The 2019 SWD monitoring network is gearing up. Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) will be keeping tabs on the arrival of SWD on fruit farms in New York State, primarily in blueberry and raspberry. Traps will be set in 24 counties at 37 locations with a total of 128 traps.
Laura McDermott has coordinated an extensive network across 14 counties with the Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture Program (ENYCHP). She, along with Natasha Field, will be monitoring in Albany, Columbia, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, and Washington counties. Collaborating on the ENYCHP are Elisabeth Hodgdon and Andy Galimberti in Clinton and Essex counties; Nat Mengaziol Orange county; Mike Principe in Putnam county; and Peter Jentsch, Hudson Valley Research Laboratory, in Dutchess and Ulster counties. Jim O'Connell, Ulster County CCE, will be monitoring in Ulster County.
In other parts of the state, Shona Ort will be monitoring in Chemung County; Dave Thorp in Livingston County; Don Gasiewicz in Wyoming County; Sharon Bachman in Erie County; and Faruque Zaman in Suffolk County, Long Island. On the Lake Ontario Fruit Program, Elizabeth Tee will monitor farms in Niagara and Orleans counties. Along with Ryan Parker, I (Juliet Carroll) will monitor SWD traps in Cayuga, Onondaga, Schuyler, and Wayne Counties.
Funding to support this effort comes from CCE County Associations and Regional Programs, the NYS IPM Program, and the NYS Berry Growers Association.
Growers monitoring their fruit plantings, researchers, and others can alert me of their findings, email@example.com, and I'll report those on this blog.
I will also be monitoring SWD in seven tart cherry orchards in the Lake Ontario region.
SWD findings will be reported on this blog and posted to the SWD NY distribution map. Given the mild winter (except for two cold snaps...wasn't one a polar vortex?), it might be an early year for SWD arrival and build up.
The blueberry stem gall wasp is a native insect of the Northeastern United States. While traditionally it was rarely seen in commercial blueberry production, recently increased numbers of galls have been observed in Michigan on older varieties especially 'Jersey', 'Pemberton' and 'Northland'. The increases in blueberry stem gall are likely due to a combination of changes in management.
Researchers at Michigan State University are studying control strategies, along with breeding new varieties for resistance to gall formation. To achieve this, they are looking for gall samples from across the Northeastern US.
If you find the galls on blueberry bushes in your field, or on non-cultivated blueberry bushes around your farm, please collect them. Prune them off. Collect fresh galls on last year's wood. These are typically on small diameter twigs and are about the size of a penny.
Don't collect galls that have exit holes in them. These are usually gray, on older, dead twigs and have black exit holes about 1 mm in diameter. The tiny adult gall wasps cut their way out of the galls, around bloom time, leaving the exit holes.
Now's the best time to prune your blueberry bushes. So, while you're out there, trim off any stem galls to send to MSU. Contact Dr. Phil Fanning at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (517) 432-9445. Ship the galls to him at the following address:
Michigan State University
Center for Integrated Plant Systems
578 Wilson Rd., Rm. 201
East Lansing, MI, 48824
You'll be helping minimize damage from this insect in your blueberries AND helping scientists develop better blueberry varieties.
During the Blueberry Intensive workshop in Dutchess County, we collected galls from 'Duke' and I sent them to Dr. Fanning. Thanks in advance for your help with this project! And, no, they don't sting.
Registration is now open for two Blueberry Intensive Workshops hosted by the New York State Berry Growers Association! They've partnered with experts at Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) to bring you the region’s first-ever blueberry intensives - two daylong sessions, starting at 8:30 AM:
March 5, 2019 - Ellicottville, NY in Cattaraugus County
March 14, 2019 - Millbrook, NY in Duchess County.
Register for The Blueberry Intensive Workshop — $35 for NYSBGA members; $45 for non-members.
Top professionals from Cornell University, CCE, Penn State University, Rutgers University, and more will cover don't-miss topics. Plus, successful blueberry growers will share their tips. Speakers will vary by location. Take home a resource packet of workshop materials you can refer back to every year.
Choosing and prepping a site for blueberries
Site selection and preparation — the most important aspects for long-term success! Learn how sites will impact overall plant growth, pest pressure, weed management, and fruit quality.
Blueberry diseases of note
Learn about the major diseases you need to be aware of — successful management strategies, fungicide programs, and organic tactics.
Managing blueberry insects
Main blueberry insect pests you need to know about: cranberry fruit worm, cherry fruit worm, blueberry maggot, SWD and more!
Using weather-tracking NEWA blueberry tools
Learn about upcoming NEWA berry tools that improve spray timing and IPM. Visit newa.cornell.edu. Bring your laptop!
Alternative options for markets
Farm to school, value added, nutraceuticals, organic wholesale — plentiful market options and demand for blueberries.
Berry Profitability Tool—knowledge is power!
Understand your expenses, how they compare, and learn how to strategize for success. Bring your expenses and plug them in to the Berry Profitability Tool. Bring your laptop!
Making it work! David Duda, owner, Duda’s Blues Berry Farm, Machias, NY will share his success stories at the Ellicottville Workshop. Jake Samascott, owner, Samascott Farm, Kinderhook, NY will share his success stories at the Millbrook Workshop.
Feeding blueberries correctly — important and challenging: learn about crucial soil acidity (pH) and irrigation. Healthy plants better resist insects and diseases.
Post-harvest handling — reduce SWD, maintain quality
Get chill with your berries — remove field heat fast with forced air cooling. Maintain quality with modified atmosphere packaging and tools like a CoolBot.
