PUTNAM COUNTY — According to The Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, “Thrips [have] been causing increasing problems with processing and fresh market cabbage in northern Ohio for the past few years.” The damage can be extensive and the school has been producing multi-year research reports on how best to combat infestations since at least 2009. The most recently available 2015 report focused on a series of four insecticide treatments and notes that infestations often follow wheat harvests. Apparently, the pest does well when wheat is used as a cover crop, and poorly when rye is used as a cover crop.

Unfortunately for Putnam County residents, this story has nothing to do with cabbage, wheat, rye or farm management practices. This story is about strawberries. On June 5, Suter’s Produce posted the following on the frontpage of their website, “In over 40 years of growing strawberries, we have never been hit as hard as this year.”

The statement continues, “During what appeared to be a FANTASTIC bloom time there was a tiny pest, known as a thrip, sucking the life out of the small strawberry blooms. The ramifications of this little intruder would not be apparent until several weeks after bloom. At the time that the berries should have been gaining size, they instead, had the life sucked out of them by a countless number of tiny thrips.”

The post goes on to explain that Suter’s will not be offering any strawberries to its customers this year. The entire post may viewed on their website:

This will not mark the end of Suter’s producing strawberries. As noted on the website, “As we are never ones to give up hope for the future, we have recently planted another new strawberry patch that will be ready for us to pick next year. This new patch has two of our favorite varieties in it, and we are very happy with how they are growing.”

Other crops often offered by Sutter’s are not affected by the thrip infestation. The sweet corn crop is reportedly off to a great start. The Sentinel has attempted to contact Suter’s by phone, but has been unable to reach them as of yet. This article will likely be updated with further details in the near future.