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Hummingbirds may reduce SWD

Research in raspberries at Cornell AgriTech over the last four years has shown promise as an alternative tactic to reduce the impact of SWD on berries. As described in a previous blog posted in 2014, Hummingbirds, these birds may indeed enjoy eating SWD.

A trend of fewer SWD caught in traps in positions 1-4, where hummingbird feeders are located, compared to more being caught in positions 5-9, where there are no hummingbird feeders, in a transect along a raspberry planting.

Preliminary data analysis for 2018 shows that when SWD numbers are very low or very high, there is little to no difference in the number of SWD caught in Scentry traps placed in the area of the field with hummingbird feeders compared to those in the area of the field without feeders. However, when numbers are moderate, there was a difference. Along a transect down the length of the field, the trend was for there to be fewer SWD in the hummingbird feeder area compared to the no-feeder area, as shown in the chart.

The diet of an average hummingbird consists mostly of flower nectar and insects. Flower nectar provides sugar to support their high metabolic rate… even higher during flight due to their rapid wing flapping rates. The insects hummingbirds eat provide them with protein, amino acids, and necessary vitamins and minerals. The insects must be small enough to swallow whole during flight — watch out, SWD!

A grower at the SWD workshop watches as a hummingbird visits a feeder in the raspberry planting.

Two grower demonstrations were undertaken this year, as well. One in blueberry and one in raspberry. Both growers undertook cleaning the feeders and changing the sugar solution twice per week to keep the hummingbirds well fed and active within their plantings. At the workshop held in Salem, NY last month, several of the tiny birds were seen dashing about.

Placing and maintaining 25 hummingbird feeders per acre, may be a bit too arduous for some growers. This is the number of feeders we’ve been using in our research and grower demonstration plots and the number used by the blackberry grower in Mississippi.

Female or young ruby-throated hummingbird on a feeder set above a blueberry planting. Photo: R. Parker

Other ways to attract hummingbirds to your berry planting that don’t rely on the use of feeders, would involve allocating space for flowering plants that they prefer. Interplanting with rows of Monarda (bee balm), for instance, would be one approach.

Of course, SWD is around a lot longer than hummingbirds, which have, at this point in time, likely flown off to the South on their journey to the Yucatan peninsula in Central America. Flying across the Gulf of Mexico or along Mexico’s coast, they make their way to their overwintering grounds. And, as SWD populations explode in late summer, it is difficult to control SWD, let alone rely on a flying predator.

A humming”baby” feeder?

If you think hummingbirds don’t eat small insects, then guess again! I’ve seen these contraptions showing up in stores this year — to feed hummingbirds. They are rearing capsules for fruit flies (vinegar flies, as entomologists call them). Perhaps someone should tell them we don’t need more SWD? …just more hummingbirds!

 

Spotted lanternfly found in two counties in NY

Spotted lanternfly adult on the trunk or a tree.

The New York State Departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Agriculture and Markets (DAM) today confirmed that spotted lanternfly (SLF), an invasive pest from Asia, has been found in Albany and Yates counties. A single adult insect was discovered in a vehicle in the Capital District. In addition, a single adult insect was reported on a private Keuka Lake property in Penn Yan, Yates County.

State agencies encourage the public to report findings of spotted lanternfly, an invasive pest. More details about this insect are below the press release.

DEC and our partners at the Department of Agriculture and Markets are closely tracking the spotted lanternfly, a destructive invasive pest, as part of our ongoing efforts to prevent its establishment and spread in New York. This pest has the potential to severely impact our state’s agricultural and tourism industries,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “We are encouraging the public to send us information to bolster our efforts—they are our eyes on the ground.”

Following both reported cases, DEC and DAM immediately began extensive surveys throughout the area. At this time, no additional insects have been found. DEC and DAM urge New Yorkers to report potential sightings to spottedlanternfly@dec.ny.govAnyone that suspects they have found SLF is encouraged to send a photo to spottedlanternfly@dec.ny.gov.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “It’s critical that we monitor for and control this invasive species, which can weaken plants and have a devastating impact on our farm crops and agricultural production, especially apples, grapes and hops. Since our farmers are among those facing the greatest potential impact, we ask them to join us in helping to watch for the spotted lanternfly, and signs of infestation, and report any sightings immediately.”

