Yellow floating heart, Nymphoides peltata, was introduced in North America in the late 19th century as an ornamental plant. Since its introduction, it has steadily spread and been repeatedly introduced across the United States and parts of Canada. Where introduced, yellow floating heart can outcompete native vegetation and phytoplankton, and reduce oxygen in the water. In this project, CABI is helping to identify which area(s) in Eurasia Nymphoides peltata was introduced from to North America and is conducting surveys for potential European biological control agents.
A new invasive pest of particular concern to Switzerland’s orchard industry is the Comstock mealybug, Pseudococcus comstocki. Originating from Asia, the Comstock mealybug was first detected in 2016 in fruit crops of the Swiss canton of Valais. Following its detection, the mealybug has caused significant local economic damage to apricot, pear and apple production, especially during 2018 and 2019. Chemical control is one way of helping to fight the pest but it has produced mixed, and often, insufficient results. Biological control is another method and this project, therefore, aims to develop a sustainable and environmentally friendly, biological control method for the Comstock mealybug.
Land in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is predominantly mountainous with a high proportion of upland slopes. Agroforestry methods help to maintain sloping land and over 200 established Sloping Land User Groups (SLUGs) already apply these methods. To mitigate associated environmental risks of sloping land, to increase food security of SLUGs and progress slope stabilisation, this project will focus on improving existing management practices of the SLUGs and county tree nurseries, and increasing their knowledge about pest control.
The spotted lanternfly is an Asian polyphagous pest that feeds on more than 70 plants by sucking the sap out of from leaves, stems and trunks. It was found in Pennsylvania in 2014 and has since expanded its geographical distribution. The damage caused by the pest, its sugary excrement and sooty mold has been devastating for the Pennsylvania wine industry – reportedly causing a 90% grape loss.
Worldwide, over 500 million smallholder farmers provide food for two-thirds of the earth’s growing population. Achieving a zero hunger world by 2030 depends on increasing the productivity of these smallholder farmers – but their crops face a significant threat. Yearly, an estimated 40% of crops grown worldwide are lost to pests. If we could reduce crop losses by just 1%, we could potentially feed millions more people. The lack of access to timely, appropriate and actionable extension advice makes it a fundamental challenge for farmers to get the right information at the right time to reduce crop losses.
After rice, maize is the most important crop in the Mekong Delta. Insects including the Asian corn borer are a major threat to production. Fear of crop losses, together with a lack of alternative measures, can result in overuse of pesticides – posing health risks to farmers, consumers and the agro-ecosystem. This project will establish local production of an affordable biological control agent, the parasitic wasp trichogramma, which kills the eggs of maize pests.