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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Head in the Fruit


Unfortunately, my head has been in the fruit lately as this muggy weather takes its toll on my energy level. The one topic of conversation I may be overlooking with this type of humidity - insects and disease. While I’ve been aware of this nasty insect, Spotted Wing Drosophila through various alerts, I don’t know that I’ve mentioned it to folks who follow in these daily posts. According to our friends at UMass Amherst, this is a very problematic pest we are contending with this fruiting season. 

The Spotted Wing Drosophila is hitting the soft fruit category, mainly blueberries and raspberries with the potential of other fruit that could be infected. Ask any of our local farmer friends and this pest is raising havoc and causing major concern. Read any of the various UMass postings or other University extension alerts and you soon realize this pest isn’t easily going away and we should all be concerned. As I always state, the home gardener is no exception to this rule on being savvy and aware. Understanding what’s happening with your fruit is critical – we should all know when an insect has infested us and the vigilant actions we should be taking to make certain it does not get worse.

Here’s one more link, an article just written yesterday in the Greenfield, MA local newspaper. It gives you a quick snapshot on this fruit fly and the stark reality of why the life of a New England fruit grower is so darn hard. This as the fresh fruit in our bowls this morning were raspberries from the garden. Awfully tasty and sweet but hopefully it will not be short-lived.  

So when you’re looking for a new word to add to your garden vocabulary, make sure it includes ‘Spotted Wing Drosophila.’ As Oscar Wilde penned years ago, “Ignorance is like a delicate fruit; touch it, and the bloom is gone.”

P.S. We’ll be attending an upcoming UMass Grape Twilight meeting next week to discuss Spotted Wing Drosophila management in Grapes. I’ll keep you posted on what we learn.

Image by Ann Bilowz © 

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© 2009 Ann St. Jean-Bilowz/Bilowz Associates Inc. (including all photographs, unless otherwise noted in Annie's Gardening Corner are the property of Bilowz Associates Inc. and shall not be reproduced in any manner nor are they to be assigned to any third party without the expressed written permission and consent of Bilowz Associates Inc.)