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Ash Sial

About Ash Sial

Dr. Ash Sial is Associate Professor in Department of Entomology at the University of Georgia. He has had extensive training in agricultural entomology from various institutions. He earned his Ph.D. in Entomology from Washington State University where he worked with apple growers to develop sustainable IPM programs for major pests of tree fruits. After graduation, he accepted a Post-Doctoral Research Scientist position at University of California, Berkeley and worked with winegrape growers to develop sustainable IPM programs aimed at managing exotic and emerging arthropod pests such as vine mealybug, and the diseases transmitted by mealybugs such as grapevine leafroll disease. He then joined Cornell University to investigate various aspects of biology and ecology of an invasive insect pest – spotted wing drosophila, which has recently emerged as a major threat to fruit production in the United States. Currently, he serves as the blueberry entomologist and IPM Coordinator for Georgia. At the University of Georgia, the goals of his research program are to investigate biology and ecology of major arthropod pests of blueberries in order to develop sustainable IPM programs, and disseminate that information to all stakeholders including commercial blueberry producers in a timely and convenient manner. He has published numerous peer-reviewed papers, delivered research and Extension presentations including invited guest lectures and a keynote address. He has also served professional societies including Entomological Society of America (ESA) in a leadership role at the regional and national levels. He has been recognized for excellence in research productivity and professional leadership at the regional and national level with several prestigious awards including the John Henry Comstock Award.

Postharvest Keeping Quality of Southern Highbush, Rabbiteye, and Northern Highbush Blueberry Cultivars in Cold Storage

Part 1: Fruit Firmness Authors: Rion T. Mooneyham, Savithri U. Nambeesan, and Rachel A. Itle  This article is the first of a series from my master’s research.  Overall, this work is the examination and comparison of fruit quality traits in southern highbush (SHB), rabbiteye (RE), and northern highbush (NHB) cultivars in…
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Fly Infestations in Blueberries

Over the past few days, I have received several calls from Extension Agents about prevalence of soft fruit, vertical fruit split, small berry size and some reports of worms in the fruit. Although it is difficult to determine the exact reasons, the unusual weather patterns we have experienced this year including warm winters, low night-temperatures lingering late in the season, and excessive rain events over the past few weeks may have contributed to these issues. A number rain events during the harvest above all increase the risk of fly infestations in blueberries. Of course, spotted-wing drosophila (SWD) is our Suspect No. 1 and the most common fly pest that can infest berries. Although not as common, blueberry maggot (BBM), is another fly which is a quarantine pest and can infest berries during similar weather conditions. It is also quite possible that both SWD and BBM infestations may be present in the same field. In that case, correct identification is critical before implementing management strategies.

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Spotted-wing drosophila identification, monitoring, and management in Georgia blueberries

The spotted-wing drosophila (SWD), Drosophila suzukii (Matsumura) (Diptera: Drosophilidae) is an invasive and economically important pest of many soft-skinned fruits such as blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, cherries, and other. Since its first detection in California in 2008, SWD spread rapidly across the United States. It was first found in Georgia in 2010 and since then this small vinegar fly has impacted the $255 million Georgia blueberry industry with crop losses of up to 20% annually. Detailed information on identification, monitoring, and management of SWD is included in this article.

 

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A Webinar on Organic Management of Spotted-Wing Drosophila

Date: 

March 4, 2020 (Wednesday) at 2:00-3:30pm Eastern

 

Title:

Organic Management of Spotted-Wing Drosophila

 

Description:

Spotted-wing drosophila (SWD) has emerged as a devastating pest of small and stone fruits worldwide. Losses due to SWD can be as high as 100% and have been valued more than $718 million annually in the U.S.  The zero tolerance for SWD in fresh fruit has led conventional growers to make preventative insecticide applications when fruit are ripe.  Organic management of SWD is even more challenging due to the low number of effective OMRI-approved materials and limited understanding on the biology of SWD to translate into non-chemical management tactics.  Our multi-regional team was funded by USDA-NIFA through OREI Award No. 2018-51300-28434 to develop, evaluate and implement systems-based organic management programs for SWD.  This webinar will provide a comprehensive update on organic management of spotted-wing drosophila. It will summarize findings of the research conducted by our project team on organically approved strategies including behavioral, cultural, biological, and chemical tactics to manage SWD. To attend this webinar, Please register at: https://eorganic.org/node/33992

 

 

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