Growing pest problem a worry for Valley farmers - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Growing pest problem a worry for Valley farmers

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SALEM, Ohio -

Insects have always been an issue for farmers, but in the Mahoning and Shenango Valleys, the insect problem is now growing out of control. 

"We lost about 4 weeks of blackberries last year," says David Huffman of Huffman Fruit Farms. 

David Huffman is just one area farmer that has noticed the impact. The 100 acres of land his family farms on grows an assortment of fruits and vegetables.

Huffman says they typically spray insecticides every two weeks, but it wasn't enough last year.  Dale Woolf of Woolf farms says he's noticed the heaviest impact on his blackberries, and raspberries. 

"It travels in shipping containers and people, when they're getting food at the grocery, often times it's shipped there. The more you can buy local, and buy from farms in Ohio the better it is for our fruit farms," says Woolf. 

The insect, known as SWD, is a vinegar fly similar to a fruit fly. 

"This is a problem across the nation, and throughout Ohio. It doesn't matter if you're in the southwest, southeast, northeast, northwest, or central Ohio. This is a problem for anyone that grows small fruits, peaches, or grapes," adds Jim Jasinski an Integrated Pest Management Coordinator with the Ohio State University Extension.

Local farms will be using these traps on their farms. They'll be hanging them from fruit trees and use a solution at the bottom of the trap to bait and lure the flies to go right inside this trap, and not effect their crops.

Area farmers agree that, between minimal spraying and using traps, it should be enough to help slow down a quickly growing crop killer. 

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