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Hummingbirds protect berry crops from devastating bug

Chet’s Blueberry Farm in Portage County is just one of many around the US pestered by the Spotted Wing Drosophila that devastates the berry crops this time of year. That is why they are putting up hummingbird feeders throughout their field.

Cornell University put out a study in early July on the topic, showcasing that field with hummingbird feeders saw less Drosophila damage than those without. The reason? The birds not only eat the flies, but the infested fruit as well.

“If you have a field of blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, any of those small fruits that where you will see. Everyone has them,” Christelle Guedot a fruit crop entomologist with UW-Madison said on the Drosophila.

Other than using hummingbirds, the only thing planters can do is spray crops with pesticides every 5 to 7 days. This method is not only expensive but can hurt businesses that allow people to free pick their berries, as you have to wait 24 hours before touching a plant that has been sprayed.


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