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VIRUSES & VIRAL PLANTS Pt. 3

VIRUSES & VIRAL PLANTS Pt. 3

As we’ve made our way through the past few blogs, we’ve examined the complex nature that viruses have. We’ve gone in-depth into the realm of viruses and examined two of the most unique virus families in biology. Now, we’ll examine the third and final family of viruses that have the capacity to infect the Animalia and Plantae Kingdoms

The first of these viruses was the Bunyaviridae and the second was the Rhabdoviridae.  The third of these rare viruses that we will be discussing is the Reoviridae family.

As we come to a close on our examinations of rare plant viruses that can infect humans we take one more close look at the dangers these species present.

Reoviridae

The Basics

Reoviridae has 2 subfamilies that have 15 genera that divide out into a total of 75 different virus species that infect a variety of hosts, including plants and animals. This virus family is the largest family of double-stranded RNA viruses, and perhaps the most understood of their kind. They have been identified in a wide variety of organisms, found in everything from an arachnid, a plant, fungi, reptiles, mammals, and more. 

In humans, this viral family is responsible for the commonly known Rotavirus. The Rotavirus is passed from fecal matter being transmitted orally through contaminated objects and surfaces. This transmission encourages easier spread amongst children and infants. 

But the Reoviridae viruses aren’t exclusive to humans. As mentioned above, the variety of hosts for these viruses almost seems unlimited, even infecting fish! But our major concern is the relationship these viruses have with plants and how we can prevent their spread.

Affect on Plants

Out of the abundance of Reoviridae viruses that exist, there are 3 genera that have approximately 14 different species that infect plants.  These three genera are Phytoreovirus, Oryzavirus, and Fijivirus

These viruses are believed to originate in ancient invertebrates and are developmentally reliant on the vectors of leafhoppers. Without the hoppers the virus could not reproduce in most cases and would die off completely. But, with the hoppers as the host, they are able to spread their diseases to different plant vectors. Due to the lack of spread through seed, many of these viruses reproduce through larvae of the hoppers and not just in the host themselves.

These viruses are mainly a threat to what are known as cereal crops and include rice, maize, sorghum, and barley. Each variation of these viruses affect each crop a little differently, but overall causes severe damage. As we examine these three different viral genera we should keep in mind how each of them could impact our environment if not properly managed.

Phytoreovirus

This virus produces the commonly known diseases of Rice Dwarf Virus and Rice Gall Dwarf Virus. Plants that are infected with these viruses exhibit defined stunting, more tillering, and leaves that are short and dark with chlorotic specks. The plants most often survive until harvest, but at that time it is often discovered that the flower containing the grain is empty.

The damage from these viruses are mostly experienced in Southeastern Asia, but that doesn’t mean it can’t affect other areas of the world. Diseases can often go unnoticed with little symptoms to the plant until harvest time.

This furtiveness can make the management of these pests and diseases almost impossible if not properly maintained. Cleanliness is of the utmost importance when managing stock plants. As part of Plant Sentry’s mission, we maintain constant vigilance on diseases like these to keep our growers informed and their plants healthy.

Orzyavirus

The second genera of the Reoviridae virus family to infect plants is the Orzyavirus. One of its species is the Rice Ragged Stunt Virus. This disease is transmitted by the Brown Planthopper and reduces the amount of plant density and grain production. This virus is most commonly found in tropical Asian climates where the conditions are optimal for continuous habitation of the Brown Planthopper and rice to be grown all year long.

Much like the Phytovirus the threat that this disease poses to crop quality and density is significant. While it primarily occurs in other parts of the world outside the United States, it still has the potential to impact our food supply and the plants that we grow. It is oftentimes that once a species makes its way to our country that a virus or disease mutates and infects its new surroundings differently than it had in its original habitat.

Fijivirus

The last genera of this viral family is the Fijivirus. In recent years these viruses have primarily been found targeting rice production in China. But many years before, they were found to be ruining sugar crops in Australia

Currently, the Southern Rice Black-Streaked Dwarf Virus is transferred by the White-Backed Planthopper and causes damage to rice crops. The earlier the plant is infected, the more damage that is done.

