New invasive plant pest devastates berry crops


BINGHAMTON, N.Y. (AP) — A new invasive insect has devastated northeastern berry crops, and New York growers are working with Cornell University plant experts to develop strategies to fight it.

Binghamton apple grower Dave Johnson tells the Ithaca Journal (http://ithacajr.nl/1nPmhK8 ) that the Asian spotted wing fruit fly arrived on the West Coast in 2010 and spread eastward so fast that growers didn’t have time to come up with a battle plan.

In just two growing seasons, the fly has put at risk $325 million worth of small fruit in New York. Statewide, Cornell University estimated the damage to commercial berry growers at $7 million in 2012.

Cornell’s Integrated Pest Management program recently received a $170,000 grant to hire field technicians and provide growers with information on controlling the invasive insects.

 

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