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Thursday, December 15, 2011

SWD Webinar & upcoming meetings

Thursday, I recorded an update of our spotted wing drosophila research & extension activities.  We will be closing out our 2011 SWD*VMN activities 31 December 2011.  For those of you who were not able to make it, the recording of the session is available here.  To access the session, you'll need the session password fruitfly.  

I also have several upcoming meetings where I'll be discussing SWD, among other things.  For those of you interested, these meetings are:

Southeast Regional Fruit & Vegetable Conference
January 6-7; Savannah, GA
I am presenting in the Blackberry & Raspberry (January 6, morning), Blueberry (January 6, afternoon), and Muscadine (January 7, afternoon) sessions.  A brief program for the SE Regional Fruit & Vegetable Conference is here

Blueberry Open House
January 10-11; Clinton, NC
My talk on SWD is at 8:50am on January 10th. A draft program for the BBOH is here.

Arkansas Commercial Fruit Growers Meeting
January 24; Conway, AR
I will be presenting at this meeting via webinar.

North Carolina Winegrowers Association Annual Meeting
February 3-5; Winston-Salem, NC
My talk is on February 5th and will cover the GRB*VMN and SWD status and biology in grapes.

North Carolina Commercial Blackberry & Raspberry Growers Association
February 7; Shelby, NC
My talk on SWD will be in the afternoon. A draft program for the NCCBRGA meeting is here.

Southeastern Branch ESA Meeting
March 3-7; Little Rock, AR
I am leading a symposium on SWD in the southeast.

7th International IPM Symposium
March 27-29; Memphis, TN
I am facilitating a mini workshop on "Improving the handoff: invasive species regulation to research" which will use SWD as a case study.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Definitions of sustainable agriculture

I was part of an interesting and productive meeting Monday dealing with the tobacco side of my research and extension program where the conversation turned to definitions of sustainable agriculture.  The consensus was that there is not consensus among growers, regulators, and the public as to what sustainable agriculture really means. Being a visual thinker, this conversation inspired me to plug the definitions used by some of the sustainable agriculture resources I trust into a Wordle

The most frequently used terms in definitions of sustainable agriculture are represented, and their size is proportionate to their frequency.  While the words pest and pests appear, albeit relatively infrequently, pesticide is absent but was frequently mentioned in our conversation Monday.  Labor and economic sustainability are also absent from the sources included above and were key components in our conversation.  What did appear as important were environmental concepts, such as water and soil.  I used definitions from the following resources to create this word cloud if you are interested in repeated my results or adding different sources:
UC Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition 
The Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program (SARE)
USDA - Sustainable Agriculture Information
Ecological Agriculture Projects - McGill University

While bouncing around the site, I also created a word cloud for my twenty six most recent blog posts.  It's pretty clear what's been on my mind lately!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

SWD monitoring videos from NC Cooperative Extension

This summer, Shawn Banks, NC Cooperative Extension Horticulture Agent in Johnston County, recruited me to participate in a series of videos on spotted wing drosophila monitoring.  The first two videos are now online!

The first video follows Shawn as he checks his traps as part of the spotted wing drosophila volunteer monitoring network (SWD*VMN).

The second video features me walking your through the construction of a spotted wing drosophila monitoring trap.

 A third video detailing larval sampling methods is in the works. You can find these videos and others at the NC Cooperative Extension YouTube Channel.

More information
Spotted wing drosophila volunteer monitoring network
North Carolina Cooperative Extension - YouTube

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

We need your help to identify spotted wing drosophila research and extension needs in the eastern US!

The rapid spread of spotted wing drosophila (SWD, Drosophila suzukii) in the eastern United States and the associated damage to berry crops has highlighted the need for research and education on this pest in east to compliment ongoing activities in the western US.

If you are a fruit grower, gardener, extension agent, crop consultant, fruit marketer, or have a stake in SWD management for another reason, please fill out the survey below by December 1, 2011. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom to submit.

We need your input to be sure that the work we do meets your needs! To learn more about SWD in the southeast, see here.

