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Here is an article from the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers’ Association newsletter about recent research in the Steffan lab:

Cranberries and spotted wing Drosophila (SWD) in Wisconsin

Shawn Steffan (USDA-ARS Madison, WI), Jana Lee (USDA-ARS Corvallis, OR), Laura Lavine (Washington State University), Doug Walsh (Washington State University), Chase Metzger (Washington State University), Juan Zalapa (USDA-ARS Madison, WI), Christelle Guédot (University of Wisconsin-Madison), and Phil Pellitteri (University of Wisconsin-Madison).

This holiday season, there will be one demographic that won’t want to eat fresh cranberries: spotted wing Drosophila maggots. Drosophila suzukii, commonly known as SWD, does not appear to like cranberries very much. Following multiple replicated trials using ripe, under-ripe, and over-ripe organic Wisconsin cranberries, SWD females would not (or could not) insert eggs into under-ripe or ripe cranberries. This suggests that healthy, current-year fruit should be safe from attack.

Among the over-ripe, decaying cranberries (harvested, frozen, thawed, refrigerated) just two eggs were found among many berries, but no mature larvae were detected, and no adults emerged. Fortunately, rotting fruit don’t make it into the harvest because they generally don’t float. Decaying fruit get devoured every spring and summer by other drosophilid flies (see photograph above), various beetles, and countless hordes of mites and springtails.

While none of the SWD larvae successfully developed within the highly acidic flesh of fresh cranberries, studies using physically damaged cranberries showed that SWD could develop to adulthood. Again, these berries represented wounded, decaying fruit, not the sort of berries that would get harvested. That said, SWD populations could build within cranberry beds and potentially play a role in regional source-sink dynamics.

Unfortunately, SWD females love blueberries and raspberries—this we learned early. The good news for cranberry growers is that SWD adults have only rarely been trapped in/near cranberry beds, and in these cases, a blueberry or raspberry patch was nearby.

So, the take-home message: current-year cranberries (that aren’t damaged and/or rotting) appear to be safe from SWD attack. Conversely, last-year’s decaying bounty of unharvested cranberries may be vulnerable. SWD populations will likely be found each spring and summer in fruit-growing regions, but the risk to cranberry production seems minimal.

If you are suspicious of any infested fruit, contact your local Extension agent.

For other fruit crops, here is a list of resources that may be helpful:

University of Wisconsin Extension has released an article on Spotted Wing Drosophila, Drosophila suzukii, with several suggestions for scouting and trapping the fruit flies.

The University of Minnesota and Michigan State University have web pages with extensive lists of resources including a map of counties with SWD in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

North Carolina State University’s Small Fruit and Specialty Crop IPM blog

Pacific Northwest Insect Management Handbook SWD page

–Liz Bosak

Online Cranberry Integrated Pest Management Tool Available from Rutgers University

Rutgers University has a great online IPM tool, PestWeb, for cranberry, blueberry, brambles, grape, and peach. The database categorizes information by chemical, type (e.g. herbicide, insect growth regulator), and crop. For instance, if a search is entered for all herbicides, the database reports the list of herbicides along with links to the label information, material safety data sheets and any supplementary material.

–Liz Bosak

How to Create a Website for your Business

The purpose of this article is to introduce the basic steps of creating a website.

Planning your website

This is a fundamental step where you ask yourself about the goals for the website. Do you want to sell products online, advertise services or products available on-site, or provide information? Go here, for a great article with many general and more specific design issues to consider.

Building your website

This is the step where you find a template and add your content. A template frames your content into pages with a menu, and a banner. Suggested do-it-yourself online services: The templates from WordPress were originally designed for bloggers. Some of the templates require substantial modification to remove the blog features and create a website that has a business-oriented design. Alternatively, StudioPress has developed several sophisticated templates that can be used with WordPress. This service provides lots of business-themed templates but your content will be difficult to move to another service if you decide to switch.

Getting your site on the web

Broadcasting your website on the web is called hosting. One recommended hosting website is

Need help? Consider hiring a private consultant to help build, critique, or optimize your website.

