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Source: joint organizations news release

San Diego - Agragene, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on suppressing invasive crop pests using biological insect control technology, announced today that it has expanded its Sentinel program to help growers monitor spotted wing drosophila (SWD) populations year-round by trapping in natural border habitats surrounding agricultural fields.

Agragene is assisting growers in observing where SWD take refuge, feed and breed while tracking how their relative populations shift over time. Agragene has hired Peerbolt Crop Management (PCM) to provide this service to all interested growers. The Agragene Regional SWD Report is published in the Small Fruit Update newsletter provided by the Northwest Berry Foundation on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Growers can sign-up for free at Growers - Agragene to obtain comprehensive SWD reports including insights from Agragene's entomologists and the PCM team.

The announcement comes as many fruit growers reported their toughest season yet combatting the hardy and damaging SWD, which arrived in the U.S. in 2008. SWD feed on ripening fruit causing extensive economic injury. Agragene's technologies target SWD with a biocontrol platform to help growers monitor and more naturally manage the pest.

"Given the explosion of this fly population, we are pleased with the strong demand and positive feedback from growers on our initial trap reports throughout Oregon's Northern Willamette Valley," said Clyde Shores, Agragene Chief Business Officer. "We now service more areas in central and southern Oregon and will expand to additional regions in Oregon, Washington and California to assist as many growers as possible. "

"We've been partnering with fruit growers to manage SWD since it showed up in the Pacific Northwest in 2009 and have developed a comprehensive data collection and reporting system. Now, with Agragene's expertise and resources supporting this greatly expanded monitoring program we can give growers the field-by-field information they need to make more precise, effective and data-driven decisions about SWD control," said Tom Peerbolt, Co-founder of PCM and Director at The Northwest Berry Foundation.

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