Similar to the other diseases we’ve reviewed today, this virus can cause dwarfing, stiffening of leaves, lack of grain production, and increased tillering. The infected plant leaves are often dark and short with some ruffling on the edges.  

Like so many other diseases, every component of its management can potentially affect its neighbor. As we’ve seen in recent months, all it takes is one vector to carry disease to a new environment and create a dramatic impact. Habitats and ecosystems may vary from place to place, but many of these species are genetically designed to thrive on its unsuspecting victims.

How It Affects You

As we come to a close with our examinations of viruses, we hope that this has made you more curious and considerate of how viruses can infect our world. Where we once thought viruses to be limited, maybe now we’re a little more open-minded on just how easily they can spread. As the world reemerges from its quarantine cocoon, we recognize that our perception of viruses has changed, hopefully for the better.

At Plant Sentry we plan to use our new-found knowledge to help our growers achieve optimal plant health. We work around the clock to provide our clients with the highest level of awareness against disease and pests. Through our expertise in disease management we know the best practices that will make work easier on growers for seasons to come. In this ever-changing world, there has never been a better time to do the right thing and keep your plants safe and healthy. To learn more about our practices visit the Our Services page and see why what we’re doing makes a BIG difference.

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Invasive Species Cost $137 Billion Dollars in 2019

Invasive Species Cost $137 Billion Dollars in 2019

“Invasive species are a global issue, but they impact local communities causing damage to their economy and environment daily.

Dr. Mark Renz | Professor & Extension Specialist | University of Wisconsin at Madison

Invasive species include non-native insects, animals, invertebrates, aquatic organisms, diseases, and plants. Their hallmark is the ability to outcompete the native species within their new environment.

Although most people may not be aware of the expense of invasive species, they do cause a considerable expense to our country. In 2019 alone, the cost projections were roughly $137 billion.

February 24th – 28th is National Invasive Species Week (NISAW)

Every year, the efforts this week focus on awareness of the persistent battle against invasive species’ damages. Word is getting out there:

  • Consumers are getting more savvy about the impact of invasive species.
  • Most insurance companies look for beneficial programs that help reduce liability costs.

Verified Purchases Help You Stop the Spread of Invasive Species

Plant Sentry™ is an affordable and scalable software solutions to protect wholesale, retail and e-commerce sales. It helps you do everything you can to stop the spread of invasive species.

This efficient software is a big part of the solution moving forward. As you know, it takes time to build and maintain relationships with all the regulators at State and Federal levels.

We help you manage all the compliance requirements. This includes both growing and shipping regulated plant materials for each State of origin and each destination State.

Our team stays active in the game. This way we stay ahead of new regulated plant, pest, and disease concerns.

In addition, we serve on councils, committees, and a board regarding the issue of invasive species. We speak to national audiences at industry conferences and universities to promote our effort.

Our work is continuous, not only one week out of the year.

Get Compliance Support with Plant Sentry™

Plant Sentry ™ is a consolidated national compliance database of all State and Federal regulations governing plant diseases, regulated pests, invasive plants and quarantine areas. It is continuously updated.

This mobile-ready tool makes it easy to comply with rapidly changing growing, inspection and audit requirements for all Federal regulations and restrictions of all 50 States.

National Invasive Species Week puts a spotlight on invasive species solutions. It’s time for efficient tools like Plant Sentry™ to stop these pests.

Get a free quote for your customized Plant Sentry™ solution.

(866) 335-0956

[email protected]

plantsentry.com/quote

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Unseen Costs of Prohibited Plant Shipments

Unseen Costs of Prohibited Plant Shipments

There are many consequences of shipping pests, diseases, and invasive plants that affect our communities. Poor plant shipments result in expenses of billions of dollars per year nationwide.

At the state level, bad plant shipments tie up critical state resources. Already stretched to capacity, officials must work to mitigate invasive pests, invasive plants or plant diseases.

Each state is handicapped by plants that escape cultivation and harm the environment. For example, Wisconsin battles buckthorn, Japanese barberry, Phragmites, and more.

