Drummond speaks with BDN about fungus that could affect Maine’s blueberries

The Bangor Daily News interviewed Frank Drummond, an insect ecology professor at the University of Maine, about a type of fungus with zombie-like qualities that could threaten the state’s wild blueberry crop. Drummond said although the mummy berry disease is probably the most serious blueberry disease, it’s not well understood. Drummond and other UMaine researchers are collecting samples of blueberry plants and pollinators in Washington County to learn more about the disease. Their findings will be added to a computer simulation model that plays out different infection scenarios and hopefully help producers avoid getting devastated by mummy berry, according to the article. “We’re trying to learn more about the ecology and the behavior of the bees so we can give the farmers a little bit more informed information about mummy berry,” Drummond said. “Knowledge, when you’re trying to manage something, is very powerful,” he added. Elissa Ballman, a research associate with the School of Biology and Ecology, and Jade Christensen, a senior wildlife ecology major, also spoke with the BDN about the research. “I really enjoy it, despite the blackflies,” Christensen said of her first research job. “It’s fun because it’s so relevant. You know the relevance as you are doing the work.” Maine Public also carried the BDN article.