What a new and fascinating idea by our USDA! (I'm being as sarcastic as
I can.) I remember years ago when I was working for a food co-op,
reading about how some company (Eden Foods?) released predators into
their grain silos to keep down the number of grain pests. Their grain
was condemned by FDA as contaminated and they were told they couldn't do
this, that they would have to add poisons just like everyone else.
My, how times have changed!
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Subject: Wee Wasps Vanquish Big Bad Beetles
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 1999 10:19:20 -0400
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Wee Wasps Vanquish Big Bad Beetles
ARS News Service
Agricultural Research Service, USDA
Linda McGraw, (309) 681-6530, firstname.lastname@example.org
October 27, 1999
Good things really do come in small packages. Just ask Agricultural Research
Service entomologists in Manhattan, Kan., who found that tiny, normally
harmless wasps about a quarter-inch long can control insect pests in stored
Biological control is an important part of integrated pest management for
stored commodities such as wheat, corn, or grain sorghum, according to Paul
W. Flinn and David W. Hagstrum of ARS' Grain Marketing and Production
Research Center. Damage caused by larvae of the lesser grain borer, rice
weevil and maize weevil costs the U.S. wheat industry millions of dollars
The tiny wasps, Theocolax elegans, don't feed on grain but on lesser grain
borer larvae that typically attack commodities stored in bins and elevators.
For their study, the researchers used six 1,000-bushel bins filled with
wheat. They released the parasitic wasps into three of the bins. Next, they
released lesser grain borers into all six bins. After 131 days of storage,
the beetles were reduced by 91 percent in the treated bins compared to the
bins without wasps.
The Manhattan researchers then milled the wheat flour and sent it to the
Federal Grain Inspection Service in Kansas City, Mo. FGIS analyzed it for
insect fragments. Flour from the wheat exposed to wasps had 89 percent fewer
insect fragments than flour from the control bins. That's because the
harmless adult wasps stay outside the grain kernels, so they are easily
removed when grain is cleaned in flour mills.
Scientific contact: Paul W. Flinn, ARS Grain Marketing and Production
Research Center, 1515 College Avenue, Manhattan, KS 66502, phone (785)
776-2707, fax (785) 537-5594, email@example.com.
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