Association for Butterflies has begun issuing a “Disease Prevention Seal” to anyone who takes and passes our “Disease Prevention in Lepidoptera” course. This course is held annually in February and taught by Edith Smith of Shady Oak Butterfly Farm in FL. The seal is good for 3 years. Even so, many farmers take the course annually to stay updated with any and all new disease and disease prevention information shared annually by pathologists through the course.
Students learn how to recognize and prevent disease in butterflies. The course lasts four weeks and is the most intense course taught by a butterfly farmer specifically for butterfly farmers and hobbyists.
Why is a disease prevention seal important, you may be wondering?
By purchasing butterflies from farmers who have the seal on their website, you can have confidence that the farmers have completed the course, practice disease prevention through good rearing practices, and know how to keep their stock clean and healthy by recognizing signs and symptoms of unhealthy stock. You are ordering from a professional who understands what to watch for and can help you feel good that you are getting healthy butterflies or caterpillars.
This is the main reason AFB offers such an intense course on an annual basis. We want to ensure that you are receiving healthy butterflies from knowledgeable, informed farmers.
Read on to find out exactly how the course works and what is learned and must be achieved in order to obtain a Disease Seal.
Week One covers:
Farm size and disease, Basic information, What is disease?, SOPs, Journaling, Breeding stock, Eggs, Larvae Signs & symptoms.
Week Two covers:
Disease transmission, Outbreak triggers, Breeding Stock, Cleaning the lab (or rearing room), Disinfecting rearing containers/sleeves, Sanitizing eggs, Sanitizing pupae, Larval food, Sanitizing food, Instant/artificial diet, Disposal of material.
Week Three covers:
NPV, Cleaning the lab, Screening for disease, Bacteria, Bt, Fungus, Nosema, Serratia, Aspergillus niger, Toxic plants, Mechanical damage.
Week Four covers:
OE – a parasite, OE – signs and symptoms, OE – lifecycle, OE – in pupae, OE -Taping for OE, OE -How Monarchs contract OE, OE – Disinfecting eggs.
This course has over 130 pages of instructional material with technical assistance and editing by Amanda Lawrence; Pathology – Mississippi State University and Dr. Leellen Solter – Associate Professional Scientist, Insect Pathology, Illinois Natural History Survey
Each week, students receive their reading material via email in the form of a pdf PowerPoint presentation. It is full of pictures and information detailing the week’s work. The students are also added to a closed Google Group to facilitate discussions and are able to ask questions about things they did not understand in the weekly material. Amanda Lawrence, Mississippi State Pathology Department, is on standby for the duration of the course to answer any questions the participants may wish to ask.
At the end of each week’s material is a quiz and at the end of the entire course there is a final exam. Only the students who successfully complete the weekly quizzes AND the final exam with 100% correct answers are awarded with the seal and a certificate of completion.