NY farmers seek solutions to invasive berry pest


The Associated Press

A new invasive insect has devastated northeastern berry crops, and growers are working with Cornell University plant experts to develop strategies to fight it.

Binghamton apple grower Dave Johnson tells The Ithaca Journal (http://ithacajr.nl/1nPmhK8 ) that the Asian spotted wing fruit fly arrived on the West Coast in 2010 and spread eastward so fast that growers didn't have time to come up with a battle plan.

Watkins Glen apple grower Rick Reisinger said, "It was pretty shocking. At first, I just thought it was drought."

In just two growing seasons, the fly has put at risk $325 million worth of small fruit in New York. Statewide, Cornell University estimated the damage to commercial berry growers at $7 million in 2012.

Cornell's Integrated Pest Management program recently received a $170,000 grant to hire field technicians and provide growers with information on controlling the invasive insects.

Some growers are using netting over their crops to keep the fruit flies off, but others say that method is too expensive. Insecticide sprays are being tested with limited success. Cornell also is working with growers to set up trap-and-kill stations, which lure the pests to a screened area where they're destroyed.

The most effective safeguards are labor intensive: regularly watering the plants, washing the berries thoroughly and picking the fruit just as it ripens and refrigerating immediately.

Cornell's Peter Jentsch said growers also can use raspberry bushes as a line of defense, treating them with safe insecticides to prevent early infestation and keep the insects from migrating to nearby blueberry bushes as the season progresses.

Information from: The Ithaca Journal, http://www.theithacajournal.com

Read more Breaking News - Business stories from the Miami Herald

  • Air France pilot strike amid low-cost tensions

    At least half of Air France flights around the world were canceled Monday as pilots kicked off a weeklong strike, angry that the airline is shifting jobs and operations to a low-cost carrier to better keep up with competition.

  • New study on 'income inequality' looks at Mass.

    Advocates for changing Massachusetts' personal income tax may have new fuel for their campaign, as a new national study suggests a more progressive income tax that requires wealthier individuals to pay higher tax rates could help states deal with revenue problems.

FILE - In this July 28, 1992, file photo, U.S. Olympic basketball player Magic Johnson signs autographs for local children in Barcelona, Spain.

    Dream Team, Barcelona Games continue to impact NBA

    Officially, it was the U.S. Olympic team, together for just a few weeks.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category