ARS scientists found that methyl benzoate can repel, and even kill, other insects and pests, including the spotted wing drosophila fly.
Conventional Herbicide Beefs Up Effective Biofumigant
For decades, methyl bromide was the principal soil fumigant for controlling pests, weeds, and pathogens that can diminish the yield and quality of fruit, vegetable, and ornamental crops. However, human and environmental health concerns led to methyl bromide’s complete phase out by 2015. Safer alternatives have since emerged, including a biofumigant derived from the essential oils of certain mustard plants. This biofumigant successfully rid the soils of such crop threats as root-knot nematodes and the tomato wilt bacterium, Ralstonia solanacearum.
However, ARS scientists in Fort Pierce, FL, observed that the biofumigant fell short against certain weeds, like purple nutsedge. In fact, more than twice the label-recommended amount of the biofumigant was needed to tame the weed in trials that the researchers conducted with tomato and bell pepper plants. In follow-up research, they found that combining the biofumigant with one of two registered herbicides (fomesafen or halosulfuron) seemed to do the trick, curbing infestations of the weed as well as reducing nematodes and the incidence of tomato wilt bacterium. The combination also had no effect on tomato and pepper plants. The findings help better position the biofumigant as a broad-spectrum methyl bromide alternative that growers can use, particularly in areas where taming stubborn weeds like nutsedge may require the helping hand of a co-applied herbicide.
Explore Other Discoveries
Food Additive Takes on Duty as a Pesticide
For the Love of Coffee
ARS scientists studied Puerto Rican fungal strains as possible biological control agents for managing the coffee berry borer in an environmentally sustainable manner.
Hopping Against Climate Change
Often viewed as pests, grasshoppers may have a larger environmental role to play.
New Sugarcane Sweetens the Deal
A new variety of sugarcane has high fiber content, excellent regrowth ability, high stalk population, cold tolerance, disease resistance, and excellent biomass yield.
Saving A Favorite Superfood
ARS scientists are combatting pests and diseases affecting avocado production in the U.S.
The Potato Industry’s New Stud
ARS scientists created a new potato variety with greater yields and better processing qualities, especially for making chips and fries.
The Buzz Around Bee Genomics
Researchers with the ARS Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics, and Physiology Research Unit have identified a region of the honey bee genome linked to reduced colony defensiveness.
Wasp Could Fight Emerald Ash Borer
In the search for natural enemies of the emerald ash borer, one promising candidate is a tiny 5-7 millimeter-long parasitic wasp that lays its eggs on EAB larvae.