SLF (photo above) is a destructive pest that feeds on more than 70 plant species including tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima), maples, apple trees, grapevine, and hops. SLF feedings can stress plants, making them vulnerable to disease and attacks from other insects. SLF also excretes large amounts of sticky “honeydew,” which attracts sooty molds that interfere with plant photosynthesis, negatively affecting the growth and fruit yield of plants. SLF also has the potential to significantly hinder quality of life due to the honeydew and the swarms of insects it attracts.

SLF was first discovered in Pennsylvania in 2014 and have since been found in New Jersey, Delaware and Virginia. Given the proximity to the Pennsylvania and New Jersey infestations, New York State is at high risk for infestation. While these insects can jump and fly short distances, they spread primarily through human activity. SLF lay their eggs on any number of surfaces such as vehicles, stone, rusty metal, outdoor furniture and firewood. Therefore, the insects can hitch rides on any outdoor item and be easily transported into and throughout New York.

Jennifer Grant, Ph.D., Cornell University Director New York State IPM Program said, “Knowing that this pest was likely to arrive, we have been working with our State partner agencies to develop integrated strategies to get the word out and manage SLF in grapes, hops, apples and other susceptible crops. It’s imperative that the public help slow the invasion and spread by reporting possible sightings and acting responsibly when traveling in quarantine areas.”

Adult SLF are active from July to December. They are approximately one-inch long and half an inch wide at rest, with eye-catching wings. Adults begin laying eggs in October. Signs of an SLF infestation may include:

  • Sap oozing or weeping from open wounds on tree trunks, which appear wet and give off fermented odors.
  • One-inch-long egg masses that are brownish-gray, waxy and mud-like when new. Old egg masses are brown and scaly.
  • Massive honeydew build-up under plants, sometimes with black sooty mold developing.

Anyone that suspects they have found SLF is encouraged to send a photo to spottedlanternfly@dec.ny.gov. Please note the location of where the insect was found, egg masses, and/or infestation signs. DEC and DAM also encourage the public to inspect outdoor items such as vehicles, furniture, and firewood for egg masses. Anyone that visits the Pennsylvania or New Jersey Quarantine Areas should thoroughly inspect their vehicle, luggage and gear for SLF and egg masses before leaving and scrape off all egg masses.

A Smartphone app is also available to help citizens and conservation professionals quickly and easily report new invasive species sightings directly to New York’s invasive species database from their phones. For more information, visit http://www.nyimapinvasives.org/ (leaves DEC website).

DEC, DAM, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the US Department of Agriculture will continue to survey throughout the Capital District and the Finger Lakes focusing on travel corridors and high-risk areas. Extensive surveys will continue to be conducted in high-risk areas throughout the state as well as inspections of nursery stock, stone shipments, commercial transports, etc., from Pennsylvania. DEC and DAM will also continue its efforts to educate the public as well as industry personnel.

For more information on SLF, visit www.dec.ny.gov/animals/113303.html.
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Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) Update:

The spotted lanternfly (SLF), also known as Chinese blistering cicada, is a plant hopper with piercing sucking mouthparts.

Discovered in Pennsylvania in 2014, the spotted lanternfly presents a threat to both woody and non-woody hosts that are present throughout the United States.  While their list of hosts is large, the greatest agricultural concern falls on crops such as grapes, apples, stone fruits, blueberries, and hops.  Its presence could lead to crop loss and increased management costs.

Fourth instar of spotted lanternfly, before the adult stage.

Spotted lanternfly lays eggs on any smooth and strong surface, including plant material, stones, bricks, metal, and plastic. Each egg mass contains 30-50 eggs in rows, usually covered in a mud-like substance. Spotted lanternfly may require Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) to complete all life stages; however, research is underway to confirm if SLF can use other species—such as black walnut or hops. One generation occurs per year: adults develop in July, lay eggs in September, which overwinter. The first three instars are wingless, black with white spots, while the final instars turn red before becoming adults.

Both adults and nymphs commonly gather in large numbers on host plants to feed, and are easiest to see at dusk or at night.  Extensive feeding causes sap to ooze from trunks and branches, and a fermented odor can occur over time.  Honeydew excretions also encourage sooty mold build-up on leaves, fruit, and around the bases of trees.

