Grant Promises Blueberry Farmers More Weapons In Fight Against Spotted Wing Drosophila

The spotted wing drosophila, a small insect that targets berries and stone fruits, costs farmers more than $700 million a year. The insects lay their eggs in ripe fruit, particularly blueberries, which makes them unfit to be sold. Blueberries are a huge industry in the state of Georgia, where in 2013 farmers produced $313 million in the fruit. To help reduce the loss from these pests, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture recently gave the University of Georgia a $2 million grant to research ways to stop the spotted wing drosophila. The effort is led by Ashfaq Sial, an expert on the insect and an entomologist at the University of Georgia College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. 

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