–Liz Bosak

Lucerne Moths Visit Cranberry Beds in Wisconsin in Big Numbers

Tim Dittl, an Agricultural Scientist at Ocean Spray Cranberries and a collaborator, discusses recent sightings of the Lucerne moth in Wisconsin. See below for his article:

This spring, I’ve been receiving several reports of moths flying in beds from Juneau all the way up to Vilas Co. While scouting the fields this week I was fortunate enough to be able to take some pictures of the moths and send them off to Phil Pellitteri, our State Entomologist in Madison, for positive identification. Funny thing, they all appear to be the same critter, the Lucerne Moth or Clover Nomophila, Nomophila neartica, a member of the family Pyralidae or snout moths. Although both Cranberry Girdler and Cranberry Fruitworm belong to this same family of moths, the Lucerne Moth has never been recorded as a pest of Cranberry, not yet anyway.

Lucerne moth larvae typically feed on clover, alfalfa, celery, smartweed and grasses and are sometimes referred to as the “false sod webworm.” Well, we certainly have clover, smartweed and grasses in and around the beds and on the dikes. The literature also states that they are common to Wisconsin, sometimes migrating to the far north. Their activity period ranges from April through October.

Identifying characteristics

Adult: at rest, wings are overlapped and hugged against abdomen, giving a long and narrow profile; forewing elongate, grayish-brown with two side-by-side dark oval spots near middle of wing, and another dark bi-lobed spot a little farther out; hindwing much broader than forewing, pale brownish-gray with whitish fringe.

Larvae: head black; abdomen variably light brown to dark gray with bumpy surface and sparse long hairs; thin dark dorsal line bordered by narrow pale strip. See pictures: Adult photo taken by Christine Ellis, Ocean Spray Cranberries.; larval photo taken from the World Wide Web.

Recently, a lot of mowing operations have been taking place on the marsh and this certainly may be helping drive them into the beds. I’m not sure that we’ll see any problems with them feeding on Cranberry this year, but we need to be aware of their presence and be on the look-out for any unusual insect activity going forward. What a strange year it’s been!

–Tim Dittl

Free workshop on commercializing food products

The WDATCP is offering a free workshop to learn how to commercialize food products at the farm. It will be held on Friday, June 1, 2012 from 10:30 AM until 3:00 PM. To see the flyer, click here.

–Liz Bosak

Weekly update from UW Extension on insects, plant diseases, and wildlife

Do you want to know what is going on in the fields, woods, and backyards of Wisconsin? The University of Wisconsin Extension Horticulture program publishes weekly updates through the growing season on special topics with regular appearances by Phil Pellitteri of the Insect Diagnostic lab and Brian Hudelson of the Plant Disease Diagnostic lab.

For the weekly update main page, go here.

For the May 5th podcast, go here.

For the May 5th written summary, go here.

–Liz Bosak

UW-Entomology and Extension’s Phil Pellitteri discusses pollinators on the Wisconsin Gardener

Phil Pellitteri runs the Insect Diagnostic Lab in the Entomology Department at UW-Madison. Last Spring, Phil met with Shelley Ryan of The Wisconsin Gardener to discuss pollinator issues and how to encourage native solitary bees including an egg-laying box for mason bees. Here is the link to the video.

Also, are you mystified or intrigued about an insect that you’ve found at your home or marsh? Check out Phil’s online catalog of insect photos. Another great resource is

–Liz Bosak

Wisconsin may open a hunting season for the sandhill crane, the cranberry’s namesake

Recently, a debate has erupted among Wisconsin’s citizens about the opening of a sandhill crane hunting season. The cranberry, or as it was once known “the crane berry”, owes its name to the sandhill crane because of the cranberry blossom’s resemblance to it, according to the Wisconsin Cranberry Growers Association.

Cranberry growers continue to practice conservation efforts on their marshes to preserve the sandhill crane population. However, many field crop farmers strongly object when the cranes devour their corn. Eileen Cullen of UW-Madison’s Entomology Department and Cooperative Extension discusses this issue in an interview. The International Crane Foundation, based in Baraboo, WI, is opposed to a sandhill crane hunting season in Wisconsin. Their website has links to the latest developments in the debate.