Use salt flotation to check for SWD

The three instars of SWD will emerge from fruit immersed in a salt solution. The smallest instar is about 0.5 mm long, the largest about 2 mm long.

Effective use of salt flotation will help you determine if your fruit are infested with SWD and if your spray program is working. It also will give you a perspective on what your customers may find when they take the fruit home to eat fresh or to make pies, jellies, jams and preserves.

I learned that variations on the salt flotation method helped a couple NY blueberry growers decide when to close this season. After a bad 2017 SWD season, when many NY blueberry growers suffered significant crop loss and shut down early, it was time to take action to monitor their fruit. Here are their methods.

Grower 1.

We analyze a batch of berries picked off bushes and a batch gathered that have fallen to the ground. Blueberries are collected randomly across our 5-acre patch. We test batches of 20-30 berries from these two sources separately and then compare.

Mix a solution of one gallon of water to one cup of salt. Place collected blueberries in two separate, labeled bags. Slightly squeeze the berries to help release larvae. Some say to give it about an hour, but in most cases, if larvae are present, they will show up in the solution as early as 15 minutes. Of course, you will want to use a magnifying device such as a jewelers loop or magnifying glass. You will see small white larvae if infestation is present.

Their results this year:

  • Aug 08:  negative, both from bushes and on the ground.
  • Aug 10:  negative, both from bushes and on the ground.
  • Aug 11:  positive, both from bushes and ground, but more pronounced with the latter.

In 2017, at least once, fruit tested positive for berries that were on the ground, but negative when picked from the bush.

Grower 2.

The salt flotation method we use is basically the same as the method demonstrated at the SWD workshops in 2014-2015. But instead of pouring the salt solution into a low tray and visualizing larvae over a black paper with a hand lens, we pour the solution through a very fine stainless steel mesh permanent coffee filter and check for larvae under a dissecting microscope. It’s faster overall, and much easier to find the hard-to-see 1st instar larvae (probably to my detriment, since in the past I could ignore what I couldn’t see).

We collect 100 berries randomly from throughout the planting. These are covered with salt solution (1 cup salt in 1 gal water) in a plastic bag. I don’t bother pressing on the berries to crack the skins as they suggest, but gave them plenty of time to exit on their own (at least an hour, usually 2 or more).

Results this year, percent fruit with larvae, in our unsprayed blueberry planting:

  • Jul 26: 1.5%
  • Aug 3: 4%
  • Aug 9: 16.5%
  • Aug 11: 30%
  • Aug 13: 78% – in two days, the SWD numbers rose dramatically!

A male spotted wing drosophila (SWD) on blueberry, photographed in early September.

In all cases, collect what appears to be sound, perfect fruit to test for SWD infestation using salt flotation. SWD entrance and exit holes in fruit are less than half a mm in diameter and practically invisible.

I hope these two growers’ experiences using salt flotation will motivate you to monitor your fruit in this way to check for SWD infestation.

There are still a lot of delicious berries out there; lets check them and protect them from this nasty insect!

SWD Monitoring Completed for 2018

2018 SWD distribution map, showing counties where traps were being monitored.

As of August 9, 2018, all 35 SWD trapping sites have sustained catch of SWD in the 23 counties in New York where monitoring was taking place. First trap catch across the New York State network spanned 72 days, from May 22 (Erie County) to August 2 (Herkimer County). All sites used the Scentry trap and lure.

This year brought fewer reports of severe infestations to my attention, than in 2017. It may have been the hot weather, the hot winds, the cold nights in spring, the drought. Although we saw early arrival of SWD in 2018, there wasn’t the rapid, consistent build-up nor the early sustained catch as seen in 2017.

High pressure from SWD always builds in late summer. Those of us continuing to monitor SWD in berries are catching 100-200 SWD per trap in the week ending August 28. SWD is likely distributed across the state and soft, late-season fruits, such as fall raspberry, late blueberry varieties, plums, peaches, and pears may be at risk of infestation. To prevent fruit infestation now, if fruit is to remain hanging for weeks to come, susceptible fruit should be protected with an insecticide program.

