World heritage site saved from invasive ant species

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The African big-headed ant. Photo: Eli M. Sarnat from AntWeb

After years of effort, the invasive African big-headed ant (Pheidole megacephala) has successfully been eradicated from Lord Howe Island, an island off the coast of Australia, helping to protect this World Heritage site and its unique diversity of plants and animals. Continue reading

Samurai wasp found in Europe – the end of the stink bug invasion?

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The Asian samurai wasp Trissolcus japonicus; photo: CABI

CABI scientists have made the first discovery of the Asian samurai wasp Trissolcus japonicus – a natural enemy that kills the eggs of the the invasive fruit and nut pest brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) – in Europe.

Judith Stahl and Dr Tim Haye led an international team of researchers, including those from the University of Turin and the USDA Agricultural Research Service, who used DNA analysis to confirm the wasp – which is native to China, Japan and Korea – was found in Switzerland in 2017.

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E-conference on responding to fall armyworm in Africa

Farmers in Ghana tackling fall armyworm

Last week, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s Thematic Network on Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems hosted an e-conference on the fall armyworm outbreak in Africa which brought together experts, stakeholders and other interested parties to discuss the challenges posed by fall armyworm and to evaluate the possible solutions.

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Fall armyworm in Africa: communicating out of a crisis

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Take a quick look at the map of the fall armyworm invasion. It gives you a good feel for the number of smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa directly affected by a small caterpillar eating their staple crop – maize – at a rapid rate. As a communication professional working in agriculture, it has been the first time I have found it so easy to explain my work – “ah yes, you are working on this ‘worm’… it is causing so many problems for farmers here” is the response I now get.

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Progress made on fall armyworm, but greater effort needed

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A major new report published by CABI has today revealed that losses due to fall armyworm are lower than projected in 2017 and the pest is still primarily focussed on maize rather than any other potential host crops. Better monitoring, swift responses by governments and farmers and an increase of natural enemies attacking the pest all help in mitigating the devastating crop losses it can cause.

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Indian farmers using smartphones to fight fast-moving crop killer

By Eric Marx. Reblogged from Ethical Corporation.

Plantix is a diagnostic app that uses image recognition software and AI. It is being used to halt the advance of the fall armyworm pest.

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An app that uses artificial intelligence to identify plant disease is being deployed in India as an early-warning system to stop the advance of a crop-destroying caterpillar that is having a devastating impact on maize crops in Africa.

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