DPI Diary

October 10, 2014

Entertaining and enlightening items from FDACS-DPI social media this week

Smithsonian benefits from DPI scientists’ expertise

We were pleased to post an entry to the DPI Blog by two of DPI’s prominent entomologists who recently traveled to Washington, D.C. to spend a week working at the Smithsonian Institute.

Drs. Trevor Smith and Paul Skelley in the lobby of the Smithsonian Institution.

Drs. Trevor Smith and Paul Skelley in the lobby of the Smithsonian Institution.

Dr. Trevor Smith, chief, Methods Development and Biological Control, and Dr. Paul Skelley, biological administrator III, helped the Smithsonian Institution reorganize beetle specimens in its museum collections.

Beekeepers Honor Cathy Deweese

The Florida State Beekeepers Association honored Cathy Deweese, FDACS-DPI,  with its President’s Award. The award was presented at the association’s convention October 3 at West Palm Beach. Deweese, administrative secretary for the apiary section, was recognized for her 28 years supporting the beekeeping industry. She also received an Honorary Florida Beekeping Registration. More than 320 attended the state convention.

Operation Outdoor Freedom connects wounded veterans with the great outdoors

Our colleagues at the Florida Forest Service fill myriad roles throughout the state, including wildfire suppression, state lands management, County Forester programs and many others. Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Purnam this week pointed out one of the more recent and unique programs, Operation Outdoor Freedom. The program gives wounded veterans a chance to reconnect with the outdoors, nature and themselves through hunting, fishing and other activities. Forest Service personnel have been taking these heroes on hunting and fishing trips, eco-tours and other outings for several years now. Outings have included two guided hunting weekends in Blackwater River State Forest. Three more hunts are planned for the forest this season.

Teachers: Arrange a class tour of DPI

DoyleConnerbuildingWestSeeing an elementary school class conducting a bug hunt in our courtyard at FDACS-DPI headquarters in Gainesville this week under sunny fall skies reminded us to remind teachers that we do host tours of our headquarters and laboratory facilities. To set up a tour for your class, call our Helpline, 1-888-397-1517.

Videos spotlighting Mikania micrantha (“mile-a-minute”) and tawny “crazy” ants are worth your time

  • Our social media posts this week included a video warning of the invasive, noxious weed Mikania micrantha, nicknamed “mile-a-minute,” which chokes off beneficial native plants. It has been found in South Florida and is in bloom now. This video will help you identify it. If you do think you see it, report it to our Helpline, 1-888-397-1517.
  • We also came across this excellent video from UF-IFAS explaining the tawny, or “crazy,” ant that is causing problems in some parts of Florida. Well worth watching.

What does camping have to do with avocados?

Fall ushers in prime camping season in Florida. When you camp, please remember, DON’T MOVE FIREWOOD. Transporting firewood can also move invasive pests, and some of those pests threaten homescapes and agricultural crops. Case in point: the redbay ambrosia beetle, which has killed trees in the laurel family in many parts of Florida and continues to threaten our avocado industry. Watch the three videos on our “Save the Guac” webpage to learn more.

Do you know what these are?






You may be finding some of these on plants in your yard. If you do, it’s not bad news. Interesting post from the Entomlogy Department at UF-IFAS.

Florida has a presence at Sunbelt

Planning on attending Sunbelt Expo in Moultrie, Ga. next week? Find out when to plant Florida crops, how to can foods safely, and how to use paper to pot plants from UF/IFAS Extension experts at the 37th annual Sunbelt Ag Expo—the largest agricultural expo in the southeast. The show runs Oct. 14-16.

Check out our online library of entomology circulars

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry maintains a library of entomology circulars describing hundreds of species found in Florida and we’re constantly adding to it. We recently added two new circulars, on the West Indian Flatid Planthopper, Melormenis basalis in Florida (Hemiptera: Flatidae and the Stained-glass Moth, Samea ecclesialis Guenée (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). These circulars are provided as a service to the scientific community, agricultural producers and the general public.

Don’t Pack a Pest. It’s easy to check as you pack



Traveling outside of the U.S.? Remember to go to http://www.dontpackapest.com, a mobile device-friendly web link, for guidance on what agricultural items you can legally pack in your luggage.

Save The Date:  AgScience Café

All FDACS employees are invited to this month’s Department-wide AgScience Café from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 21, 2014. Joseph Sutton, Biological Scientist Supervisor, Division of Agricultural Environmental Services, will present information on the Seed Regulatory Testing Program.



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