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Audio ActualityComments about finding a Japanese beetle in Merced
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» June 27, 2008 «
A Central Valley beekeeper told Congress yesterday (Thursday) he'll be watching his bees closely in coming weeks, to see if populations drop as they did a year ago. Beekeeper Steve Godlin of Visalia was among several who testified at a subcommittee hearing in Washington. He said his bees look good now, but that his colonies began collapsing in mid-July last year. Godlin and other speakers urged Congress and the administration to continue to focus research on bee health.
Insect traps being set around Merced will help authorities learn if a single Japanese beetle could be part of a larger population. The beetle turned up in an insect trap not far from a regional airport. The county agricultural commissioner says it's the first time the Japanese beetle has been found in Merced County. The beetle feeds on the leaves and fruit of more than 300 crops and plants. Three previous infestations of the pest in California were eradicated.
The Japanese beetle uses its sense of smell to find a mate, and University of California researchers say they've found a way to disrupt that. A team at UC Davis reports that it has identified and isolated an enzyme from a Japanese beetle's antenna. By learning how to inactivate the enzyme, the team hopes to interfere with a male Japanese beetle's ability to locate a female. That, in turn, could lead to new ways to fight the pest.
With a goal to enhance the safety of fresh fruits and vegetables, a private-public partnership announced a million-dollar research program yesterday. The Center for Produce Safety says the program focuses on the field-to-fork research needs of the produce supply chain. The center is located at the University of California, Davis. It will make guidelines available to researchers next week and expects to award grants for the food-safety projects this fall.Top