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DPI Diary

December 13, 2013

A summary of social media activities at the FDACS Division of Plant Industry

Puerto Rico joins Don’t Pack a Pest program

PuertoRico3Dec13

Representatives of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and U.S. Customs and Border Protection flank a sign at the airport in San Juan as they prepare for the official launch of the Don’t Pack a Pest program in Puerto Rico. The USDA is also a partner in the program.

The big news this month has involved the Don’t Pack a Pest outreach program, as Puerto Rico became the second nation in the Caribbean to become a partner. Jamaica was the first, launching its program in 2012.  U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA),  the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Aerostar Airport Holdings and the Department of Agriculture of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico joined in the Wednesday announcement at the Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport. Richard Gaskalla, director of FDACS Division of Plant Industry, traveled with other members of the FDACS/DPI team for the announcement. The multi-agency partnership is administered by FDACS/DPI.  You can read the official news release here.

Canker warning issued for Escambia and Santa Rosa

Last week, agricultural officials were asking gardeners and homeowners in Escambia and Santa Rose counties to be on the lookout for signs of citrus canker after one case of the disease was verified in Tiger Point. This is the first time canker has been detected that far north in Florida. Signs of the disease include the presence of lesions on the upper and lower surfaces of the leaves or fruit. The lesions are raised and usually surrounded by yellow halos. AP Story here.

Ushering in the holiday season

Honeybee on orange flowerWe worked to introduce some holiday cheer into the blogosphere by linking to Commissioner Putnam’s recommendation that you choose a Florida-grown Christmas tree and offering five reasons to keep Florida honey on your holiday list. For the benefit of our friends and followers who were shivering in sub-freezing temperatures and snow in the Northern and Western U.S., we joined Visit Florida in bragging about the absolutely glorious weather we’ve been enjoying this week.

Watch for giant African land snails in Miami

We are also reminding Miami-Dade residents to continue to watch out for giant African land snails as they prepare their yards and landscapes for the holidays. See our blog entry here.

“Mile a Minute” plant also a plague in Florida

mikania-micrantha-flowers-160Mikania micrantha is nicknamed “Mile-a-Minute” because it grows so fast. This destructive invasive species is denoted by a blooming white flower. It is also known as Chinese creeper, climbing hempweed and bittervine. Be on the lookout for it this holiday season. The weed can grow one-and-a-half feet per week in optimal conditions. It thrives in Florida’s warm, humid environment, especially in the Redlands area of Homestead, where it was detected for the first time in the continental United States in 2009. More here.

Ready for the Strawberry Festival?

StrawberryWe also shared the news when tickets went on sale for the Florida Strawberry Festival’s popular entertainment shows on the Wish Farms Soundstage. The twenty-two shows include Rascal Flatts, The Band Perry, Boyz II Men and Little Big Town. Tickets can be purchased at the Florida Strawberry Festival’s website,  by calling (813) 754-1996, or by going to the Amscot Main Ticket Officer at 2209 W. Oak Avenue in Plant City. The festival runs from February 27 through March 9.

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