The Buzz on Native Bees

We hear a lot about honeybees now, with colony collapse posing a large, ominous threat to our agricultural industry and therefore populations, but often overlooked are the wonders and benefits of native bees. Native bees are incredibly diverse, with over 4,000 known species, they also display unique behaviors and biological quirks. Wildlife photographer, Clay Bolt,…

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Pad Pests

One of the biggest annoyances of winter are all the pests that look for asylum from severe weather in our homes, and those that follow knowing an easy meal is within reach. Thank goodness we have a mightily effective exterminator nearby. House centipedes, Scutigera coleoptrata, may hold the distinction of being some of the creepiest…

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Algal Alternative

According to a recent study published in the journal Energy & Fuels, an algae commonly cultivated as fish food could be a potential alternative source for the production of biodiesel and jet fuel. Western Washington University’s, Greg O’Neil and Chris Reddy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, led the research into the previously untapped class of chemical compounds…

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Tilted Tillage

The term “vertical farming” was originally coined in 1915, but had not achieved widespread popularity, that is, until now. Stacking rows of plants in greenhouses and using artificial light while careful moderating water and nutrient inputs is the future of sustainable agriculture, and it is catching on presently. The innovative ag-tech firm PlantLab (http://www.plantlab.nl/) recently…

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Carnivorous Plant Casualties

The carnivorous venus fly trap plant, Dionaea muscipula, is at risk for extinction in the wild due to poaching. The arrest of four men caught illegally collecting the plants on the Holly Shelter Game Land Preserve in North Carolina made headlines and history for being the first felonious charges for theft of venus fly traps from…

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Adroit Arboriculture

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) founded in 1992, by environmentalists, community leaders and businesses, following the failure of the Rio Earth Summit to produce an international agreement to stop deforestation. The first FSC general assembly gathered in 1993 in Toronto with a mission to create a set of voluntary, market-based tools to improve responsible forestry practices…

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Aspen Affliction-Tree Pests

The large aspen tortrix,  Choristoneura conflictana, is in the category of tree pests known as defoliators or leaf rollers. Its principal target host is the quaking aspen, Populus tremuloides, and the insect’s range coincides with that of the tree for the most part. The range extends from Nova Scotia south and west into northeastern and northcentral…

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Drought Data

As of January 6, 2015 the extent of drought conditions across the U.S. is at its lowest point since December 20, 2011.  However, drought conditions in parts of the west and southern plains remain severe. December 2014 brought heavy precipitation to southeastern and eastern portions of the country, significantly reducing levels of abnormal dryness (D0), moderate…

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