These battles cost landowners and hard-working taxpayers millions of dollars.

Bad plant shipments can be accidental. Or, they can be intentional, when someone evades regulations.

Putting Years of Development in Jeopardy

Strong efforts are being funded by the green industry to develop new plants that are resistant to pests or disease. Breeders are also scrambling to develop non-invasive plants to battle the issue.

These breeding programs develop new plants that help growers and retailers make sales in areas that have prohibited the unimproved genera of plants. They must be approved by state officials.

Developing new trees and shrubs can take decades to develop, with funding and physical labor needed in significant amounts. All this effort can be for naught, if the new plant can’t be shipped into the states most hurt by the unimproved genera.

Bad Plant Shipments Hurt Working Relationships With State Regulators

The green industry must cooperate with regulations for invasive plants, pests and diseases. If they don’t, states are less likely to be cooperative in making exceptions for new non-invasive, low fertility plant cultivars developed by breeders.

For instance, a breeder may spend eight to twelve years developing a triploid burning bush (Euonymus alatus) that produces very few viable seeds per mature plant.

Regulators exposed to a non-cooperative industry may be less inclined to allow an exception for the triploid cultivar.

The case is often made by regulators that it is simpler and more efficient to restrict an entire species without exceptions.

“Our industry needs to work with the regulators of plant material and its pests to protect our business interests as well as the natural areas,” said Mike Yanny, President of JN Plant Selections. “We need to help the regulators do their job successfully to accomplish our common goals, with the least amount of pain to the industry.”

Affordable Plant Sentry™ Stops Bad Plant Shipments

The team behind Plant Sentry™ acknowledges the problem of selling and shipping the wrong plants to areas affected by pests, diseases, or invasive species, and they know it must be stopped.

We also understand that there are laws in place, but the information can be hard to track down and interpret.

 “Working with Plant Sentry™ can be an excellent way to make shipping easier,” said Yanny. “Using their expertise allows businesses to know they are being responsible for protecting areas from invasive pests and plants. At the same time, they can ship in an efficient and productive manner.”

  • Plant Sentry™ tracks down and interprets regulatory information for growers, retailers, and more using a maintained national database that verifies plant shipments.
  • It creates a single language for correct botanic nomenclature, eliminating any possible confusion in shipment.
  • Plant Sentry gives retailers a strong marketing tool. Displaying the Plant Sentry™ verification seal assures consumers that their plant purchases have added value.
  • Plant Sentry™ uses an emergency response in any accidental shipments, which works to prevent any loss of control.

In total, Plant Sentry™ is not only an effective solution to mitigate bad plant shipments, it’s a sustainable way to move a growing operation forward. By proofing each plant purchase for consumers, it will inevitably help growers and retailers move more plants the right way.

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‘Tis The Season for Watchfulness

‘Tis The Season for Watchfulness

If you are a grower, you know that plant production takes up not only your time, but also your focus on the workforce you are developing. Compliance often becomes one of those items placed on your back burner, especially in the heat of the season when productivity can be high.

It is important that we keep compliance a priority. Luckily, it does not matter the season—Plant Sentry™ is here year-round to help verify plant issues for you.

Keep Your Eyes On The Ball

Last holiday, Boxwood wreaths and Christmas trees were shipped with pests and diseases which compromised our landscapes and environment.  You’ll protect your company’s brand reputation by catching these issues before they spread.

Remaining in compliance should remain high on your seasonal check-list. 

Elongate Hemlock Scale Problem On The Rise

The Elongate Hemlock Scale is known by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to reproduce on 43 different species, 14 of which are native to the United States. While Spruce and Fir tending to be more susceptible than the Hemlock. In 2000, the state of North Carolina indicated that their Elongate Hemlock Scale had increased by .3%.

By 2013, 53% of their Christmas tree producers had been infected with the pest. Most trees that become infected, do not survive past 10 years.

Reflecting On Performance At Year’s End

There is always a right time to do things, and no better time of the year than December. As the holidays approach, we ask ourselves —Have we done our best this past year? These questions aren’t simply related to the season, they also fall into the plant arena.

