The palm tree ranks, with sun, sand and citrus, among the iconic symbols of the state of Florida. Our state tree, appropriately enough, is the cabbage palm, Sabal palmetto. It is a Florida native, a distinction shared by only 10 other varieties out of the approximately 2,600 palm varieties that exist worldwide. (Sabal x miamiensis, or Miami palmetto, is sometimes listed as a Florida native, but it is rare or extinct. Some experts classify it with Sabal etonia, the scrub palmetto.)

SabalPalmetto

Sabal palmetto, or cabbage palm, Florida’s official state tree.

Here is the list of Florida’s native palms with links to their photos:

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry contributed to the development of this set of tools (http://idtools.org/index.php?keyword=palms&category=1) to help identify commonly cultivated palms, the pests and diseases that can affect them and symptoms of plant diseases and disorders.

You can find a fact sheet with photos for all listed palms here: http://idtools.org/id/palms/palmid/index.php

Experts from FDACS-DPI also contributed to the development of the free Palm ID app, available for iphone and android devices. The app provides keys to identifying palms.

 

 Jammer

Jammer3

This is Jammer, one of the FDACS-DPI detector dogs. Most days he and his handler are at work, checking parcels at major shipping hubs in Florida for invasive plants and organisms. Jammer is currently on sick leave after spraining his leg while playing, off-duty. He is recovering nicely and should be back on the job soon. Comment to send get-well wishes to Jammer. Check out his cool cast.

 

 

DPI Diary

October 24, 2014

A look at FDACS-DPI social media this week

Yes, giant African land snails are spooky!

BusBench

Miami bus bench spurs awareness of the giant African land snail.

The giant African land snail eradication campaign is sponsoring bus benches and spots on cable television in the Miami market this month to remind residents to watch for and report giant African land snails. The ads present this scary invasive mollusk in a Halloween theme. Next week, the program will add radio spots on WIOD Radio to the campaign.

See the television ad here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64eCuzQPSqQ

Wait! There’s More! Tag us on Facebook from a bus bench and get a koosie!

Keep your drink cool with a koosie from the Giant African Land Snail eradication program! Tag us –

https://www.facebook.com/FDACSDPI

in a selfie from one of the giant African land snail bus benches in Miami-Dade and we’ll mail a koosie to you.

GALSKoosie

This koosie is a doozie.

…and this video shows our detector dogs in action

Not only do the FDACS-DPI detector dogs  find snails. Their finely tuned noses alert only to giant African land snails. See them at work in South Florida http://youtu.be/nlkAl81w6Lg

UF-IFAS program makes STEM fun for fourth graders

The Exploring Agriculture through STEM program entertained and enlilghtened fourth graders this week in Ocala. Funded through a $2,500 Florida Agriculture in the Classroom grant and hosted by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, the event showed how Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) relate to agriculture. Norma Samuel, a Marion County urban horticulturist, spearheaded the program.

FDACS Celebrates National Forest Products Week

Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Florida Forest Service celebrated the benefits of Florida’s forest industry this week during National Forest Products Week.

“Florida’s forest industry produces significant economic and environmental benefits for this state,” Commissioner Putnam said. “The industry’s $16 billion economic impact supports 84,000 jobs, and forestry land management promotes healthy populations of native plants and animals.”

Florida’s 17 million forest acres provide more than 5,000 types of consumer goods that most people use on a daily basis. Read the story here.

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DPI Diary

October 21, 2014

Summarizing FDACS/DPI’s social media activities last week

Looking for a good read?

Division of Plant Industry

Division of Plant Industry

Browse through the pages of the first edition of Fresh from Florida, a guide to the state’s food, farms and forestry, published in partnership with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and featuring stories about the state’s top crops, livestock, agribusiness, tourism, food safety and local products. http://farmflavor.com/magazine/fresh-florida-2014/

School districts and FDACS celebrate National School Lunch Week

last week was National School Lunch Week and Commissioner Putnam, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consume Services and various school districts. staged events to increase participation – “Getting in the Game for School Lunch,” as the week’s theme put it. “Research shows there is a direct connection between eating healthy meals at school and improved academic performance,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “This National School Lunch Week; we’re encouraging kids to eat right so they can succeed in the classroom and on the field.”

