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Inexpensive, on-farm method controls invasive beetle

Kara Dunn Published on 02 December 2010
After 21 years of work, Cornell researchers are spreading the word about an on-farm biocontrol method to solve the problems caused by the destructive invasive species alfalfa snout beetle (ASB).

The 30-page "Rearing and Applying Nematodes to Control Alfalfa Snout Beetle" manual that condenses the Cornell research on the pest is available online free of charge. Click here to download the manual.

More than 13 percent (500,000 acres) of the New York's agricultural land has been infested by ASB, which can destroy entire fields in one year. The flightless insect now infests Cayuga, Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis, Oswego, St. Lawrence and Wayne counties and southeastern Ontario, Canada.

Research has shown that treating fields with native insect-attacking nematodes that feed on the ASB larvae can cause alfalfa snout beetle populations to drastically diminish.

"The nematodes naturally recycle within the alfalfa snout beetle host, persist in the soil, and effectively self-disperse creating the opportunity for sweeping and perpetual control across treated fields," says Antonio Testa, a Cornell research support specialist.

Click here to read the rest of this article from the Cornell ChronicleFG