July First Friday with Florida First Detector

Recap of July First Friday with Florida First Detector

In July’s First Friday with Florida First Detector, we talked about invasive caterpillars that feed on vegetable crops. Florida’s agriculture industry is home to a wide variety of high value vegetable production. The state is a top producer in the U.S. of tomatoes, bell peppers, cabbage and many other delicious veggies. The profitability of these farms is at risk from the introduction of invasive pests including caterpillars. Some of the important species that we are on the lookout for in Florida are Old World bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera), tomato leafminer (Phthorimaea absoluta), and false codling moth (Thaumatotibia leucotreta).

The Old World Bollworm is a major pest of vegetables. It is native to the eastern hemisphere and found throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. It has since spread to South America and the Caribbean where it causes major issues in vegetable production. The Old World bollworm was intercepted in a trap in Florida in 2015, but no additional moths have been found since then.

Tomato leafminer is a serious of tomatoes and other solanaceous crops. The larvae can defoliate the plants leading to lower yields. They can also feed inside the fruit making it susceptible to other pathogens and unmarketable. This pest is native to South America but has spread to Europe, Africa and Asia. This species is not currently found in Florida or the rest of the U.S.

False codling moth is a pest of not only vegetables but also fruits and fruit trees. The larvae feed inside the fruit with little or no external signs of damage. This leads to unmarketable fruit and sometimes premature ripening and early fruit drop. False codling moth is native to Africa and is not known to occur in the U.S. Shipments of produce that contained this moth species has been turned away at U.S. boarders on multiple occasions.

Resources on Invasive Caterpillars and More

Want to watch the recording?

What is the upcoming schedule?

We are meeting online via Zoom from 12:00PM-1:00PM on the First Friday of every month from Sept 2022-Aug 2023. Please visit this blog for registration information and the upcoming schedule. Stay tuned for more classes and dates coming up after August 2023!


Contact Dr. Morgan Pinkerton, morgan0402@ufl.edu


Visit the Florida First Detector Website


Posted: July 11, 2023

Category: AGRICULTURE, Crops, Farm Management, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Fruits & Vegetables, HOME LANDSCAPES, Horticulture, Invasive Species, Natural Resources, Pests & Disease, Pests & Disease, UF/IFAS Extension, UF/IFAS Research
Tags: Biosecurity, Early Detetction, FFD22-23, FloridaFirstDetector, Invasive Species, SeminoleCountyAg

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