Did we perform due diligence when identifying  and maintaining compliance and treatments? Did we stay within compliance agreements? Had we kept good records of it all? When there was a pest, disease, or invasive plant issue, was it dealt with optimally?

These questions remind us of all the details which need to be managed correctly. Plant Sentry™ exists to verify even the smallest of such details.

Move Forward With Purpose And Get Help

Now is the time to reflect upon the past year and learn from it; while preparing for the future.  Here at Plant Sentry™, we also use this time to reflect, as well as look forward. We also strive to be a company that continually moves towards the highest standards. 

Plant Sentry™ is the leader when it comes to verifying plants, and it is backed by AmericanHort, the largest green industry organization. Do not be fooled by any other false advertisements of plant verification. 

Start the New Year Off Right

This season, take a step to feel great about safe shipments of beautiful plants and plant materials. When you verify with Plant Sentry™, your customers know it has adhered to the highest standards around!

Get your questions answered. Contact us today and see how your team can leverage affordable real-time business intelligence, no matter if you are a wholesalers, retailer or e-commerce vendor.

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Protecting Plants and Giving Thanks

Protecting Plants and Giving Thanks

In celebrating the month of Thanksgiving, we see homecomings for many families across the nation. We treasure the joy and togetherness, talking about great times and eating favorite foods like cranberries, corn, pumpkin pie, and the famous turkey.

You might be surprised to hear that many food items showing up on your kitchen table could be severely affected by certain pests, diseases, and invasive weeds.

Green Industry is Concerned About the Movement of Pests, Diseases, and Invasive Species

The recent eradication of Plum Pox, a lethal virus of the genus Prunus-including apricots, almonds, cherries, nectarines, peaches, and plums-is a significant example. Putting up a twenty year fight, the disease resulted in enormous eradication costs for the United States.

Plum Pox would have severely impacted the $6.3 billion dollar stone fruit industry if not contained and eliminated. Though we applaud the efforts it took to ensure this pest was put to rest, the Plum Pox situation stresses the need for compliance, both interstate and abroad.

Consumers and Compliance Can Stop the Spread

With countless other pests and diseases-not to mention invasive plants-costing billions of dollars, it is critical that industry put a stop to the spread. Fortunately, there are two proven methods for doing just that.

First, as a team, industry must work to teach consumers the appropriate way to purchase plants. Second, industry must verify that the right plants get shipped to the right places. It seems quite simple, and yet, persistent issues continue to escalate all over the country and beyond.

Use a Systems Approach to Validate the Proper Shipment of Plants

Plant Sentry™ is a software solution that frees up critical staff time by using a systems approach to validate proper shipment of plants.

The green industry is unquestionably responsible for regulation, and it should take charge in thwarting all activities that ignore these fundamental policies. The largest green industry organization, AmericanHort, is supporting Plant Sentry™ efforts to promote a healthy, quality environment for our land, communities, or neighboring businesses (i.e. orchards, agronomic crops).

The standards of this approach furthermore align with and enhance other certification programs. AmericanHort, as well as other green industry groups, knows the value of consumer satisfaction. The Plant Sentry™ seal of verification maintains consumer confidence in our products, pushing both products and the nation forward.

Utilizing this tool helps on two additional fronts. It funds key research and programs through AmericanHort and it puts products where they should be.

Ship Nursery Stock with the Plant Sentry™ Verification Seal

Allow plants to be grown where they should be grown, without negatively impacting the environment or affecting that holiday meal.

The fight is far from over, but this Thanksgiving, each and every individual has the chance to make a real difference. Help lead the fight to plant what is right

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Invasive Species Cost Hidden Dollars and Headaches

Invasive Species Cost Hidden Dollars and Headaches

Invasive species, whether they are plants, pests, or diseases wreak major havoc throughout the United States. Bill Jones of Carolina Native Plant Nursery recently published an informative article in Nursery Management Magazine regarding the amount of money spent trying to eradicate these species from each state. 

