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AP Interviews Dill about Garden Slugs

James Dill, a pest management specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke to the Associated Press for an article about preventing garden slug infestations with baits and upkeep. He suggests removing any debris from the garden, such as straw, boards or leaves, that provide hiding places for slugs during the daytime. The Washington Post carried the article.

Dill Talks to WLBZ about Fruit flies in the Home

James Dill, pest management specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with WLBZ (Channel 2) about a possible increase in fruit flies in Maine homes. Dill said his office has already taken many complaints from residents dealing with fruit flies, and he’s not sure why they seem to be more of a problem this year. He said the best way to get rid of the pests is to throw away or refrigerate ripe fruit and use either homemade or commercial fruit fly traps.

Press Herald Blog Previews Cooperative Extension Workshop

The latest entry of the Portland Press Herald blog, “The Root: Dispatches from Maine’s food sources,” previewed a two-night honeybee disease and pest management workshop at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s office in Falmouth on November 5 and 12, 2013. Master Beekeeper Erin MacGregor-Forbes will teach the workshop.

Watt Quoted in BDN Article on Fall Foliage

Bruce Watt, a plant disease diagnostician with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke to the Bangor Daily News for the article “Good outlook for foliage despite pockets of discoloring leaf fungus in Maine.” Watt said he has had fewer diseased leaf samples sent to him this year than in past years, which makes him think the fungus is less widespread.

UMaine to Take Part in Bug Maine-ia, Free Press Reports

The Free Press reported the University of Maine and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension will be two of 18 exhibitors at Bug Maine-ia at the Maine State Museum in Augusta on September 11. The exhibitors will provide hands-on displays and demonstrations for visitors of all ages at the free event.

What Home Gardeners Need to Know about Spotted Wing Drosophila

Male and Female spotted wing drosophila

Male (left) and Female (right) Spotted Wing Drosophila, photo by Griffin Dill. Actual size: 2-3 mm.

Click on photos to enlarge.

Spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) is a new insect pest that can infest berries and other soft fruit that ripen from mid-summer through fall, including day-neutral (everbearing) strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. This is a small fruit fly, similar to the type that hovers around the over-ripe bananas in your kitchen. However, unlike other fruit fly species, spotted wing drosophila will lay its eggs in fruit before it ripens, causing the fruit to be contaminated with small white maggots just as it is ready to pick. Infested fruit quickly softens and has no shelf life.

Spotted wing drosophila recently came into the U.S. from northern Asia, and has infested berry crops from California to Maine over the past three years. Each female fly can lay hundreds of eggs, and a new generation can be completed in less than two weeks. Thus, millions of flies can be present soon after the introduction of just a few into a field. This makes spotted wing drosophila very difficult to control, and frequently repeated insecticide sprays (1 to 2 times per week) may be needed to prevent infestations once the insect is present in a field.

Spotted winged drosophila can successfully overwinter in Maine, although it may not build up to damaging levels until late in the summer. Keeping fields clean of over-ripe and rotten fruit can reduce the incidence of this insect. Good pruning to keep plants open can also reduce drosophila populations, because they prefer a shady, humid environment. Covering small plantings with a fine screen mesh can provide a barrier to keep the flies away from developing fruit. The mesh size must be no larger than one millimeter to be effective.

Spotted Wing Drosophila Trap

Spotted Wing Drosophila Trap, photo by David Handley

Traps for spotted wing drosophila are easy to make and may catch lots of the flies, but they may not be effective in keeping all flies out of the fruit. A red plastic 16 to 18-ounce cup with a lid and about 20 holes, 1/8” in diameter, drilled up near the rim will make a good trap. Leave one side of the cup with no holes so that liquid can be poured in and out. Bait the trap with about 4 ounces of apple cider vinegar and place it near the planting in a cool, shady area just a foot or so off the ground. Empty and re-bait the trap weekly, but do not pour the old bait on the ground near the trap. Traps are mostly used to monitor for the presence of spotted wing drosophila. Other species will also be attracted to the bait, so you must be able to properly identify the species. Several fact sheets are available online to help with identification. Using traps to control the flies has not proven highly effective or practical. Traps need to be placed no more than 20 feet apart within each plant row in order to catch enough flies to reduce injury to the fruit.

Insecticides that can provide control of drosophila include spinosad, pyrethrum, and malathion. If you choose to use an insecticide, look for a product that contains one of these ingredients and is approved for use on the crop you are trying to protect. Follow all product label instructions and precautions. Applications should begin when spotted wing drosophila is known to be active in the vicinity and the fruit has started to color. Spraying once weekly may provide adequate control, but tightening the spray schedule to every 3 to 5 days may be necessary under heavy infestations.

For information on identifying spotted wing drosophila and making your own monitoring traps, visit Penn State’s Spotted Wing Drosophila website.

Garland, Dill Talk about Pest Management on WVII

University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s pest management specialist James Dill and horticulturist Kate Garland spoke with WVII (Channel 7) for the latest installment of its “Backyard Gardener” series. Garland and Dill gave tips on management of beetles.

Press Herald Interviews Handley, Kirby on Garden Insects

The Portland Press Herald spoke with David Handley, a vegetable and small-fruit specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Monmouth, and Clay Kirby, an insect diagnostician with the UMaine Cooperative Extension in Orono, about bugs in the garden. The pair spoke about this season’s likely pests.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Alert

a Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) adult, with labels pointing out the rounded shoulders it has, as well as the white bands that it has on the antennae -- the white bands stretch across the gap between the two outermost segments of the antennae A live specimen of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (often abbreviated as BMSB) was captured in Old Town on Wednesday, February 27th, 2013 (specimen is pictured here at right). Its scientific name is: Halyomorpha halys (Stal).

Detailed Fact Sheet: Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (Northeastern IPM Center) (includes a page that will assist you with correct identification:

BMSB — same photo as above, but without any labeling

2012 SWD Season Summary

At Highmoor Farm’s website, you can find a detailed summary of the trapping results of SWD in Maine during the 2012 season, and expectations / predictions for SWD populations in 2013:

Spotted Wing Drosophila 2012 Season Summary
David Handley, Vegetable & Small Fruit Specialist; James Dill, Pest Management Specialist; Kaytlin Woodman, Technician, University of Maine Cooperative Extension

A pair of Spotted-wing Drosophila fruit flies -Male pictured on left; Female on right

cartoon bug reporter