Don’t Pack a Pest part of Florida exhibit at Sunbelt Expo

LinusMore than 100,000 agricultural producers visit the Sunbelt Expo in Moultrie, Georgia each year. This week our colleagues at UF/IFAS coordinated a building full of Florida exhibits. Some Expo attendees came away with promotional items that will remind them, when they travel internationally, “Don’t Pack a Pest.”

Welcome to the University of Florida’s president-elect

Cornell University’s provost, Dr. W. Kent Fuchs, was selected this week to be the new president of the University of Florida. We linked to this video, where he talks about his background and the opportunities ahead at the University of Florida. Welcome, Dr. Fuchs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rIWkRU3Ngs

 

DPI Diary

October 10, 2014

Entertaining and enlightening items from FDACS-DPI social media this week

Smithsonian benefits from DPI scientists’ expertise

We were pleased to post an entry to the DPI Blog by two of DPI’s prominent entomologists who recently traveled to Washington, D.C. to spend a week working at the Smithsonian Institute.

Drs. Trevor Smith and Paul Skelley in the lobby of the Smithsonian Institution.

Drs. Trevor Smith and Paul Skelley in the lobby of the Smithsonian Institution.

Dr. Trevor Smith, chief, Methods Development and Biological Control, and Dr. Paul Skelley, biological administrator III, helped the Smithsonian Institution reorganize beetle specimens in its museum collections.

Beekeepers Honor Cathy Deweese

The Florida State Beekeepers Association honored Cathy Deweese, FDACS-DPI,  with its President’s Award. The award was presented at the association’s convention October 3 at West Palm Beach. Deweese, administrative secretary for the apiary section, was recognized for her 28 years supporting the beekeeping industry. She also received an Honorary Florida Beekeping Registration. More than 320 attended the state convention.

Operation Outdoor Freedom connects wounded veterans with the great outdoors

Our colleagues at the Florida Forest Service fill myriad roles throughout the state, including wildfire suppression, state lands management, County Forester programs and many others. Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Purnam this week pointed out one of the more recent and unique programs, Operation Outdoor Freedom. The program gives wounded veterans a chance to reconnect with the outdoors, nature and themselves through hunting, fishing and other activities. Forest Service personnel have been taking these heroes on hunting and fishing trips, eco-tours and other outings for several years now. Outings have included two guided hunting weekends in Blackwater River State Forest. Three more hunts are planned for the forest this season.

Teachers: Arrange a class tour of DPI

DoyleConnerbuildingWestSeeing an elementary school class conducting a bug hunt in our courtyard at FDACS-DPI headquarters in Gainesville this week under sunny fall skies reminded us to remind teachers that we do host tours of our headquarters and laboratory facilities. To set up a tour for your class, call our Helpline, 1-888-397-1517.

Videos spotlighting Mikania micrantha (“mile-a-minute”) and tawny “crazy” ants are worth your time

  • Our social media posts this week included a video warning of the invasive, noxious weed Mikania micrantha, nicknamed “mile-a-minute,” which chokes off beneficial native plants. It has been found in South Florida and is in bloom now. This video will help you identify it. If you do think you see it, report it to our Helpline, 1-888-397-1517.
  • We also came across this excellent video from UF-IFAS explaining the tawny, or “crazy,” ant that is causing problems in some parts of Florida. Well worth watching.

What does camping have to do with avocados?

Fall ushers in prime camping season in Florida. When you camp, please remember, DON’T MOVE FIREWOOD. Transporting firewood can also move invasive pests, and some of those pests threaten homescapes and agricultural crops. Case in point: the redbay ambrosia beetle, which has killed trees in the laurel family in many parts of Florida and continues to threaten our avocado industry. Watch the three videos on our “Save the Guac” webpage to learn more.

Do you know what these are?

PotterWasp

 

 

 

 

You may be finding some of these on plants in your yard. If you do, it’s not bad news. Interesting post from the Entomlogy Department at UF-IFAS.

Florida has a presence at Sunbelt

Planning on attending Sunbelt Expo in Moultrie, Ga. next week? Find out when to plant Florida crops, how to can foods safely, and how to use paper to pot plants from UF/IFAS Extension experts at the 37th annual Sunbelt Ag Expo—the largest agricultural expo in the southeast. The show runs Oct. 14-16.

