When Prof. James Liebherr of the Cornell University Insect Collection thoroughly sampled beetle populations on the volcano, he identified 116 species of round-waisted predatory beetles, including 74 new to science.
NNYADP alfalfa snout beetle project boosts growers and agribusinesses | Dairy Herd ManagementCornell University entomologist Elson Shields and research support specialist Antonio Testa discovered native New York nematodes as a naturally occurring biological control for alfalfa snout beetle (ASB), and pioneered the use of the insect-attacking, microscopic worms to reduce beetle populations to manageable levels.
Biotechnology companies hope to turn a Nobel-prize-winning discovery into a powerful genetic control for pest weeds and insects. RNA interference (RNAi) holds the promise of delivering modern agricultural systems a target-specific control method, with no known impact on surrounding ecosystems.
“Soil insecticides were effective, but costly, time-consuming, didn’t cure the problem and are no longer an option,”Rulfs explains. “Adult control with foliar insecticide is ineffective.” That’s why Rulfs Orchard was the first berry farm to test a biocontrol protocol developed by Cornell University entomologist Elson Shields.
"Diamondback is a serious problem for farmers in New York State and around the world – anywhere cruciferous vegetables and field crops are grown," he said. "These moths invade and attack the crops, and they are developing resistance to insecticides, so we urgently need new tools to better control them."
Although invasive beetles may probably never be eradicated, local farmers are winning battles against them, according to experts from Ithaca’s Cornell University and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County.
New research improves prospects of plum curculio control using nematodes. New York fruit growers may have found a more effective biocontrol tool for managing plum curculio—and a new model that could be developed and used by growers elsewhere.