Costs to Fight Invasive Species Are Staggering

States are spending an estimated $50,000,000,000 to $120,000,000,000 to fight invasive plant species, pests and diseases. With costs as shocking as these, you may be wondering who really pays for it all—and you’ve most likely guessed it. The U.S. taxpayer is paying these astronomical costs. 

In Jones’s article, he questions who is liable for these problems in the first place. One can point the finger in many different directions, but most often the Green Industry is to blame. 

To date, the Green Industry has not hit the liability front for these expensive, vast cleanups. However, as grant funding starts to fall short and less money becomes available, someone is sure to pay. 

We’d all love to believe that controlling invasive species is easy when money is accessible, but it truly isn’t. Anyone having to deal with the eradication of a plant, pest, or disease understands the painful headache accompanying it. 

Small teams of volunteers and grant-funded staff battle invasive plants, pests, and diseases year-round. Some of these species may be too far gone to ever get under control. 

Further, the invasive front often involves organisms that drift into the United States from outside of the country. In order to prevent new plant problems on top of this, there are many educational tools, including Plant Risk Evaluator Tool™ (PRE) from Plant Right® that can be utilized. 

This may be one more thing that lawmakers can use when deciding whether or not to ban a plant. Most states already have invasive species laws and established processes for assessing plants, but any additional strategy has merit.

Regulate to Slow Pests and Diseases

As far as pests and diseases are concerned, such organisms must be regulated to slow the spread. In some cases, regulation offers the opportunity for eliminating them altogether. Several successful programs are currently in use to control the Asian Longhorned Beetle and eradicate the Plum Pox Virus from New York. Though costly, these programs do work, and the end result is extremely rewarding. 

However, it is important to understand that the threat of the spread of pests, diseases, and other invasive species can happen rapidly, especially today. With trade, eCommerce, garden clubs, benefit auctions, countless avenues of transportation, and more, regulation is more critical than ever before. 

Plant Sentry™ Was Developed To Fight Invasive Plants, Pests and Diseases

Plant Sentry™ was developed to help ease the navigation of verifying plant shipments. This can be done any time during the process up until ship point. With proven auditable results, this tool can help stop the spread of pests, diseases, and invasive species. 

Even more, in the case of an emergency, Plant Sentry™ helps mobilize individuals quickly to extinguish the fire. 

Minimizing future liability by buying a product today isn’t only smart—it’s vital. Plant Sentry™ is indubitably a valuable option; it is efficient and direct when used to a grower’s advantage. 

Winning battles against invasive species requires vigilance, and Plant Sentry™ employs this to its core. 

In today’s world, we must all do our part. And so, we urge you to take action. 

Employ these proven tactics. Commit to a healthier, headache-free environment. And better yet, do it today, because tomorrow may be too late. Contact us to start the conversation. Our team is here to help get your questions answered.

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Efforts to Combat Asian Longhorn Beetle

Efforts to Combat Asian Longhorn Beetle

The Asian Longhorn Beetle is an invasive species insect that has been in the United States since mid-late 1990. This pest causes irreparable harm to many tree species, including our beloved maples and oaks.

The beetle is known to attack and kill older trees that tend to stress more.  The beetle was first discovered on the East Coast and, up to this day, has been contained to three quarantined states. The states, along with the USDA-APHIS, have conducted a massive eradication effort. Official regulation has been in effect since March 7, 1997.

Eradication efforts for invasive species are not uncommon. Our friends at the USDA-APHIS have been running field operations and programs such as with the Asian Longhorn Beetle in order to protect America’s landscapes, commodities, forests, and environment.

Costs of Invasive Insects Are High

Invasive insects can cause serious, lasting harm to our ecosystems, and it typically does not end with just one dead tree. These pests also cost taxpayers billions of dollars to combat each year, which is a double whammy for those that also lose something precious in their landscape.

 For these reasons, it is important that we be vigilant for insects like these, enabling us to help in the eradication effort once a program is underway. Everyone’s combined effort and communication allows for better trapping and management of such pests.

