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DPI Diary: A Summary of the Week’s Activities at FDACS-DPI

March 1, 2013

Plant history blog concentrates on citrus

PrintThis week our FDACS-DPI blog began a series of posts on citrus. “Florida’s Citrus Production: The Long March South” describes the gradual but remarkable southward relocation of the commercial citrus-producing area from the time Spanish settlers first introduced oranges five centuries ago to the present.  The yearlong series, “Five Hundred Years of Florida Flora Firsts,” will run through 2013 and is a contribution to the VIVA 500 celebration marking the landing of Ponce de Leon on our shores in April 1513.

Strawberry Festival open in Plant City

strawberry picMeanwhile, in Plant City, folks began celebrating another iconic Florida fruit as the Strawberry Festival opened its gates Thursday. Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam reflected on the importance of the beautiful, red berry to Florida’s economy in an interview on Southeast Agnet. After listening to the commissioner, check out our blog on the history of the strawberry in Florida.

In op-ed, Commissioner Putnam calls for clear agriculture policy

Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam addressed the future of the agriculture in the editorial section of Thursday’s Orlando Sentinel: “Only with research and technology can we increase productivity and increase yield over the next 50 years to meet the demand of the growing population,” he said. Read the entire piece here.

Conehead termite threatens Dania Beach

5371577-tree termiteDPI plant inspectors continued to survey the Dania Beach area of Broward County for the Conehead termite, Nasutitermes corniger. The conehead termite, previously referred to as the tree termite, attacks structures as well as wood and paper products and  can damage homes and furniture. Residents should look for and report termite tunnels, nests or swarms to the FDACS-DPI Helpline,  1-(888) 397-1517. (See conehead termite door hanger here.)

Submit specimens to FDACS-DPI on-line

We posted a form for on-line specimen submission here. Contact Dr. Greg Hodges if you have questions.

TRI-OLOGY updates activities of Bureau of Entomology, Nematology and Plant Pathology

The FDACS-DPI Bureau of Entomology, Nematology and Plant Pathology, which includes the botany section, has posted two editions of its on-line publication “TRI-OLOGY.” The new editions summarize bureau activities for the periods July-August and September-October 2012.

Finally, these Brief but Important Items . . .  

  • Next week our 2013 blog series, “Five Hundred Years of Florida Flora Firsts,” will continue to focus on the history of the citrus industry, examining some of the major pests and diseases that led to the founding of FDACS-DPI and its predecessor, the Florida Plant Board.
  • Florida bees continued to pollinate California’s almond groves. The almond industry there is experiencing a crisis-level shortage of bees. Florida is providing 90,000-100,000 colonies, which should complete their pollination task in about two weeks.
  • Our friends at the Center for Public Issues Education, UF/IFAS, (PIE Center) published this conclusion from a public opinion survey they conducted: Floridians ranked the importance of plentiful freshwater for agriculture, recreation and golf courses higher than for lakes and rivers. Read a summary here.
  • While we concluded another round of radio and cable television campaigns, public outreach on behalf of the effort to eradicate the giant African land snail from Miami-Dade County continues in the form of billboards on the Palmetto Expressway and U.S. Highway 1. We continue to remind residents to “Look For It! Report It!” Future outreach will include bus signs and continued participation in community events.

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