For more information, several news outlets have published articles, including The New York Times and The Green Bay Press Gazette. Channel 3 (Madison, WI) has a video of their news story that includes the cranes and interviews with people on both sides of the issue.

–Liz Bosak

New Research on Neonicotinoids and Bees in Science Magazine

Two studies investigating the effects of neonicotinoids on bees were just published online in Science magazine.

Link to “Field Research on Bees Raises Concerns About Low-Dose Pesticides”,

–Liz Bosak

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4 thoughts on “Contact Us

  1. I live in Sheboygan on a sandy bluff three blocks from Lake Michigan. I have a backyard hobby orchard of 20 dwarf apple trees. The older ones were whips in 2007, so I’ve had some fruit to taste for several years. I’ve been trying for about four seasons to keep orchard bees, which I’ve sent off for in the mail. I’ve had them hatch only to disappear mostly, leaving empty cocoons behind. Early spring in Sheboygan is too cold, too wet, and too windy. A late afternoon lake breeze comes up, they smell the open water, and they’re gone. The exotic Osmia cornifrons worked the best for me. For three seasons in succession I could recover cocoons for about half what I started with. I refrigerated them over winter near 0° C and moistened the cocoons every few weeks. Even with poor results the effort and expense were gratifying, and watching the activity of the bees after they emerged was vastly entertaining. I am easily amused. I should probably just treasure up the memory and let the experience go, but, no, I have to make this work. I’ve bought the somewhat less exotic O. lignaria propinqua, but their nesting tubes were infested with mites, which I hope had no greater success colonizing Sheboygan than their hosts did. This year I was allocated a handful of supposedly non-exotic O. lignaria lignaria, but the condition of the cocoons and their subsequent hatch rate was not great.

    Pollinators of all kinds are in short supply. I’ve seen a bumblebee queen and a couple of things that may be smaller bumblebees, and there is a lone honeybee usually, which is strange. Poor weather this spring may have been a problem, but I am not sure but what the city may spray for mosquitoes at inopportune times. I may have gotten my eye on an O. lignaria male hanging about, but I have no nesting females that I can see. Iyam disgustipated.

    … so up to now I’ve learned that commercial supplies of mason bees are reserved to large accounts, and that’s about all I’ve learned.

    Here’s what I suspect: Hauling these insects around is not a good thing. It spreads parasites. It depresses populations in prime habitats, and specimens placed in urban environments generally disperse; nevertheless, I still want to try again.

    I imagine that trap nesting is not permitted on public land for the above reasons. At this point I consider myself above trap nesting surreptitiously on private property. Can you put me in touch with owners at places where trap nesting might be allowed with a good probability of success?

    Thanks for your attention.

    62° F — Wind S 9 mph

    • Thanks for the post, ccr. Your dedication and persistence are admirable. I, too, have been trying to trap-nest Osmia at my home, but still I’ve found nothing. Their populations are likely spotty around WI.

      I don’t know where prospecting for the bees would be best. I would suggest getting some more O. lignaria to nucleate your own local population, and then try to keep them around by providing more nesting sites.

      As you may know, much of the foundational work on culturing Osmia was done at Utah State University (in Logan). There at the USDA Bee Lab, they have great systems and approaches to keeping Osmia lignaria. I would suggest looking at their online resources and perhaps contacting them about the possibility of getting a bee starter pack, of sorts. And, there is a great little handbook called “How to Manage the Blue Orchard Bee” by Jordi Bosch and Bill Kemp.

      Yes, blue orchard bee culturing can be hard. There are all sorts of parasites that target them. Maybe try different suppliers. I would stick with O. lignaria, as opposed to other Osmia spp.
      As far as keeping them around once they’ve hatched, you might try setting up more nesting sites around your orchard. Just take old logs or old 2 x 4 wood posts, and drill nesting tunnels in them. The tunnels should be 3/8″ in diam and at least 5-6″ deep (you’ll have to drill at an angle to get that deep into a 2 x 4), and have them angled downward so they don’t fill up with water. Put a bunch of these around your orchard to increase the chance they are found by the bees. Also, you could plant some really early-flowering species (bulbs, etc) which might allow the bees a little head start over their natural enemies during the spring.

      Thanks again for your post. Feel free to follow up.


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