Eradication Efforts Are Cooperative

The Asian Longhorn Beetle program in particular has had incredible success because of the actions and cooperation from states, municipalities, and homeowners alike. These contributions are helping to eliminate this pest, and hopefully complete elimination will happen in the very near future.

If you have trees that are listed on the host sight, and you live in a quarantine area of Massachusetts, New York, or Ohio, you should always be on the look-out for this pest. Additionally, adjacent counties of affected areas should serve as buffer zones, and other communities should be observant to help in this effort. 

Compliant Nursery Stock is Key to Success

It is even more important to be cognizant of these invasive species when purchasing and shipping nursery stock. Anyone purchasing plants online or from outlets from the listed states should look for regulatory agreements or the federal stamp, both prior to ordering and when the product arrives.

Nursery products being shipped out of quarantine areas must be accompanied with a compliance agreement. This specifies that the plants have been managed in a way that prevents the invasive insect from moving out of the area. These agreements serve a purpose: leading the world to eradicate a harmful pest such as the Asian Longhorn Beetle.

More information on the Asian Longhorn Beetle can be found on the USDA-APHIS website, which also provides plant host lists, affected quarantine counties in each state, and progress maps. In the end, however, a company that verifies that your shipment is safe and abides by state and federal regulations should be your number one defense when purchasing a plant. 

Our team at Plant Sentry™ applauds the efforts of our state and federal regulatory officials to help manage and eradicate serious pests, diseases, and invasive species. We are another part of the team that not only prioritizes communicating issues to you but works to solve those that wreak havoc on our landscapes, commodities, and environment.

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Plant Shipment: It’s More Than the Box

Plant Shipment: It’s More Than the Box

Plants are being shipped from state to state more frequently today than ever before. Most consumers are unaware of what’s involved to ship and deliver healthy plants without significant economic and environmental risks.

Shipping Plants Successfully is Not Easy

Some companies claim that their boxing technique is better than the competitors. Does this single step guarantee you are getting the best plant? Certainly not, industry best practices now include certified processes that ensure plants have been cared for properly and verified not to spread harmful pests, diseases, or invasive species.

The Plant Sentry™ process starts by working with state and federal officials. We ensure that every step is followed to the letter of the law, and we support growers in their compliance efforts before they ship a plant intra- or interstate. The entire inspection team places another set of eyes on each step in the critical process needed to get you a healthy plant.

How do you know this inspection has taken place? You should know immediately, as each plant article must contain a general plant inspection certificate issued by the state. In some cases, there may even be a federal shield on the outside of the box.

These established guidelines help protect our valuable resources—including agricultural commodities, urban municipalities, water, and the environment—from billions of dollars in damage each year. The utilization of state and federal inspectors is a great help in saving your hard-earned tax dollars.

Thinking Outside the Box…

It’s true that not all boxes are created equal. However, it’s not just the box that protects the plant. Growing techniques, inspections, and care along the way all play a big part in protecting plants.

Most online vendors do not have standard operating procedures to make sure the plant care is consistent and regulated. At Plant Sentry™, we employ the rigid guidelines of the American Standards for Nursery Stock and align with the Systems Approach to Nursery Certification Standards (SANC) among all other sustainability practices and the latest science generated by our best universities.

At Plant Sentry™, we work with growers to achieve successful shipping of healthy plants to your door. We listen to renowned universities, knowledgeable state and federal officials, and most importantly, we listen to you. Fine attention to detail, grower and staff empowerment, team engagement, and assistance from state and federal officials is a systems approach you will not find outside of Plant Sentry™.

Our e-commerce certification sets us apart from the rest. A healthy plant grown at its original location and shipped fresh to you is the best prospect. It is no different than picking a fresh green bean from the garden. Wouldn’t you feel more confident purchasing a plant through a certified source?

You could have the best box design in the world, but it is only one small component of a larger, critical process. Choose Plant Sentry™ certified growers and retailers to ensure your plants and the environment are considered with integrity at every stage of the plant shipping process.

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Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) Spreading Fast

Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) Spreading Fast

The spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) arrived in Pennsylvania, United States in 2014 on a suspected shipment of stone from Asia. Though the most frequently blamed suspect is plant materials, many foreign invasive species actually arrive through unconventional methods such as pallet wood, packing materials, stone, and more.

