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DPI Diary

October 17, 2013

A summary of the week’s soclal media activity at DPI.

What do insects do at night?

This week a group of new DPI plant inspectors was being trained in several locations around the state. At the Withlacoochee Training Center, DPI entomologists Paul Skelley, Susan Halbert and James Hayden provided the newbies with a noctournal insect encounter, and we shared some photos of their experience with our on-line audience:

InsectsatNight

The FDACS-DPI booth was well received at the first “Ft. Mose African Market” event held Saturday, Oct. 12 in St. Augustine, where our “Don’t Pack A Pest”/Invasive species message was shared with hundreds of people. DPI staff spoke with local, hometown folks, Floridians from other cities, out-of-state visitors and guests from other countries including DSC01380Africa and the United Kingdom. Visitors were interested in our booth’s live display of the new biological control beetle, Lilioceris cheni, for managing the invasive air potato vine. At the end of the day, Park Service Specialist Tonya Creamer witnessed FDACS-DPI performing the first release of these beetles in St. Johns county.

“Beetles” will appear live at Alachua Fair

Some of those beneficial air potato beetles that feed on the invasive air potato vines covering the state will be starring in the FDACS-DPI booth at the Alachua County Fair at Gainesville next week. Folks in north-central Florida should be pleased to make their acquaintance due to the widespread presence of the invasive plant and its tubers. (We like to imagine the Beatles were thinking about the beetles when they sang “I get by with a little help from my friends.”)

“Don’t Pack a Pest” signs are up in Jamaica.

A wandering member of our social media team managed to tag one of the “Don’t Pack a Pest” signs on display at the airport in Jamaica. Jamaica and the Dominican Republic are partners in the “Don’t Pack a Pest” Travelers Program and other DanielJamaicapartnerships are pending. The program is geared toward increasing awareness among international travelers of the need to declare agricultural items carried in their baggage. The program is a federally funded, joint effort of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, United States Department of Agriculture and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Stone crabs, teachers on tour, Sunbelt Expo and an emerald ash borer mask for Halloween

In other news . . .Our Facebook page heralded the opening of stone crab season and the Florida Ag in the Classroom fall teacher workshop and farm tour in the panhandle Friday and Saturday, hosting 43 teachers from around the state. We reposted a photo of Commissioner Adam Putnam with some young Florida Gators at Sunbelt Ag Expot in Moultrie, Ga., and put out the word that the folks at “Don’t Move Firewood” have a downloadable, cut-out for an Emerald Ash Borer mask for you – and what could be more scary than that!

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