Thank you to all of you who shared your thoughts on spotted wing drosophila research needs!  We received 273 online submissions and 46 hard copy submissions.  I will be summarizing the results of this survey in the next few days.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

North Carolina Entomological Society banquet this Friday

The North Carolina Entomological Society is holding its annual meeting and banquet this Friday, October 28th at the NC State University Arboretum.  Poster session and social hour begin at 5pm with the banquet starting at 6:30pm.  Our keynote speaker is author of the "Bug Man" novels and Cary, NC resident, Tim Downs.  

The Bug Man novels follow the exploits of a fictional forensic entomologist based in the very real North Carolina State University Department of Entomology!  Early registration is closed, but interested attendees can still register at the door ($35 for society members and guests, and $22 for students).  Contact Hannah Burrack ( for further information.

It's meeting season!

The field season is reaching its end, and meeting season is set to begin!  I will have posts for each of the meetings where I will be presenting, but there's too many additional meetings to list separately!  Here are several of upcoming meetings, workshops, and conferences:

Pollinator conservation planning short course. Organized by Xerces Society. November 15th. Mills River, NC.
Pollinator conservation planning short course. Organized by Xerces Society. November 17th. Pittsboro, NC.

Southeast Strawberry Expo. Organized by the North Carolina Strawberry Association. November 6-8. Durham, NC.

North Carolina Winegrape Growers Annual Conference. Organized by the North Carolina Winegrowers Association. February 3-5, 2012. I will be presenting at this meeting on November 5th.

General & sustainable agriculture
Rockingham County Small Farm Day. Organized by Rockingham County Cooperative Extension. November 5. I will be presenting at this meeting.

Sustainable Agriculture Conference. Organized by Carolina Farm Stewardship Association. November 11-13. Durham, NC. Including a session on hops production by Scott King, NCSU Soil Science Department.

Crop Protection School. Organized by the North Carolina State University College of Agriculture & Life Sciences. December 6. I will be presenting on spotted wing drososphila at this meeting as part of a session on new invasive species in North Carolina.

Southeast Regional Fruit & Vegetable Conference. Organized by the Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association. January 5-8, 2012. I will be presenting at this meeting on insect monitoring & management in muscadine grapes, spotted wing drosophila in blackberries & raspberries, and spotted wing drosophila in blueberries.  Whew!

Southeast Strawberry Expo fast approaching

The 2011 Southeast Strawberry Expo is just two short weeks way.  This year's expo is in Durham, NC and immediately precedes the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association's Sustainable Agriculture Conference, also in Durham.

I will be presenting on when NOT to treat for insect and mite pests in strawberries.  This presentation will focus on identifying pest and beneficial arthropods and their damage, using treatment thresholds, and developing a monitoring program.  These are crucial skills for growers and homeowners alike, and I look forward to a lively session.  I speak on Monday, November 7th at 11am.

More information
North Carolina Strawberry Association

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

SWD trap captures in Ontario

Spotted wing drosophila trapping sites in Ontario, Canada. 2011.
Spotted wing drosophila (SWD) continues to appear in new and surprising places.  The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs has been monitoring 50 sites in 16 counties across Ontario, much like the SWD*VMN in the southeast.  SWD has now been detected at 21 of these monitoring locations, which new detections dramatically increasing in late September and early October, also similar to our detections in 2010 and 2011.

More information
Spotted wing drosophila - Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs

North Carolina & USDA to support SWD research

Female (left) and male (right) spotted wing drosophila flies on a raspberry at the Upper Mountain Research Station, Laurel Springs, NC.

We recently received word that the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission and the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program have funded our spotted wing drosophila (SWD) research for 2012.  Our work will focus on identifying preferred crop and non crop hosts, developing non chemical management tools, and determining the best strategy for using chemical management tools when necessary.  SWD is emerging as a significant pest of fruit in North Carolina and many other eastern states, so this research support comes at an important time.

We are also recruiting a graduate student to who will lead much of our work on SWD in the southeast.  Interest students are encouraged to contact Hannah.

