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DPI Diary

June 16, 2014

A summary of last week’s FDACS-DPI social media activities

Citrus was in the news this week.

Florida growers were heartened to hear the U.S. Department of Agriculture will spend another $6.5 million for three Florida projects aimed at fighting citrus greening, or HLB. USDA Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulator Programs Edward Avalos made the announcement last Thursday at the Florida Citrus Industry Annual Meeting in Bonita Springs. Read Kevin Bouffard’s story in the Lakeland Ledger.

“Citrus production in Florida may be at a 30-year low, but we’re not ready to throw in the towel,” Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam said. “We’ll use every tool in our toolbox to fight citrus greening and save Florida’s signature crop. A $9 billion industry that supports 75,000 jobs is at stake, and we can’t afford to lose.”

captaincitrus

Captain Citrus on the way to becoming a Superhero?

While we’re on the subject of Florida citrus, a pending move by the Florida Citrus Commission had social media a-twitter. It looks like Captain Citrus will become a Marvel superhero. The Department of Citrus is reported to be working with Marvel Comics to transform the current Captain Citrus into a superhero in order to appeal to teenagers.

Bees are swarming in the northeast, as well as in Florida

It’s swarming season for bees and Bees – and not just in Florida. In Hartford, Conn., a couple moved into an apartment, then comlained to their landlord about a nuisance bee issue. It was worse than they thought. Turned out thousands of bees were living in their ceiling. Honey dripped on exterminators as they worked. Nuisance bees are also being reported here in Florida. Residents should watch for swarming and call the FDACS-DPI Helpline if you need more information. The number is 1-888-397-1517.

On the giant African land snail front …

GALSDog12Jun14Division of Plant Industry Director of Communications Denise Feiber visited one of our two new detector dog teams as they searched for giant African land snails in Miami-Dade County. She posted this photo. The specially trained dogs and their handlers were recently deployed in the field after graduating from rigorous training. The dogs are trained to alert only to the scent of the GALS.

A DPI staffer’s family member forwarded this photo of a poster on a tree in a state park in Coconut Grove. Good to know our signage is up and continuing to keep the snail on people’s minds. We are winning the battle against the snail, but must not let up until it is eradicated from Florida.

GALSPosterSpeaking of the eradication efforts, we are reminding folks to watch for the snails as they go about their normal outdoor activities. “Look For Them! Report Them!” Call our FDACS-DPI Helpline, 1-888-397-1517. Our teams of inspectors have collected more than 140,000 of them since they were discovered in Miami-Dade in 2011. Learn more:

Apply now for Southern Pine Beetle Assistance Program

Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam reminds Florida’s private forest landowners that the Florida Forest Service is now accepting applications for the Southern Pine Beetle Assistance and Prevention Program. The sign-up period will run from June 6 through July 18 and is available for non-industrial private forest landowners. The Southern Pine Beetle Assistance Program is offered for private lands in 44 northern Florida counties.

Storms bring rain and fire to parts of Florida

Lightning strikes and other causes had firefighters battling flames and some South Florida residents breathing smoke. We remind everyone that every family should have an emergency plan — and emergency supplies to support it — in case of wildfire, hurricane or other disaster. Our colleagues at the Florida Forest Service posted this amazing photo taken by Josh Watkins of a wildfire that covered 10 acres in Glades County. This one was caused by lightning and was 100 percent contained. pic.twitter.com/hHVAypbzO2http://thesent.nl/1qCI8r4

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