Blueberry producers and backyard fruit growers can learn about the newest threats to their crops at a workshop Jan. 17.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service is hosting the Emerging Insect and Disease Workshop from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Forrest County Extension office in Hattiesburg.

Experts from MSU’s Extension Service, the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, the University of Florida and the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service will address diseases, such as bacterial scorch, and insects, such as the invasive spotted wing drosophila that threaten the state’s blueberry and fruit crops. The specialists will share monitoring tips, spray technologies and integrated pest management techniques.

“The primary focus of the workshop is to educate growers on the potential impacts of the spotted wing drosophila,” said Eric Stafne, MSU Extension fruit crops specialist. “2012 was the first year that we detected significant problems from this pest, especially in blueberries and blackberries. Leaky fruit, fruit rots and premature fruit drop were all problems associated with the spotted wing drosophila. This workshop will give all participants a better understanding of this pest and others related to fruit crops in Mississippi.”

For more information, contact Stafne at (601) 403-8939 or e-mail estafne@ext.msstate.edu