More information
Fiscal Year 2011 Funded Projects - USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
2011 Grant AwardsNorth Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Spotted wing drosophila detected in Montana

Spotted wing drosophila has been confirmed in Montana.  See here for a factsheet detailing the find and for Montana contact information.

More information
First Detection of an Invasive Cherry Fruit Fly in Montana - Montana State University Ag Alert

Thursday, September 29, 2011

SWD on SFNToday

Check out the Southern Farm Network for the first of two stories on spotted wing drosophila (SWD).  Today's story focused on SWD's damage potential and management tools while tomorrow will highlight the SWD*VMN.

The second SWD story, highlighting the SWD*VMN has been posted at Southern Farm Network.  Listen to it here.

More information
Spotted wing drosphila present in the Carolinas - Southern Farm Network
Spotted Wing Drosophila First Responder Network Widening in Mid-Atlantic States - Southern Farm Network

Monday, September 26, 2011

The next generation of the SWD*VMN

It's been an exciting and busy month for the spotted wing drosophila volunteer monitoring network (SWD*VMN)! We've detected SWD in several additional locations (Clay and Madison Counties in North Carolina, Frederick County in Virginia, Jefferson County in West Virginia).

A new online home
I have been in search of a more user friendly way to enter and display our data, and I am proud to announce that this week, our new web home went live. SWN*VMN is now at EDDMapS. At this site, you can see all the locations we have caught SWD in the past, where we are capturing SWD this year, , and all the trapping data for each of our 66 locations! To navigate, click on your county of interest. This will take you to a list of the data for all the sites in that county, from newest to oldest. If you would like to see data for just one site, click on that site's name. To get back to the SWD*VMN home, just click the logo at the top of the page. I'll also link to a live map from here for quick updates.

2011 SWD detection in SWD*VMN.  See here for detections by month. 

Seeking citizen scientists
Keep your eyes peeled for our new solicitation for volunteers at Science for Citizens.  Our submission is in review, but as soon as it's posted, I'll share the link here!  Now that we have 2 field seasons of new finds under our belt with expert observers, we are looking to expand the SWD*VMN to include the public.  In particular, we are interested in developing classroom tools and empowering students to monitor for SWD at schools.

More information
Eastern SWD*VMN - EDDMapS

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tolerance to organic controls observed in California SWD population

Mark Bolda, Santa Cruz, Monterey & San Benito UC County Farm Adviser, has reported on recent laboratory assays conducted in California demonstrating tolerance to Pyganic (pyrethrins), an organic insecticide used against spotted wing drosophila (SWD). The assays were conducted on a population that had been treated in the field with Pyganic many times.

Organic management tools for SWD are very limited. Entrust (spinosad) and Pyganic (pyrethrins) are the two most effective organic control methods, but both have short residual control times and must be applied frequently. This means that SWD are exposed to pesticides over multiple generations, which is a recipe for resistance development. The same situation exists with conventional insecticides, but there are more modes of action available to rotate, which lessens the likelihood of short term resistance development.

The two-year period from SWD detection to potential pesticide tolerance development is definitely short term and only highlights the fact that we need to manage SWD on a system-wide scale: optimizing non chemical/cultural management to reduce populations, wisely selecting pesticides, and rotating modes of action.

More information
Suspected Tolerance to Pyganic (pyrethrin) Found in Spotted Wing Drosophila - Strawberries and Caneberries Blog

Monday, August 8, 2011

Grape Root Borer*Volunteer Monitoring Network trapping data now available

The Grape Root Borer*Volunteer Monitoring Network (GRB*VMN) has been up and running for a month, but the first, substantial trap captures occurred last week. The network consists of 10 locations in 7 North Carolina counties. Trap captures from these sites will be available here through the end of October, when the grape root borer flight is expected to end.

2011 GRB*VMN sites. Sites are only identified to the county level and assigned a number for record keeping purposes when there are multiple sites per county.

