorghum, grain grain; sorghum, grain, stover; strawberry; soybean, forage; soybean, hay; squash; sugarcane, cane; sunflower, seed; wheat, grain; wheat, straw. This final rule is effective August 13, 2009. Written objections, requests for a hearing, or requests for a stay identified by the docket identification (ID) number EPA-HQ-OPP-2005-0162 must be received on or before July 14, 2009, and must be filed in accordance with the instructions provided in 40 CFR part 178. For more information refer to:

Web Can Give Butterfly Lovers Localized Help

Butterfly fans who want to attract the flamboyant insects into a backyard setting or simply to conserve them in nature have rapidly been increasing in numbers for at least a decade. “That’s fit nicely with a growing trend toward using insecticides only when absolutely necessary. Bees and butterflies both are benefiting from that,” horticulturist Ward Upham said. “But, I suspect some people have been surprised, if not discouraged, by how complicated the whole subject of butterflies is.” Fortunately, several outstanding Web resources are available now to help butterfly fans find the localized information they need, Upham added. Finding and sharing the word about such resources is part of his job as Master Gardener program coordinator for Kansas State University Research and Extension. (click on the title of this article for more information).

Latest on Colony Collapse Disorder Thursday, 5 March 2009 BBC World Service -- "No proof' of bee killer theory" Scientists say there is no proof that a mysterious disease blamed for the deaths of billions of bees actually exists. The term Colony Collapse Disorder was coined to describe the illness. But many experts now believe that the term is misleading and there is no single, new ailment killing the bees. The article also links to a videoshowing the varroa mite under a microscope and explaining why these mites are dangerous to bees.

K-State Entomologists Control Insects and Show ‘Em Off, Too They creep . . . they crawl . . . they fly . . . many of them bite or sting. At Kansas State University´s Insect Zoo, they´re also the stars of the show.Many U.S. universities have collections of insects that travel to schools for presentations. But, Kiffnie Holt, K-State zoo coordinator, isn´t aware of any other permanent exhibits. The zoo is housed in the old dairy barn on the northwest corner of the K-State campus, down the street from Throckmorton Hall. Visitors can view a wide variety of insects, arachnids and even some aquatic life there. The exhibits include large framed collections of native insects and the requisite "butterfly collection." There´s even a live honeybee colony, encased in plexiglass.

But, the centerpiece of the zoo is a leafcutter ant colony, housed in part of a dividing wall that bisects the museum floor. Toward the front of that wall is a terrarium, regularly stocked with tree branches, debris and small pieces of fruit. A long stretch of clear tubing connects the ants´ two living areas. Holt believes the display is easily the zoo´s most popular. The zoo is open noon to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and it charges a small admission fee. "On many of the days that people might expect us to be closed, we´re actually open," she said. "You can find out the holidays when we´re open to visitors by checking our Web site."

That site, which include "fun links," on-site photos and information on scheduling guided tours, is at http://www.k-state.edu/butterfly. Insect Shipping Solution In the fall of 2007, we were alerted to a potential safety hazard of shipping insect samples in alcohol. Since that time, we have been working to develop an alternative procedure for shipping small soft-bodied insects to our insect diagnostic lab without the need for hazardous liquids. Thus, we are now proposing the following solution: Small, immature or soft-bodied specimens can be shipped in small glass vials filled with vinegar. This material is inexpensive and can be purchased at any local grocery store. Do not use rubbing alcohol, ethyl alcohol, formalin, formaldehyde, or other similar preservatives as these are flammable, hazardous and may violate federal Department of Transportation shipping regulations. Keep in mind that water is not a preservative and insects can discolor and decompose if shipped in plain water. When shipping insects in vinegar, make sure the lid is on tight and secure the cap with tape. Wrap the vial in a paper towel and seal inside a plastic bag. Put the bag in a small box or mailing tube filled with packing material to prevent breakage of the vials(s). More detailed shipping instructions can be found on our web site at http://www.entomology.k-state.edu/extension under the tab for diagnostician. Thomas W. Phillips and Phillip E. Sloderbeck, K-State, Department of Entomology. 2009 Field Crop Insect Management Guides: Alfalfa Insect Management 2009 MF 809 pdf (January 2009) Corn Insect Management 2008 MF 810 pdf (January 2008) Cotton Insect Management 2009 MF-2674 (January 2009) Sorghum Insect Management 2009 MF 742 pdf (January 2009) Soybean Insect Management 2009 MF 743 pdf (January 2009) Sunflower Insect Management 2009 MF 814 pdf (January 2009) Wheat Insect Management for 2009 MF 745 pdf (January 2009)

Radio Programs

(MP3 files available for your computer or iPod)

July 22, 2009 --MP3 -- K-State research entomologist J.P. Michaud advises sunflower producers to start watching fields now for sunflower head moths migrating in...with a rapid treatment response called for when those moths reach a certain threshold.

July 10, 2009 -- MP3 -- K-State crop entomologist Jeff Whitworth talks about the extensive assortment of insect pests which are threatening soybeans, alfalfa and grain sorghum crops right now, along with advice on treatment when necessary.

June 6, 2009 -- MP3 -- K-State grain scientist Bhadriraju Subramanyam looks at preparing on-farm grain bins for imcoming wheat this harvest, including the latest options for pre-harvest bin insecticides as well as insecticidal grain treatments on the wheat itself as it enters the bin.

June 3, 2009 -- MP3 -- As harvest time nears, K-State crop entomologist J.P. Michaud alerts wheat growers about the possible return of the wheat head armyworm, and what producers can do to lessen the economic losses from this pest's feeding on ripening wheat kernals.

May 29, 2009 -- MP3 --K-State crop entomologist Jeff Whitworth alerts soybean growers to early activity by the bean leaf beetle...which could be feeding on seedling soybeans right now, and could pose a definite threat to double-crop soybeans after wheat.

April 23, 2009 -- MP3 -- K-State crop entomologist Jeff Whitworth has his latest scouting report on insect activity in Kansas alfalfa, with updated advice on controlling pea aphids and weevils.

April 9, 2009 -- MP3 -- K-State crop entomologist Jeff Whitworth considers how the hard freeze earlier this week may have affected insect activity in winter wheat and alfalfa...one concern being that the cold temperatures may have also impacted beneficial insects, and that could pave the way for other insects to assert themselves.

March 19, 2009 -- MP3 -- K-State crop entomologist Jeff Whitworth alerts alfalfa growers that alfalfa weevil activity is building up in stands around Kansas. Jeff passes along the latest treatment options and strategies for growers to employ.

March 10, 2009 -- MP3 -- K-State crop entomologist Phil Sloderbeck talks about several changes in insecticide treatment options for alfalfa, as depicted in the K-State alfalfa insect management guide...he'll also look at the early-spring insect threats to alfalfa stands that a grower can anticipate.

February 24, 2009 -- MP3 -- K-State crop entomologist Jeff Whitworth advises wheat growers to scout now for signs of winter grain mites...going over how to decide whether an insecticide treatment against this pest is necessary.

February 12, 2009 -- MP3 -- K-State crop entomologist Jeff Whitworth talks about the heightened interest in insecticidal seed treatments for soybeans, going over the research-based performance records of the various treatment products.

January 6, 2009 -- MP3 -- K-State crop entomologist Jeff Whitworth comments on numerous reports
of Hessian fly damage to winter wheat in Kansas, and how to distinguish that damage from weather-induced winterkill in wheat stands.