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RED IMPORTED FIRE ANT NEMESIS GAINS FOOTHOLD IN FLORIDA

According to the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and scientists who are working to control the red imported fire ant, the permanent establishment of a new species of phorid fly is bad news for the aggressive ant that has spread across the southern United States.

The establishment of the fly Pseudacteon curvatus is significant because it is the smallest of the decapitating flies and attacks only fire ants. Phorid fly maggots live in the heads of their fire ant hosts, eventually decapitating them and pupating inside their heads. This means it can attack small worker ants, which are the most abundant workers in an ant colony.

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ARS scientists at the Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology in Gainesville, Fla., recently reported that they collected P. curvatus flies from a research site southwest of Gainesville, one year after the flies were initially released. This confirms the flies survived the first overwinter and have established themselves within red imported fire ants in the United States.

ANLA NEW CONSUMER SEARCH

The American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA) announces a consumer search to their Web site, www.anala.org. It is a search engine that any consumer can go to when looking for a garden center or landscape firm in his or her area. This new feature is an added benefit for ANLA members and a convenient resource for consumers.

The consumer search tool can be accessed from the ANLA homepage and any consumer — member or non-member — can use it. They input their zip code and indicate whether they're searching for a garden center, landscape firm or both. The search results will yield the 25 closest ANLA member firms. The listings will include address, telephone and Web site for garden centers, and telephone and Web site for landscape firms.

LAWN CARE ASSOCIATIONS ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP

The Professional Lawn Care Association of America (PLCAA) and the Lawn Care Association of Pennsylvania (LCAP) announce the partnership between the two associations to offer an independent study training course: Certified Turfgrass Professional — Cool-Season Lawns.

PLCAA Executive Vice President Gary Clayton says, “The independent study allows the participant to learn the subject at his own pace, without attending formal classes. Like other educational and self-improvement activities, the more one puts into it, the more he or she will learn and benefit from the experience.”

The course is designed to provide the beginning lawn care or landscape professional with a foundation for understanding the “hows and whys” of lawn and grounds management in the northern United States. It consists of 10 study sections, each covering a particular topic related to the management of cool-season lawns. The course was developed by Peter Landshoot, associate professor of Turfgrass Science at Penn State University, and by Nancy Bosold, an extension agent with Penn State Cooperative Extension Service, in conjunction with LCAP and PLCAA

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