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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Spotted Wing Drosophila Monitoring 2011 - Seeking Volunteers

We will be beginning spotted wing drosophila (SWD) monitoring this month! As some of you are aware, last year we conducted SWD monitoring with the help of volunteer trappers. This project was very successful and was responsible for the detection of SWD in NC and central SC. Without this monitoring network, we would not have had the valuable early warning which allowed us to train growers in identification and monitoring tools this winter.

I would like to build on the success of this project in 2011. We again have funds from the Southern Region Small Fruit Consortium to purchase supplies for the volunteer monitoring network. New for 2011, we also have funds to support extension agent travel to 3 hands on training sessions. The first training session is scheduled for March 24th at the Piedmont Research Station near Salisbury, NC. More information on this training session will be posted this week.

You may be thinking, "Why do we need to trap for SWD? Don't we already know we have it?" In 2010, we monitored 24 locations, but found flies or larvae at just 14 of those. We also found flies at locations where we weren't monitoring! We do not yet understand the range of SWD in the southeast or when the populations are the highest. This is what we will focus on in 2011. Our goal is to delimit the spread of SWD in NC, SC, and VA and determine when populations are likely to cause the most damage. This will help us recommend management strategies to growers and homeowners alike.

Because determining range is a key goal, we need as many locations as possible. I am expanding my call for volunteers to include research station personnel, master gardeners, growers, and the public (that's you). Volunteers will receive all monitoring supplies, SWD identification training (either in person at one of the workshops or via webinar), and monitoring support throughout the growing season. To maintain 1 site should take 1-2 hours per week, not including travel time to the site (we are putting out fewer traps per site than last year).

If you are interested in participating in the SWD Volunteer Monitoring Network, please fill out the form at this link.

Please complete this form by Tuesday, March 15th. If you have questions about the monitoring network, please email me.

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