DPI Diary, March 15, 2013

March 15, 2013

Dominican Republic will join “Don’t Pack a Pest” Program


The Travelers” Don’t Pack a Pest” team meets with Dominican Republic minister of agriculture and other officials on March 11, 2013. (Photo: Ellen Dyck)

The Dominican Republic committed to join the Traveler’s  “Don’t Pack a Pest” Program after meeting this week with representatives of the U.S. and Florida agencies that administer the program.  The Dominican Republic Minister of Agriculture agreed to join with the U.S in the partnership, which is focused on increasing the traveling public’s awareness of the dangers posed by invasive pests and diseases to the food supply.  The program, which encourages travelers to declare all agricultural items in their luggage, is a joint effort of the Florida Department fo Agriculture and Consumer Services,  (FDACS), USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The program delivers its message via signage at international airports and cruise ship ports, billboards along major highways and videos playing at 20 major U.S. airports and aboard American Airlines flights.

DPI plant Pathologist honored for work in Trinidad and Dominica


FDACS DPI Plant Pathologist Dr. Xiaoan Sun assisted agriculture officials in Trinidad and Dominica.

Dr. Xiaoan Sun, FDACS/DPI plant pathologist, will be honored as a Volunteer of the Year for 2012 by the Florida Association for Volunteer Action in the Caribbean and the Americas (FAVACA). He will be recognized, along with three others,  at the Florida Chamber of Commerce International Days April 3 at 8 a.m. Dr. Sun traveled to Trinidad and most recently to Dominica to create a management strategy to eradicate citrus greening disease.

Plant history blog concentrates on citrus

PrintWe hope you are following our FDACS/DPI blog series, “Five Hundred Years of Florida Flora Firsts: How Plants have shaped Florida’s History. This week we chronicled citrus greening, or huanglongbing, which Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam recently characterized as an existential threat to the industry. Previous posts included a summary of the history of citrus canker and the geographical changes the citrus industry has undergone in the 1800s and 1900s due to freezes.

Florida bees complete pollination duties in California

Between 90,000 and 100,000 colonies of bees from Florida will soon be returning home from California’s almond groves. The almond industry has experienced a crisis-level shortage of bees for pollination this year. State apiarist David Westervelt calculates each bee earns about 2 cents for pollination services in California.

Redbay Ambrosia Beetle Still Spreading Laurel Wilt Disease in Florida

Laurel wilt is now confirmed in 41 Florida counties. The most recent discoveries were in Glades, Monroe and Manatee. Labs at FDACS/DPI in Gainesville and the UF Tropical Research and Education Center (TREC) in Homestead continue to process suspect laurel wilt and redbay ambrosia beetle samples. While the labs continue to diagnose positive samples from avocado trees, most of the recent samples testing positive are from redbay trees throughout the state.

Conehead termite threatens Dania Beach

5371577-tree termiteDivision of Plant Industry inspectors are assisting inspectors from FDACS Agricultural Environmental Services as they continue 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. 

Submit specimens to FDACS-DPI on-line

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

On the Calendar:

  • Nominations sought for Agriculture Environmental Leadership Award. Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam is welcoming nominations for his Agricultural-Environmental Leadership Award, which has been presented annually since 1994. The program spotlights the environmentally innovative farming practices of the state’s growers and ranchers. Deadline for submitting nominations is May 1. Click Here  for a nomination form and additional information.
  • Volunteers encouraged to read on Ag Literacy Day. Florida Agriculture in the Classroom, Inc. is inviting volunteers to register to read in classrooms on Ag Literacy Day, April 30.  Volunteers can register, teachers can request a reader, and books can be requested and downloaded at: http://www.flagintheclassroom.com/agliteracyday.html .
  • Commissioner Putnam will moderate as a panel of experts discusses the history of food in St. Augustine March 21 at Flagler College. “From Hastings to the Sea: Feeding the First City from the 19th to the 21st Century” will discuss topics ranging from the Hastings farms developed to provide food for Henry Flagler’s St. Augustine hotels to the resurgence in locally-sourced food in the area.

From the Archives

Last year our FDACS/DPI blogger posted some fun observations from her travels in Ireland … and some other green thoughts for St. Patrick’s Day. We share them here.



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