Topics in Pollination

Grow Magazine, which we’ve referenced on this site before, just published a great new article on pollinator research.  The article highlights distinct approaches by three UW researchers, one of whom—Hannah Gaines, from the Entomology department—looks at the importance of landscape management and the role of native bees in cranberry.  Other work being done includes taking a genetic survey of the microbial community found in a beehive using new DNA sequencing tools, and raising new questions in the important discussion of how to better tease out and effectively assess the human impact on pollinators.  Take the time to read it for yourself!

The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, at UW-Madison, publishes Grow Magazine three times a year, highlighting agricultural research in Wisconsin.  Fill out a form for a free subscription to Grow Magazine:

Fearless Farm Finances Webinar

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection is offering a number of workshops including a webinar discussing farm finances. For a pdf copy of the workshop reminder, go here.

Quickbooks 1: Introduction

Webinar: Beginner Quickbooks

Employee Management 1: Guiding the Herd

Webinar: Employee Management

Missed a workshop? The WDATCP has a webinar archive with free videos hosted by YouTube.

–Liz Bosak

Cranberry Pollination Research at the University of Wisconsin

In the spring and summer of 2012, Hannah Gaines, a PhD student in the Entomology Department at the University of Wisconsin, did experiments in the field and in the greenhouse to better understand what non-bee factors may be influencing cranberry pollination.

Hannah's cages

Monitoring one of my pollination treatment cages in the field.

Hannah's greenhouse experiment

Hand pollinating cranberry plants in the greenhouse.

Hannah's greenhouse experiment

Hand pollinating cranberry plants in the greenhouse.

To learn more about her work on native pollinators, see this article.

Cranberry Festivals at Eagle River and Stone Lake This Weekend

Will you be in Northern Wisconsin on October 6 or 7? Care for a road trip? There are two cranberry festivals this weekend.

Visit the Cranberry Fest in Eagle River, WI for their markets, fresh and dried cranberry sales, music, cranberry beer, or the Cranberry Fitness Walk and Bike Tour. Free parking with free shuttle service is available. The festival begins on Saturday October 6, 2012 at 9AM til 4PM and ends on Sunday October 7, 2012 at 3PM.

The Cranberry Festival in Stone Lake, WI, on Saturday October 6, 2012 from 9AM to 4PM, features a crate derby with children entering their best crate racer after the parade. Parking costs $5 and the proceeds benefit youth programs. Plan to arrive early to purchase fresh cranberries; they are typically sold out by noon.

–Liz Bosak

The Warrens Cranberry Festival Is Next Weekend

The Warrens Cranberry Festival will be held in Warrens, WI from Friday September 28 through Sunday September 30, 2012. On Friday morning, the largest cranberry whoopie pie, weighing 1 ton, will be unveiled. The festival includes several markets (flea, farm, arts & crafts), a parade on Sunday at noon, contests, tours of a cranberry marsh on Friday and Saturday, and of course, food with many unique cranberry treats.

To get to the festival, drive to Exit 135 off of Interstate 94, and follow the signs to the festival. If you are traveling from Tomah, the Chamber of Commerce will be operating a shuttle. For more travel information, go here.

–Liz Bosak

SCHEDULE CHANGE-The Zalapa and Steffan Labs Will Be at the Wisconsin Science Festival

The Zalapa and Steffan labs will be hosting “The Native American Cranberry Bog” event at the Wisconsin Science Festival on THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2012 (schedule change) from 10 AM until 2 PM at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. To see photos from last year’s cranberry display at the Wisconsin Science Festival, go here. For general information about the Wisconsin Science Festival, go here. To find a description of the events by location, go here.

–Liz Bosak

Wisconsin Cranberries in the News

CBS News reports that the United States Department of Agriculture is projecting a 2% increase in this year’s cranberry harvest.

WOAW North Central Wisconsin, an ABC affiliate, covered the recent Summer Field Day hosted by the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association. To see the video clip, go here.

For the latest Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association news release, go here.

–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!