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UGA entomologist encourages the use of cultural practices in managing spotted wing drosophila (SWD)

by Clint Thompson, University of Georgia

University of Georgia entomologist Ashfaq Sial advises Georgia blueberry farmers to manage the spotted wing drosophila (SWD), the crop’s most destructive pest, by incorporating cultural practices into farming.

Practices likes heavy pruning, controlled burns of the wooded areas surrounding blueberry fields, and the use of weed mat as a ground cover are effective management tools. These practices ensure the success of SWD management programs implemented during harvest, the time when blueberries are most vulnerable to SWD infestations. Continue reading

Grant promises Georgia blueberry farmers more weapons in fight against spotted wing drosophila

By Merritt Melancon, University of Georgia

A tiny fly is having a huge impact on American fruit farmers. Known as spotted wing drosophila, the insect is costing famers more than $700 million a year in lost produce and prevention costs.

This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture tasked University of Georgia researchers with developing a long-term management plan for the flies. The $2 million NIFA grant will be led by Ashfaq Sial, a national leader in spotted wing drosophila management and an entomologist in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Continue reading