Check out our online library of entomology circulars

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry maintains a library of entomology circulars describing hundreds of species found in Florida and we’re constantly adding to it. We recently added two new circulars, on the West Indian Flatid Planthopper, Melormenis basalis in Florida (Hemiptera: Flatidae and the Stained-glass Moth, Samea ecclesialis Guenée (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). These circulars are provided as a service to the scientific community, agricultural producers and the general public.

Don’t Pack a Pest. It’s easy to check as you pack

Linus

 

Traveling outside of the U.S.? Remember to go to http://www.dontpackapest.com, a mobile device-friendly web link, for guidance on what agricultural items you can legally pack in your luggage.

Save The Date:  AgScience Café

All FDACS employees are invited to this month’s Department-wide AgScience Café from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 21, 2014. Joseph Sutton, Biological Scientist Supervisor, Division of Agricultural Environmental Services, will present information on the Seed Regulatory Testing Program.

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Our on-line library contains hundreds of circulars

Division of Plant Industry

Division of Plant Industry

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry maintains a library of entomology circulars describing hundreds of species found in Florida and we’re constantly adding to it.

We recently added two new circulars, on the West Indian Flatid Planthopper, Melormenis basalis in Florida (Hemiptera: Flatidae and the Stained-glass Moth, Samea ecclesialis Guenée (Lepidoptera: Crambidae).

These circulars are provided as a service to the scientific community, agricultural producers and the general public.

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The overall listing for entomology circulars is at:

http://www.freshfromflorida.com/Divisions-Offices/Plant-Industry/Plant-Industry-Publications/Entomology-Circulars

 

Drs. Trevor Smith and Paul Skelley, Division of Plant Industry, conduct research at Smithsonian

Editor’s Note: We are pleased to present this guest blog from two of the FDACS Division of Plant Industry’s prominent entomologists, who recently traveled to Washington, D.C. Dr. Trevor Smith, chief, Methods Development and Biological Control, and Dr. Paul Skelley, biological administrator III, helped the Smithsonian Institution reorganize beetle specimens in its museum collections.

Drs. Trevor Smith and Paul Skelley in the lobby of the Smithsonian Institution.

Drs. Trevor Smith and Paul Skelley in the lobby of the Smithsonian Institution.

In late September Dr. Trevor Smith and Dr. Paul Skelley traveled to Washington D.C. to spend a week working at the Smithsonian Institution. They were awarded a visiting scientist research grant to cover all travel expenses during their visit. This grant was given specifically so that the two DPI scientists could lend their taxonomic expertise to several major insect groups within the national collection.

Dr. Paul Skelley, FDACS/DPI

Dr. Paul Skelley, at work at the Smithsonian Institution, identifying beetle specimens.

Dr. Skelley spent the majority of his time identifying thousands of beetle specimens in the family Erotylidae. This diverse group of beetles includes the pleasing fungus beetles, lizard beetles some of which bore into plants, and others that pollinate cycads. He was able to completely reorganize over 50 drawers of specimens from all over the world. He also spent one morning working at the Museum Support Center, which houses larger artifacts and archived parts of the National Collection.

” The inside of that facility looks very much like the warehouse in the last scene of the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark,” according to Dr. Skelley.

Dr. Smith concentrated his efforts on an accumulation of 35 years worth of canopy fogging samples from Central and South America.  This type of canopy fogging was the basis for the opening scene for the movie Arachnophobia where, after fogging, thousands of insects and spiders begin falling out of the trees for collection. He found hundreds of specimens of the poorly understood beetle family Cybocephalidae, of which he has published several revisionary works.

Dr. Trevor Smith, FDACS-DPI

Dr. Trevor Smith discovered several beetle species new to science in the Smithsonian’s collection.

These beetles are major predators of scale insects, mealybugs and whiteflies making them excellent candidates for various biological control programs.  Dr. Smith discovered several species new to science in these samples and will describe them in an upcoming publication.

In addition to working in the museum Drs. Smith and Skelley travelled to Beltsville, Md. to meet with officials at the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service headquarters. There they discussed continuing joint projects and further collaborative work in the areas of arthropod identification and taxonomy.

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