Monitoring locations and trapping data are listed below, from east to west:

Jones County 1

Rowan County 1

Rowan County 2

Davie County 1

Yadkin County 1

Surry County 1

Surry County 2

Surry County 3

Wilkes County 1

Haywood County 1

The highest number of trap captures is currently in Davie County with a few other locations catching a few moths. It is interesting that our flight appears to be occurring so late in the year, since reports of moth captures begin in July last year. We are monitoring the grape root borer flight in North Carolina to better understand when and where our highest populations occur. This information is important when making grape root borer management decisions, in particular whether or not to use currently labeled pesticides, which must be used either 30 days before harvest or after harvest. If you are interested in monitoring grape root borer yourself, see here for more information.

More information Do it yourself - Grape root borer monitoring

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Southeastern strawberry preplant meetings underway

The 2011 strawberry preplant meetings are underway, and I will be attending the Sandhills meeting tonight in Carthage, NC. You can find a list of all upcoming strawberry preplant meetings here. Tonight I will be discussing spotted wing drosophila (SWD) biology and significance in strawberries and strawberry clipper considerations.

Strawberry clipper is a relatively infrequent pest in the southeast, but the North Carolina Sandhills is a clipper hot spot. I am planning an on farm trial in this region next spring to address some of the key questions about strawberry clipper management. Namely, how much does clipper damage impact strawberry yield, and how do southeastern strawberries respond to damage?

For those not able to attend preplants, the SWD slides I will be covering are embedded below. Bear in mind that the maps in this presentation are current as of July 2011 and are subject to change.

I will also be attending the South Carolina preplant on August 18, 2011 where SWD will be the main topic.

More information
Preplant meetings and fumigation resources - NC Strawberry Association
Strawberry clipper posts - NC Small Fruit & Specialty Crop IPM

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Summer 2011 Spotted Wing Drosophila update

It's been a very busy week in the world of southeastern spotted wing drosophila (SWD). As of today, we have either confirmed or strongly suspected (pending confirmation) 2011 SWD detections in the following North Carolina Counties:

New Hanover

Both trap captures and reproductive activity have taken off in the last 3 weeks, which is similar to 2010, with our first detections occurring in July.

In addition, we have also detected SWD in Virginia for the first time in Hanover County and detected SWD in Barnwell County, SC (SWD was found in 2010 in Saluda, Lexington, and Spartanburg Counties, SC).

I will be posting links to trapping data for individual sites later this week; stay tuned.

Update, 27 July 2011
This morning, I confirmed SWD at 3 locations in Cabarrus County, North Carolina.

Update, 1 August 2011
SWD has now been confirmed from Davie, Halifax, Lincoln, Cleveland, Rowan, and Surry Counties in North Carolina and Sussex County in Virginia in 2011.

Update, 8 August 2011
SWD has now been confirmed from Frederick County in Virginia in 2011.

Update, 9 September 2011
SWD has now been confirmed from Macon County in North Carolina Montgomery County in Virginia in 2011.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Changes are afoot!

Tobacco hornworm larva coated with Cotesia congregata cocoons.
Observant readers may have noticed that NC Small Fruit, Specialty Crop, & Tobacco IPM is now NC Small Fruit & Specialty Crop IPM.  As of today, new posts on tobacco integrated pest managment will move to Dominic Reisig's new blog, NC Crops.  When Dominic began NC Crops a few weeks ago, I asked him if he thought there was room there for tobacco IPM information as well, and he graciously invited me on over.

I love working on tobacco, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, grapes, hops, and any other new speciality crops that the growers of North Carolina decide to throw at me! However, I realize that the audiences for information on all of these crops do not always overlap.  Moving tobacco IPM info to NC Crops will allow me to focus on berries and specialty crops here and better serve my tobacco audience there.

The tobacco posts from this blog will continue to be archived and accessible here at NC Small Fruit & Specialty Crop IPM.

I hope to see the tobacco crew and any other interested readers over at NC Crops!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Southside Farms on NC Weekend

Southside Farms grows strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and much more in eastern NC.  UNC TV's NC Weekend visited Shawn & Tracey Harding and highlighted their thriving you-pick operation.  The segment at Southside Farms starts at 6:22.