Our nation becomes a lottery as pests randomly land in various states, causing major headaches. Our hearts go out to Pennsylvania and other surrounding states for having to battle such a pest and all other issues that come along with it.

The preferred feeding choice of this insect is Tree of Heaven; however, it eats just about any plant. It tends to favor fruiting plants. Affected industries include wineries, orchards and forests. The fruit industry in particular has been hard hit.

“Does Severe Cold Weather Kill This Insect?”

Unfortunately, no. These pests are extremely difficult to control. The adults will succumb to the cold, but unfortunately, the egg masses will not. This awful pest has a unique waxy coating that protects its egg masses from chemicals and oils, and extreme temperatures, whether hot or cold.

SLF-spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) 2nd and 3rd instar nymph (black), 4th instar nymph (red body) in Pennsylvania, on July 16, 2018. USDA-ARS Photo by Stephen Ausmus.

Its feeding habits are very destructive, leaving a sappy mess behind as evidence that can wreck outdoor items such as furniture, stain driveways, and vehicles. Other damage may affect home siding, roofs, and glass. Nymphs and adults feed on the plant sap, literally sucking the life out of them. The feeding damage aesthetically scars each plant, turning beautiful landscapes into an eye sore. In some cases, the pest’s feeding behaviors are enough to kill plants.

Spotted Lanternfly is On the Move

It is now been found in several states, including MA, MD, DE, NJ, NY, and VA. It is important to note that this insect does not move far on its own; it is rather transported, most often by firewood. Other avenues include – but are not limited to – vehicles, boats, plants, lumber, and other outdoor items.

Because of the multitude of ways the spotted lanternfly may be transferred, it is up to us to inspect these items before transporting or shipping them to other states outside of their quarantine zones.

Costing a Fortune

This pest is already causing multi-million dollar problems, and control efforts have been funded in the new farm bill. It is estimated that around $2.7 million dollars has been spent just for the state of Pennsylvania alone.

Research is also being funded to find better control strategies and resistance mechanisms that can be bred into plants. Unfortunately to date, there are no natural predators found that can control this pest.

Next Steps to Stop the Spread of Spotted Lanternfly

Plant Sentry™ is helping the effort by prompting all plant companies to think about pest, disease, and invasive species problems before shipments take place. Quarantined areas will require extra inspection and assessment before shipment can take place.

If we are to eliminate the spotted lanternfly and slow down its current movement considerably, it will take all hands on deck and available tools. Please do your part and be sure to inspect all outdoor items. If purchasing plants online, make sure you buy from a certified vendor.

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February Is Idaho Potato Month

February Is Idaho Potato Month

You could really make the case that this should be a national celebration. After all, potatoes have been a staple in America since 1719, after being introduced in the 1690s.

Now extremely popular, this crop has certainly made its mark. There were approximately 1.05 million acres of potatoes harvested in 2017 at a value of $3.7 billion dollars.

About 60% of those harvested potatoes become French fries, potato chips, dehydrated goods, and other potato products. Imagine if ten, even twenty, percent of your French fries disappeared. I am sure you would not be happy.

Potatoes have serious pest and disease problems. Keeping crops clean is critical for retaining high harvest percentages so that producers can deliver to your table.

Plant Sentry™ is upholding its promise to prevent the accidental shipment of regulated plants that could put your potatoes in harm’s way. There are many vegetable shipment regulations put into place for very good reason.

Some vegetables are regulated for Colorado Potato Beetle and Potato rot diseases. Potato plants cannot be shipped interstate or intrastate unless they go through a rigorous certification process. Certifying that plant material is clean and free from injurious pests and diseases is very important to potato growers. In fact, a massive amount of research is completed every year to keep potatoes ahead of these severe pests and diseases.

The next time you go to purchase a plant online, make sure that you are using a reputable vendor. These vendors use systems that put the potato farmer first, allowing for a healthy supply of the valued commodity (potatoes) to satisfy your needs.