A parasitoid wasp controls kudzu bug populations in its native Asia. University of Georgia entomologist Michael Toews hopes those wasps will one day reduce the kudzu bug’s presence in the United States.“(Finding a predator) is exactly what we need to do for long-term suppression,” said Toews, a researcher with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “The problem is you can’t just go collect a bug from another land and release it. You have to study all of its non-target effects. Sometimes you can create more problems than you’re solving when you release a new species in a foreign land.”U.S. Department of Agriculture and UGA entomologists are studying the wasp to see if it will parasitize other insects native to the U.S.When kudzu bugs arrived in the U.S. in 2009, north Georgia soybean growers quickly realized the bug had an appetite for more than just kudzu. If untreated, kudzu bug damage can result in soybean yield losses ranging from 20-60 percent, according to UGA entomologist Phillip Roberts. Kudzu bugs suck on the main stem and leaf of soybean plants, which weakens and stresses the plant.“This is a major production challenge for us because this invasive insect pest has had no natural controls in the United States. This insect is native to Asia, China and Japan, specifically,” Toews said. “In those lands, there are parasitoid wasps that manage these populations. In fact, they’re not considered crop pests in their native land. But when it was introduced into North America and the Western Hemisphere, the parasitoid did not come with it, so that bug has been able to expand very, very rapidly.”The wasp attacks kudzu bug eggs and kills the larvae before they hatch. The uncertainty surrounding the wasps’ potential impact in North America has Toews and fellow entomologists concerned.“Entomologists, stakeholders and growers are all hoping that this little parasitoid is going to help us manage our kudzu bug populations,” Toews said. “ We’re all hopeful that it’s going to happen, but this is a new land (for the wasp), and we don’t really know if the same amount of control will be exerted as in its native area,” Toews said.In 2012, researchers applied for the necessary USDA permit to release the wasp. Scientists must first demonstrate new pests are safe and do not alter the ecosystem before they are released. This usually takes a couple of years, but the parasitoid wasp was found in Georgia and Alabama last summer. Toews calls the findings accidental and is uncertain how the wasp made it to the U.S. Genetic testing shows the newly detected wasp population is different than the strain being examined under quarantine. Research teams throughout the Southeast are monitoring the potential spread of the parasitoid wasp during this year’s growing season.Two grants to study kudzu bug researchUGA scientists are using two new grants from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture to find new ways to eliminate the kudzu bug’s impact in the U.S.One grant will be used to look at different thresholds for reducing the pest in the field with the hope of eliminating all economic damage with a single pesticide spray. The scientists are examining various factors, including the timing of pesticide sprays and what to use as a benchmark for insecticide application (stage of crop, time of year, foliage density or distribution of the bug in the field).The second grant will fund a study of the biology and ecology of kudzu bugs in farm settings. After overwintering in the bark of pine trees, kudzu bugs flock to developing kudzu where the first generation of kudzu bugs develop. When they mature, the bugs seek out soybean fields. Toews marks the bugs in kudzu using a fluorescent powder and then observes when, where and why the bugs move to soybean fields. Traps are strategically placed in soybean fields to monitor the kudzu bugs. When a marked bug arrives at the soybean field, Toews can determine when and where the bug was marked and how far it flew. Through this process, Toews is able to study the bugs’ capacity for flight, their differences in reproducing on different host plants and how likely they are to disperse at different times of the year.For more information about the kudzu bug, see kudzubug.org.
