Lawrence Co. farmer shares secret for battling pests - WSMV Channel 4

Lawrence Co. farmer shares secret for battling pests

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HENRYVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Blueberries on the Buffalo in Henryville, TN, is right out of a movie with perfect rows of berries and flowers everywhere.

But in this little paradise is a pest that has rocked berry growers everywhere. The Asian vinegar fly lays eggs in ripe fruit.

"I can't think of anything in small fruits that's a new pest in my lifetime that's been as game-changing as this," said Dr. Frank Hale.

The state's top insect man says the only answer is to fog the blueberries once a week.

Farmer Dan Eiser says no way.

"Number one, I don't want to breathe it myself. Number two, my background was in toxicology, and all kinds of other things, too, so I know a little bit about it and chemical safety and things like that. But it wasn't just that. It's also that we've been working for a decade now to build up the native bee population," he said.

Eiser is part of the natural movement. His strongest chemical is soapy water, which he uses to trap Japanese beetles on blackberries.

He went in a very different direction: Hummingbirds. Some farmers have found that hummingbirds will eat Asian flies and protect the entire crop.

So far, Eiser has found Asian fly damage on just 10 berries. That's right, just 10 berries on his entire farm.

"We've got our little niche and our little attempt at trying to do natural control and see whether it works or not. If it works, fine. And if it doesn't, well I'm too old to worry about it," he said.

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