November 30, 2015
These numbers demonstrate progress toward eradication of Giant African Land Snail from Florida
Giant African land snails (GALS) were found in Miami-Dade County neighborhoods in September 2011 and in neighboring Broward County in September 2014. As eradication efforts continue, officials say a significant decline in the snail population shows the program is succeeding.
The snails can grow to be eight inches long and attack more than 500 plant species. The snail can also damage structures by consuming stucco to obtain calcium to build its shell and are known to carry a strain of meningitis to which humans and animals are susceptible. Surveys continue statewide. But to date the snail has not been found anywhere else in Florida. Learn more about the program here. The eradication program is a joint effort by FDACS and the United States Department of Agriculture.
Below are key numbers, as of January 30, 2015, related to the snail eradication program.
9/8/11: Date the giant African land snail was discovered in Miami
500+: Number of agricultural crops known to be consumed by the snail
8” x 4”: Maximum size attained by individuals of the species
Nine: Maximum years in the life span of individuals
1,200: Number of eggs an adult can lay in one year
159,387+: Number of GALS found between September 2011 and November 20, 2015
29: Number of core areas where the snail has been found
666: Number of properties on which snails have been found
61,882: Number of properties within a one-half-mile arc of positive properties
Nine +: Number of years it took to eradicate the snail after it was found in Florida in 1966
17,000: Total number of snails collected in the 1966-1975 eradication program
$1 million: Cost of that eradication (in 1960s dollars)
One: Number of successful GALS eradication programs on record
2012: Year in which FDACS scientists confirmed the rat lungworm in snails captured in Miami
95: Percentage of cases identified due to calls from the public to the Helpline
1-888-397-1517: Number to call to report a suspect snail to the FDACS toll-free Helpline.
November 27, 2015
Ag History Friday: The first people to practice Agriculture in Florida were the Apalachee Indians in northwestern Florida, the Timucua Indians in the central part, and the Potano tribe in the Alachua plains. http://ow.ly/i/evhtH
November 24, 2015
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services encourages you to incorporate Fresh From Florida fruits, vegetables and seafood when preparing your holiday feasts. Chef Justin Timineri has developed numerous recipes using Fresh From Florida products we recommend. Click here for Chef Justin’s Thanksgiving recipes. We hope you have a happy and blessed holiday!
November 23, 2015
TRACKBACK TUESDAY. Bee Thankful is a blog series we are reprising from November 2011. Learn more about the wonderful green lacewings, which act as a biological control for some soft-bodied insects, mites, insect eggs, and aphids.
November 20, 2015
Planning holiday travel? Manage your risks.
First of all, Commissioner Putnam is reminding motorists of the continuing danger from skimmers at gas pumps. Skimmers are illegal devices placed in gas pumps by criminals bent on stealing customers’ card information and
pin numbers. The number of consumers victimized by each skimmer varies between 100 and 5,000, with an average of $1,000 stolen from each victim. Best bet is to pay inside — especially if you are using a credit or debit card – or pay with cash. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services continues to inspect pumps across the state as part of its mission to protect consumers. It is the state’s clearinghouse for consumer complaints, protection and information. Consumers who believe fraud has taken place can call the consumer protection and information hotline at 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352). Click here to learn more about the resources available from FDACS.
Don’t Pack a Pest
Our “Don’t Pack a Pest” program continually reminds travelers to declare agricultural items in luggage when they travel internationally. It’s easy to do your part to exclude invasive pests and diseases: As you pack, check www.dontpackapest.com on your laptop or mobile device to learn what you can pack. And also remember, in Florida and elsewhere, Don’t Move Firewood! Buy it where you use it to avoid moving invasive pests and diseases.
Just five bucks a head buys your Thanksgiving feast
As you plan your feast, remember State Chef Justin Timineri has posted a wealth of Fresh From Florida recipes at www.FreshFromFlorida.com.
And what is the family feast going to cost? Americans can put a traditional Thanksgiving meal for 10 on the table for about $50, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 30th annual price survey. Farm Bureau says this year’s tab for a home-cooked feast for ten is up 70 cents from last year’s average. John Anderson, an economist for AFBF, said turkeys are selling for about $1.44 per pound, up about 9 cents. “Turkey production is down this year but not dramatically. Our survey shows a modest increase in turkey prices compared to last year. But we’re now starting to see retailers feature turkeys aggressively for the holiday,” he said. (Here in Florida, we are noticing some grocery chains are offering whole turkeys for as little as $5 with purchases of other items.)
Info-bites we came across and shared this week:
- How old is beekeeping? Bee Culture magazine says British researchers have found evidence of farmers in what is now Turkey using beeswax as far back as 7000 BC. “Now we know that beeswax was used continuously from the seventh millennium BCE, probably as an integral part in different tools, in rituals, cosmetics, medicine, as a fuel or to make receptacles waterproof,” said researcher Alfonso Alday. Read the full article here.
- The folks at “Save Our Citrus” have invited us to join their awareness campaign, so we’ve been posting some reasons we are thankful for citrus. With the beginning of the citrus harvest season, you’re invited to use the hash tag #thankful4citrus to share your videos/photos/posts.
Have a safe and happy holiday, everyone.
November 20, 2015
The history of agriculture can be divided into four broad periods: prehistoric, historic – Roman, feudal, and scientific. http://ow.ly/i/evgMV
November 18, 2015
Traveling for the Thanksgiving holidays? Don’t Pack a Pest.
Invasive pests and diseases could be lurking on any agricultural product in your suitcase or in your vehicle – on an orange, in the soil on your flip flops and even in the firewood for the campfire. So don’t move firewood.
If infested items are brought across state or national borders, invasive pests and diseases can spread. Invasive species are, by definition, non-native. They evolved in a different ecosystem, so they will have few natural enemies in their new home. They will likely compete with native species for resources — food, water and light. Often, invasive species are harmful to agricultural crops and threaten natural resources.
Here are three important tips to remember when traveling:
- Don’t bring agricultural products home with you. That includes fruits and vegetables, meats, plants, etc. Be sure to clean the soil from your shoes or clothing before repacking for the return home.
- Don’t move firewood. If you are camping, buy local, certified firewood when you arrive. Firewood may harbor pests that could be potentially harmful if introduced into new environments.
- Spread the word. Tell others about the dangers of importing pests. If you see or hear of any invasive pests or witness the entry of any illegal agricultural products, report them by calling the FDACS Helpline at 1-888-397-1517.
If you are traveling internationally, check www.dontpackapest.com to learn what you can bring back into the U.S.
We wish you safe, pleasant and pest-free holiday travels.