LSU AgCenter scientists have discovered a novel termite bait that combines both chemical and bacterial control methods. It lowers termite resistance to bacterial infection and is more environmentally friendly than purely chemical methods.
The LSU Department of Entomology conducted a study that used DNA profiles to detect individual termite colonies, determine the number of colonies infesting an area, and identify the colonies producing swarming termites each year in the French Quarter, which has historic structures dating back to the mid- to late 1700s.
The LSU AgCenter has modified yeast that can be fed to termites to produce and express digestion in the termites’ guts, resulting in death. The time required for the yeast to kill the termites is long enough to allow transfer of the yeast among colony mates; all of the termites studied died within five weeks.
LSU AgCenter researchers and extension agents are working with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture to manage and control the spread of the Asian citrus psyllid through scouting measures and quarantines.
Researchers at NOAA’s Louisiana Sea Grant program and the LSU AgCenter have successfully produced canned Asian carp, which has a complex bone structure and is difficult to filet. This could deliver high-quality protein to people in need, be a potential new commercial fishery, provide new opportunities for canneries, and reduce the population of an unwanted invasive species.
Salvinia weevils, raised by the LSU AgCenter, have been released across southern Louisiana and are sustainably managing giant salvinia. A cold-tolerant weevil is being tested for north Louisiana, where salvinia caused a $17,000 to $32,000 decrease in property values on Lake Bistineau.
Rebecca Christofferson, Ph.D., assistant professor in pathobiological sciences, with the Vector-borne Disease Laboratory at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, currently studies the recently emerged Zika virus. By studying the virus, she hopes to discover the patterns of transmission in order to prevent further outbreaks. Similar to dengue and chikungunya, Zika causes a mild flu-like illness and is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes.
Agriculture is big business in Louisiana - contributing billions of dollars to the economy. Louisiana sugarcane is arguably the most successful crop in the history of our state. In 2014, the total value of sugarcane production exceeded $700 million. Researchers at LSU AgCenter work ceaselessly to create new disease-resistant sugarcane varieties for Louisiana growers.
The LSU AgCenter is exploring various strategies for curtailing sugarcane aphid destruction through a delicate balancing act between the use of pesticides and preservation of beneficial insects that are natural enemies of aphids. They are also developing sorghum hybrids, suitable to Louisiana’s climate, with aphid resistance.
Lauren Pharr's research focuses on the scavenging rates of vultures at the Texas State Forensic Anthropology Research Facility, or FARF, and the use of satellite telemetry to isolate probable scavenging locations. This research is important to law enforcement because investigators across the United States rely on accurate "time since death estimations" to help narrow down missing persons files to be searched, and also to either confirm or refute a suspects alibi.