Texas A&M institute helping find ‘key’ to preserving endangered Florida deer

by Paul Schattenberg and Steve Byrnes, Texas A&M AgriLife

For the past several months, a Texas A&M University System institute has been actively involved in efforts to quash a screwworm outbreak in Florida that has jeopardized an already endangered species, said the director for the Institute of Renewable Natural Resources.

“While there had been no screwworm outbreaks in the U.S. for the past 30 years, one began last July on Big Pine Key, which affected the Key deer population,” said Dr. Roel Lopez, institute director and co-principal investigator for the Key deer study, San Antonio. Continue reading

Florida plans biocontrol strategy for New World screwworm

In Southeast Farm Press

Following the announcement that a stray dog in Homestead, Fla., was positive for New World screwworm, the USDA and Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will release sterile flies Jan. 13 in the Homestead area as a precautionary measure.

Since the 1950s, the Sterile Insect Technique has been used to effectively eradicate screwworm, and it is considered safe for people, animals and the environment. Continue reading

Expert warns screwworm return could have a huge impact on livestock, hunting industries

by Steve Byrnes

The return of screwworms would deal a severe blow to the ranching and hunting industries, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service veterinary entomologist at Stephenville.

The observation by Dr. Sonja Swiger came as the result of the flesh-eating pest being confirmed in Florida. Continue reading