Fuller speaks with Franklin Journal about invasive insect damaging broccoli 

The Franklin Journal interviewed David Fuller, an agriculture and nontimber forest products professional with University of Maine Cooperative Extension, for an article about an invasive insect found in Franklin County. The Swede midge, a member of the fly family, poses an economic threat to those raising broccoli, cauliflower and other members of the brassica family, according to the article. Fuller said he visited a Farmington grower’s broccoli fields four times to examine crops that weren’t growing normally. “As is typical in a new pest situation, I wasn’t able to figure out what was going on at first. I sent a sample to Extension plant pathologist Alicyn Smart. She said it wasn’t a disease,” Fuller said. “Then I looked at nutritional issues. The compost wasn’t a factor. I went out again, got a plant and brought it back to the office. I tore it apart, that’s when I found the larva.” Maine is the last New England state to have found the flies, the article states. “They have only been found in Franklin and Aroostook counties that we know of,” Fuller said. “Aroostook has thousands of acres of brassicas. They’re a big crop there.” Fuller said treatment for swede midge is challenging and will be extremely difficult for organic growers. For conventional growers, he said synthetic systemics provide the best treatment. “Now that we know what it is, we have to educate people about this insect,” Fuller said. “There are more invasive insects coming that are going to be really bad.”