Protect crops from SWD- (SWD hosts)

  • late-summer-ripening raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, elderberry
  • monitor for infestation in less susceptible fruits: ever-bearing strawberries, thin-skinned grapes, peaches, plums and prunes with salt flotation

Management tactics- (SWD management)

  • timely insecticide sprays (berries) (tree fruit and grapes)
  • rotate active ingredients—read and follow insecticide label directions.
  • weed management
  • canopy management
  • clean picking
  • remove or spray dropped fruit

Find out more about SWD on the Cornell Fruit Resources SWD pages.

Please join me in thanking those who contributed time and effort to the 2018 SWD trap network!

  • Amy Ivy, CCE Eastern NY Horticulture Program (Clinton and Essex County traps)
  • Bernie Armata, CCE Association of Herkimer County (Herkimer County traps)
  • Dave Thorp, CCE Association of Livingston County (Livingston County traps)
  • Don Gasiewicz, CCE Association of Wyoming County (Wyoming County traps)
  • Faruque Zaman, CCE Association of Suffolk County (Suffolk County traps)
  • Jim O’Connell, CCE Association of Ulster County (Ulster County traps)
  • Juliet CarrollNicole Mattoon and Ryan Parker, CCE NYS IPM Program (Cayuga, Onondaga, Schuyler and Wayne County traps)
  • Laura McDermott and Natasha Field, CCE Eastern NY Horticulture Program (Albany, Columbia, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady and Washington County traps)
  • Peter Jentsch and Zayd Normand, Hudson Valley Laboratory (Dutchess and Ulster County traps)
  • Sharon Bachman, CCE Association of Erie County (Erie County traps)
  • Shona Ort, CCE Association of Chemung County (Chemung County traps)
  • Tess Grasswitz, CCE Lake Ontario Fruit Program (Niagara and Orleans traps)

Hummingbirds to control SWD – Workshop

This Wednesday! “Using Hummingbirds to Help Control SWD” — a twilight meeting in Salem, NY hosted by Laura McDermott, Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture Program (ENYCHP). Biological and cultural controls of SWD are possible! Now that SWD numbers are increasing, every tactic used will help protect your late season berries.

Come learn about ongoing research into encouraging hummingbird predation on SWD adults. Dr. Juliet Carroll of Cornell NYS IPM will also discuss new research into better thresholds for monitoring SWD and how those thresholds will more accurately inform spray decisions. Managing crop canopy and weeds are also critical for SWD control.

If you don’t want to spray, ENYCHP will have current information on exclusion netting work over berries, so you can plan to cover your crop next year.

Hummingbirds eat lots of small insects, including aphids and fruit flies, to supplement their nectar-rich diet. Up to 2000 per day!

DEC Credits Pending.

WHEN:
Wednesday, August 22, 2018
5:00 to 7:00 PM

LOCATION:
Gardenworks Farm
1055 County Rte 30
Salem, NY 12865

COST:  Free and Open to the public

Please Register online at:
https://enych.cce.cornell.edu/event.php?id=972
Or call Abby Henderson at 518-746-2553

More about hummingbirds is in the Hummingbirds SWD blog post.

Sustained catch in Herkimer County

As expected this late into the summer season, SWD was caught a second week in a row at a blueberry farm in Herkimer County.  7 males were caught in the traps set in and around the blueberry field, during the week ending August 9, 2018. These traps are being monitored by Bernie Armata, Herkimer County Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Checking fruit for larva with salt flotation at a workshop on SWD sponsored by the NYS Berry Growers Association.

The grower has continued monitoring for fruit infestation using salt flotation. Harvest is winding down and the farm will be closing in a few days.

If you need more information about SWD, consult the web pages listed below on Cornell Fruit Resources, www.fruit.cornell.edu, under Berry Integrated Pest Management, New and Emerging Pest Issues in Berries:

  • SWD monitoring, fruit.cornell.edu/spottedwing/monitoring/ – describes what you can do.
  • SWD management, fruit.cornell.edu/spottedwing/management/ – describes what you should do.
  • SWD distribution, fruit.cornell.edu/spottedwing/distribution/ – describes where the CCE network is finding it.

First find in Herkimer County

Blueberry harvest is underway at a farm in Herkimer County and SWD hadn’t been found. But that changed as of Thursday! Two male SWD were caught, one in each of two traps set within the planting, during the week ending Thursday, August 2, 2018. Two traps set on the edge of the planting caught zero SWD.

Only one County in Cornell’s SWD Network hasn’t caught SWD. SWD populations continue to build through summer and into fall, placing fruit at extreme risk.

