June 26, 2015
On the alert for invasive fruit flies
At Tuesday’s department-wide AgScience Café event, Dr. Tyson Emery, Bureau Chief, Plant and Apiary Inspection, explained how the Division of Plant Industry’s fruit fly detection program monitors constantly for invasive flies. He invited FDACS colleagues to view this department video. He also offered some history of the program, so we pegged Throwback Thursday to his presentation, offering our followers a review of the first major Mediterranean fruit fly outbreak, a major threat to the Florida citrus industry, in 1929.
A sneeze with eyes?
We linked to a Washington Post article noting the presence in Florida of one of the world’s worst invasives, the New Guinea flatworm. (The writer said it “basically looks like a sneeze with eyes.” Do you agree?) Anyhow, while the flatworm poses no direct danger to humans, it consumes native snails wherever it lands. Bryan Benson, Environmental Supervisor at DPI, noted in a post that a scientist with the FDACS’s giant African land snail program found it in Florida in 2012. The worm has also shown up in France — causing some alarm in culinary circles there, as you might imagine.
Don’t Pack a Pest team at MIA
Our team of videographers was at Miami International Airport this week capturing new video of agricultural detector dogs in action. The resulting video will further promote Don’t Pack a Pest, an international program administered by FDACS that educates international travelers about the dangers of transporting invasives in agricultural items in luggage. More on that at www.dontpackapest.com
The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported some delicious news we can all use: Watermelons are at season peak this week. Enjoy! Also coming to market are Florida avocados, so make sure there’s some guac in your future. One way you can do that is to avoid moving firewood when you travel or camp. Save the Guac.
Congratulations, Mr. Story
A leader in Florida’s citrus industry, Victor B. Story, Jr., has been named 2015 Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Florida Farmer of the Year. Story is President and Chairman of the Board of The Story Companies, past president of Polk County Farm Bureau and Florida Citrus Mutual, and previous vice chair of the Florida Citrus Commission. Story has received numerous previous recognitions for his many agriculture industry and civic contributions. Story will now compete against nine other state winners for the 2015 Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year title, which will be awarded in October during the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Ga. More here.