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Natural Plant Toxins Aid Bees

Researchers studying the interaction between plants, pollinators and parasites report that in recent experiments, bees infected with a common intestinal parasite had reduced parasite levels in their guts after seven days if the bees also consumed natural toxins present in plant nectar. In this early and most comprehensive study of its kind, researchers at the […]

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Plant Communities Beat Monocultures

Although monocultures can be cultivated efficiently, they are anything but sustainable: environmental damage to soil and water caused by monoculture cultivation is becoming increasingly evident, even beyond in-the-know sustainable farming circles. Despite their disadvantages, however, monocultures remain the principal crop form and are often regarded as the sole possibility for achieving higher yields in plant […]

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Diversified Farming Better for Wildlife

A study by scientists at Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley, published in Science, shows that evolutionarily distinct species suffer most heavily in intensively farmed areas. They also found, however, that an extraordinary amount of evolutionary history is sustained in diversified farming systems, which outlines a strategy for balancing agricultural activity and conservation efforts. […]

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Cover Crops for Pest Management

Two small farmers in Florida are partnering with University of Florida Extension to determine how cover crops can be used to manage insect pests. In a newly funded Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education On-Farm Research Grant, “Establishing and Evaluating Selected Cover Crops on Small Farms to Increase the Impact of Beneficial Arthropods on Crop […]

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Bugs as Bio-Control

University of Adelaide Ph.D. student Rebecca Kittel has discovered 18 new species of tiny parasitic chelonine wasps which have potential to be used as biological control (bio-control) agents as they specifically target individual varieties of moths. The adult wasps inject their eggs into the eggs of host moths. The wasp larvae feed and develop inside […]

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Neonicotinoid Risks Outweigh Benefits

Center for Food Safety released a scientific literature review which reveals that neonicotinoid insecticide seed treatments offer little benefit, do not increase crop yields and cause widespread environmental and economic damage. In particular, neonicotinods have been implicated in bee population declines and colony collapse. The authors examined 19 peer-reviewed studies of the relationship between neonicotinoid […]