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“We don’t feel he is injury prone,” Lynch told KNBR. “Yesterday, he had a big human being fall on his legs while he was engaged with someone else. So, some of those things, that’s football, you can’t prevent that.”Browns trade running back Duke Johnson to TexansThe Browns are still making changes to their offense. They sent disgruntled running back Duke Johnson to the Texans in exchange for a draft pick. The trade comes just slightly more than two weeks after Browns coach Freddie Kitchens stated, “We’re not giving away good players” right before the team’s training camp started.There’s been speculation around Johnson’s future for the majority of the offseason. Quarterback Baker Mayfield was asked about Johnson’s status in June, and said: “He’s going to handle his stuff how he wants, but you’re either on this train or you’re not, it’s moving. You can get out of the way or you can join us.’’Now, Johnson is headed to a franchise that is still figuring out its backfield situation after waiving former first-round pick D’Onta Foreman earlier this week. Houston is trying to figure out who will complement Lamar Miller best.Chiefs reveal QB plan for preseason openerChiefs coach Andy Reid revealed his plan for utilizing his quarterbacks for Saturday’s preseason game against the Bengals. He intends to start quarterback Patrick Mahomes and keep him in for the first quarter. Reid has been known to play his starting quarterbacks during the preseason in the past, but the move is a bit unusual because coaches generally prefer to sit their quarterbacks to avoid risking injury. Backup Chad Henne is expected to play during the second quarter, while Chase Litton will take over in the third and rookie Kyle Shurmur will play in the fourth, per CBS Sports.#ChiefsCamp was taken up a notch today 😤 pic.twitter.com/hmVKN7HFpz— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) August 8, 2019Two things that don’t matterKirk Cousins troubled by rookie center’s … sweaty butt?Mark this one as one of the most unusual stories to come out of training camp: Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins is bothered by first-round draft pick Garrett Bradbury’s sweaty butt. Cousins said he’s concered Bradbury’s sweat will affect his grip on the ball.”He promises that it’s not a problem in games, and it remains to be seen because his shorts today were soaked,” Cousins said (via the Star Tribune). “But apparently when they keep those domes air-conditioned and you get a break on the bench and you sit with the cooling fans, I’m hoping that really helps.”The first big test will come when the Vikings open their preseason against the Saints.”(A) big thing I’m going to take away from Friday night, is how tough was it to grip the ball after he snaps it to me. Uh, if it’s tough we might be in pistol and shotgun (formations) all year,” Cousins said. Cowboys’ Robert Quinn facing two-game suspensionCowboys defensive end Robert Quinn is facing a two-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. He’s eligible to return on Sept. 16 after the Cowboys play the Redskins in Week 2. Preseason is officially here with 11 games kicking off Thursday, and another five taking place across Friday and Saturday. With that comes a variety of storylines we’re keeping track of as the regular season quickly approaches. From injury updates to the latest trade news, we take a look at what’s happening around the league in this edition of NFL news and notes. Three things that matter49ers rookie Nick Bosa will sit preseason with ankle injury49ers’ Nick Bosa left Wednesday’s practice early with an injury, and general manager John Lynch confirmed Thursday that the defensive end has a “significant” ankle sprain and will be forced to miss the preseason. There is still hope he will be ready for the regular-season opener against the Buccaneers on Sept. 8, but the 49ers are going to be “very prudent” about his return. While an ankle sprain may not seem like a huge deal, Bosa has had a long history of injuries. He was sidelined most of last season with a core muscle injury while playing for Ohio State, and missed much of the 49ers’ offseason program due to a hamstring issue. Related News Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes breaking preseason tradition, will play first quarter of opener Cowboys’ Robert Quinn suspended 2 games, agent calls NFL’s decision ‘tone deaf’ Browns trade disgruntled running back Duke Johnson to Texans Normally this would be a significant loss for the Cowboys, who are struggling with depth at the position, but Quinn broke his hand in practice earlier this week. His availability for the first couple of games of the regular season were already in question. One video you have to seeSaquon Barkley is working on his throwing game — well kind of. The Giants running back attempted to throw a “no look” pass, similar to one Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has thrown, but it didn’t go exactly as planned.”No-look. Mahomes.” @saquon’s impression did not go according to plan 😆 pic.twitter.com/rhTa1n5ZSa— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) August 8, 2019Thursday tweet of the daySteelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is putting in some work this offseason. He caught 370 balls from a football passing machine after practice.#Steelers WR @TeamJuJu Smith-Schuster caught 370 balls on the JUGs machine after practice yesterday.That’s a lot.pic.twitter.com/45ERag9W0q— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) August 8, 2019