This grower will collect a fruit sample now and test it via salt flotation to see if there is an infestation. You can do this, too! Now is the time to be checking your fruit, because SWD has been found at all but one location in the New York State SWD Network. Monitor for SWD. Protect ripe and ripening fruit crops from infestation.

Herkimer County traps are being monitored by Bernie Armata, Herkimer County Cornell Cooperative Extension.

NYS IPM Farmer Tick Survey

Ticks don’t really care where you are farming so we are hoping to keep all our growers safe from tick borne diseases.

If you have not already, please take this short survey:  https://tinyurl.com/yc7rnd6r

The blacklegged tick will search for hosts typically below adult knee-height by holding onto vegetation with their back legs while holding their front legs out as hosts pass by — a behavior known as questing. Photo: J. Lampman, NYS IPM

The Community IPM Program (part of NYSIPM) was funded by the NY State Senate Task Force on Lyme and Tick Borne Disease to create an educational campaign about the risks of tick exposure and tick awareness for New York.

Community IPM addresses non-agricultural pest issues for every New York resident, including farmers. This survey is a research project to help us understand what tick issues and concerns NY farmers are facing on their farms and home properties.

By completing this survey you are agreeing to participate in this research. Your answers are completely anonymous and will help us understand how serious the issue is and how to raise awareness with the farming community.

Please fill out the survey (just 10 questions!) here:  https://tinyurl.com/yc7rnd6r

For more information about this survey or about ticks and tick prevention or control, please contact Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann at jlg23@cornell.edu.

Thank you!

Sustained catch in Chemung County

Both sites in Chemung County are now at sustained catch. During the week ending July 27, 2018, 4 males were caught at one site with a raspberry and a blueberry planting, and 6 males and 2 females were caught at the other site in a blueberry planting. These sites are being monitored by Shona Ort, Chemung County Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Insecticide programs are in place now, which will suppress SWD population growth within the planting. In unmanaged locations, SWD numbers will continue increasing as approximately 10 generations of the insect develop during summer and early fall. A recap:

  • SWD monitoring, fruit.cornell.edu/spottedwing/monitoring/ – describes what you can do.
  • SWD management, fruit.cornell.edu/spottedwing/management/ – describes what you should do.
  • SWD distribution, fruit.cornell.edu/spottedwing/distribution/ – describes where the CCE network is finding it.

Remember, the short life cycle and 10+ generations per year will make for high pressure situations in a few weeks’ time. Management, management, management…

Why does the SWD population explode?
You can do the math. Let’s think optimum conditions for SWD development. A single female can lay around 350 eggs during her lifetime, about 15 per day. The egg to adult phase of the life cycle takes as little as 6 days. So, one female in one day can result in 15 more adults 6 days later, and, during those 6 days, she will have laid another 90 eggs. 6 days after that, those 90 eggs will all be adults. Half of the 105 adults will be females, capable of laying ~350 eggs during their lifetimes…that’s 18,375 eggs or 9,187 females in about two weeks.

Meet and greet – male (right) and female (left) SWD – on a raspberry fruit.

A typical life span for SWD is 3 to 9 weeks and there are estimated to be about 10 generations per year in the US, depending on climate. Back to the one female. Let’s say that she lays 70 eggs per week and, when she dies in 5 weeks she’s laid 350 eggs and, by then, about 280 of those are adults. Half of those adults, 140, are females and, by then, have laid 49,000 eggs, 29,400 of which will, by then, be adults. Half of those adults, 14,700 are females and, by then, have laid 3,087,000 eggs …I’m lost and I probably made a mistake…but you get the idea – over 3 MILLION in five weeks from ONE (really from two, because you need a male and a female).

Sustained catch in Erie County

After a very early first catch in late May, SWD has again been caught in Erie County. Re-catch occurred the week ending July 12, 2018, when two female SWD were caught, one each in traps on the edge of and within the blueberry planting. Seven SWD were caught the subsequent week, ending July 18, three females in the edge and three females and one male within the planting.

Traps at this location are being monitored by Sharon Bachman, Erie County Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Blueberries are ripe across the region and harvests are underway. Once again, it’s time to pay attention to SWD and protect ripe and ripening fruit crops from infestation.

keep looking »

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