Pruning correctly throughout the life of the planting
Like nutrition, good pruning builds an overall vigorous and pest durable plant. Learn how pruning tactics change as the plant moves through its juvenile period into the fruiting years.
Pest scouting and weed management
Your top priority, season-long! At early pre-bud-break, learn what and how to look for: scale, mummyberry, and galls. Plus, weeds — timing herbicides and adding mulch.
Hands-on opportunity! We’ll address cultivar differences in pruning approaches that will become obvious as we look at plants. Use a pneumatic pruner, as well as more traditional tools.
The Blueberry Intensive Workshop starts at 8:30 AM and ends at 4:30 PM. Lunch and breaks are included. DEC re-certification credits provided. Take home a resource packet of workshop materials you can refer back to every year.
Register for The Blueberry Intensive Workshop — $35 for NYSBGA members; $45 for non-members.
Yes, spotted lanternfly is looming on the horizon and we are teaming up to bring you information in a series of webinars. Each webinar will focus on, and be tailored to, a specific commodity group:
Feb. 26, 2019, 10:00 a.m. - Spotted Lanternfly Basics for Hops, Berry, and Vegetable Growers
Feb. 26, 2019, 1:00 p.m. - Spotted Lanternfly Basics for Grape and Apple Industries
Mar. 4, 2019, 10:00 a.m. - Spotted Lanternfly Basics for Christmas Tree Growers
Mar. 4, 2019, 1:00 p.m. - Spotted Lanternfly Basics for Nursery, Greenhouse, and Landscape Industries
In conjunction with the New York State IPM Program and the Department of Agriculture and Markets, the Northeastern IPM Center will host a collection of webinars, titled “Spotted Lanternfly Basics.”
All webinars will follow a similar format that covers spotted lanternfly biology, identification, and hosts, monitoring and management strategies, and a regulatory update. While the content may be relevant to audiences throughout the Northeast, management practices covered will be specific to New York. Participants will be encouraged to ask questions.
This attractive insect sucks the life out of plants, almost literally. And, it has a broad host range, preferring trees and other woody plants - grapes and apples are of concern, but we don't know if blueberry might be at risk. Not to mention the infestations that could develop on the shade trees in your yard.
New York State has external quarantines in place to try to prevent its spreading into the state from Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Learn more about this invasive species on the NYS IPM Program's Spotted Lanternfly webpage. And don't miss one of these opportunities to learn about this insect and get your questions answered.
Attend this workshop in Poughkeepsie, NY on Monday, 4 Feb 2019 (snow date Thursday, 7 Feb). Talk with farmers about high tunnel production! They know and you can learn about...
keeping the right level of soil fertility season-long
selecting the right high tunnel for you
biological pest and disease management
set the agenda! - bring your own questions and share your experience
High Tunnel Farmer-to-Farmer Meeting
Hosted and facilitated by the Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture Program, Cornell Cooperative Extension
Monday, February 4 (snow date Thursday, Feb 7)
9:00 am to 4:30 pm
Poughkeepsie Farm Project
51 Vassar Road, Poughkeepsie, NY 12603
$15 for enrolled CCE ENYCHP members, $20 non-enrolled
Includes catered lunch (vegetarian options available) Pre-Register Here - https://enych.cce.cornell.edu/event_preregistration.php?event=1068
Join us for a facilitated farmer to farmer style workshop focused on high tunnel production and management. The final meeting agenda will be developed on the day of the meeting with input from attendees!
We plan to cover such topics as season long soil fertility management, high tunnel model selection and construction considerations, biological pest and disease management, and more.
Confirmed farmer presenters include:
Paul and Sandy Arnold of Pleasant Valley Farm in Argyle, NY
Leon Vehaba of the Poughkeepsie Farm Project, Poughkeepsie, NY
Sam and Erin Enouen and Sam Zurofsky of Long Season Farm in Kerhonkson, NY
Jeff Arnold of the Hudson Valley Farm Hub in Hurley, NY
Pre-Register Here - https://enych.cce.cornell.edu/event_preregistration.php?event=1068
Native, non-weedy, shrub willow blooms in early spring, a time that is critical for pollinators because of the low availability of food sources. Shrub willow supports a large diversity of pollinators that feed on its abundant pollen. Research has shown that wild bees can be an important component of crop pollination. Also, diversified landscapes that can provide a continuous availability of food sources best support this community of wild pollinators.
With the decline of native bees, honey bees, and managed bumble bees, pollinator services provided by the agricultural landscape are increasingly important in the production of crops, like berries, that depend on pollination. By managing pollinator-friendly plants next to berry crops, you can enhance the services of wild pollinators and ensure adequate pollination of your berry crops, maximizing yield.
Proposed research in Horticulture and Entomology at Cornell University will involve planting and managing shrub willow next to berry crops to attract wild pollinators and then measuring the spillover effect of pollinators on berry yield — quantity and quality. As a preamble to this promising work, the scientists want to gather grower feedback on:
the use of managed bees (honey bees and bumble bees) for pollination services in berries in NY
the need for improving pollination services for berries in NY
the likelihood of your adopting vegetation management strategies in non-crop areas to increase pollination.
Berry growers in NY — Please answer 10 questions in this brief, confidential Berry Pollinator Survey. No information will be shared without your permission.
Want to try out the shrub willow to feed your pollinators in early spring and be a part of this research effort? The research is currently focusing on strawberry production in NY State. Contact Eric Fabio, email@example.com, to find out what's possible!
This post was contributed by Eric Fabio, Postdoctoral Associate, Horticulture, School of Integrative Plant Science, Cornell University. Eric is located at Cornell AgriTech, Geneva, NY.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone that suspects they have found SLF is encouraged to send a photo to email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.