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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