Yolanda Chen, a researcher at the University of Vermont, is researching a new invasive insect pest called swede midge. Thus far, it has been found in VT, but not yet in NH. Entomologists are keeping an eye out for it.
Swede midge, Contarinia nasturtii, is an invasive insect pest in the Northeastern US that can cause devastating losses to Brassica crops (up to 100%). Given the staggering losses caused by the midge and its recent rise in damage in the Northeastern US, there is serious need to develop sustainable pest management strategies prior to the onset of major economic losses. Brassicas are a vital crop for Northeastern vegetable growers; New York is the top producer for fresh cabbage nationwide, and 2nd in processing cabbage (total value of $62 million per year). The current major pest management recommendation, aside from long and widely-spaced rotations, is to use systemic neonicotinoids at planting, followed by weekly applications of neonicotinoids. Alternatives to chemicals pesticides have not been developed. The long-term goals of this project are to develop plant and systems-based pest control options to reduce swede midge infestation.
Dr. Chen and her colleagues at UVM are currently conducting a survey to determine: 1) how much existing knowledge growers have on effective pest management practices and 2) determine grower willingness to try alternative pest management practices. She would appreciate if you could complete this online survey. It should only take about 5-8 minutes of your time. Thank you!