Trissolcus japonicus in North America

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Image: Elijah Talamas, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Systematic Entomology Laboratory via StopBMSB.org)

A parasitoid of Halyomorpha halys (the brown marmorated stink bug) has been found in North America. This parasitoid, Trissolcus japonicus (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae), was being evaluated in quarantine as a potential classical biological control agent of H. halys. Read this for more details.

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Classical Biological Control and Extinctions?

My favorite definition of “biological control” is a graphical definition. Figure 1 shows a Levins’ diagram, where circles represent a negative interaction and arrows represent a positive interaction; solid lines represent a direct interaction and dashed lines represent an indirect interaction. Levins’ diagrams were introduced to me by Dave Andow; my PhD advisor, George Heimpel, drew my attention to their usefulness in defining biological control.

Essentially, biological control is a situation where …

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Indirect suppression of Harmonia axyridis? (Bahlai et al. 2015)

I didn’t expect to write about insecticide use again so soon, but upon reading Christie Bahlai and colleagues’ new manuscript (preprint available online in Ecological Applications), I find myself pulled back in.

Their paper (Title: “Shifts in dynamic regime of an invasive lady beetle are linked to the invasion and insecticidal management of its prey”) presents data on regional trap captures of Harmonia axyridis, along with reports of soybean aphid infestation levels. The …

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Neonicotinoid Seed Treatments (Douglas & Tooker 2015)

I just read this cool paper by Douglas and Tooker (2015) Environmental Science and Technology in which they synthesized data on neonicotinoid insecticidal seed treatments in the US. This is nice because we all know that seed treatments are super common, but getting a good estimate on the prevalence is not so easy.

They used publically available data spanning 2003-2011 (*see below for data sources). Among a number of interesting findings, they report that 34-44% of soybeans …

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