Watch the full episode. See more NC Weekend.

Our lab has a connection to Southside Farms--Mandi Harding, our resident hops insect expert, is Shawn & Tracey's daughter, and has picked her share of fruit and veggies at the farm!  Now Mandi track the diversity and seasonal biology of potential insect pests of hops in North Carolina.

A visit to Imladris Farm from Carolina Epicurean

Carolina Epicurean posted a nice article about a recent visit to Imladris Farm, an organic berry and animal farm in Buncombe County run by Walter & Wendy Harrill and their family.  One of the production practices highlighted is spotted wing drososphila (SWD) monitoring, complete with a photo of one of Walt's traps.

Walt and I began corresponding about SWD and what it's arrival in NC could mean for organic berry growers last year, and it's great to see that he's putting monitoring and management strategies into practice.  See here to learn how to monitor SWD at your farm or home.

More information
Talk to a farmer: Walter Harrill, Imladris Farm - Carolina Epicurean
Imladris Farm
Do it yourself - spotted wing drosophila monitoring

Friday, July 8, 2011

NCSU PDIC blogs about funny looking blueberries

Cranberry fruitworm damaged blueberries. When several (3 or more) berries are damaged and large amounts of frass are present, it's likely that the fruitworm larvae have already exited the fruit to pupate. Photo: Bill Cline

Bill Cline, NCSU blueberry and muscadine pathologist, has posted a nice summary of some of the causes of "funny looking" blueberries in the southeast at the NCSU Plant Disease & Insect Clinic blog. Among the pathogens & mechanical injuries described is one type of insect damage, cranberry fruitworm (above). I wanted to add two more funny looking blueberry issues to the list.

Cherry fruitworm injury on ripe and unripe blueberry fruit in Bladen County, NC. 7 May 2010. Note entry hole on unripe fruit. The other fruit on this branch appear uninfested. Photo: HJB

Cherry fruitworm
Cherry fruitworm (Grapholita packardi) are similar to cranberry fruitworm, in that they feed internally on blueberries. Unlike cranberry fruitworm, however, cherry fruitworm feed on only 1 to 2 berries, and there is no visible frass outside the fruit. The injured fruit are often stuck together where the larvae exited one and entered the other. The fruit which was damaged first (on the right in the photo above) ripens early and will often fall off the bush if it rains before harvest. Cherry fruitworm may be present in fruit at harvest, and the pink to red larvae will exit the fruit if it is chilled. You can read more about cherry fruitworm here.

Blueberry maggot
Blueberry maggot larvae feeding internally in ripe fruit, July 2011. Photos: Shawn Banks, Johnston County, NC Horticulture Agent.

The third most common internally feeding blueberry insect in North Carolina is blueberry maggot (Rhagoletis mendax). We run a large scale blueberry maggot monitoring program throughout North Carolina's commerical blueberry growing counties (see our trapping data here), and blueberry maggot populations are extremely low in these areas. For the last 3 years, however, I have gotten reports of blueberry maggot damage in homeowner or small scale, direct market plantings. Blueberry maggot flies have one generation in NC, and the offspring from this year's flies start showing up around the beginning to middle of July (a little over one month after the first blueberry maggots are typically caught (25 May). Early ripening blueberries are at less risk of blueberry maggot attack. Ripening time in combination with the fact that blueberry maggot flies like to spend their time in large plants suggest that rabbiteye blueberries are at greater risk of blueberry damage. Blueberry maggot infested fruit will feel soft when picked, and the carrot-shaped larvae (approximately 1/2 inch long) will exit the fruit when chilled.

Blueberry maggot larvae can be distinguished from SWD (our new potential blueberry pest) by size: blueberry maggot larvae are 1/2 inch at their largest, while SWD are approximately 1/4 inch at their largest, and shape: blueberry maggot larvae are carrot shaped as illustrated above, and SWD larvae are more tapered at both ends.

More information
My blueberries look funny - NCSU PDIC Blog
NCSU Plant Disease & Insect Clinic Blog