The Spotted Wing Drosophila has made an appearance in the southern Atlantic states. Hannah Burrack, Assistant Professor of Entomology, NCSU explains the concern associated with this pest:
“Our primary concern with Spotted Wing Drosophila is the fact that they preferentially feed on ripe and ripening soft-skinned fruit.”
Such as raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, peaches, plums and the like.
Burrack says the timing of feeding cycle of the Spotted Wing Drosophila is particularly worrisome:
“In addition because they’re feeding at a time of the growing cycle that we’d be interested in harvesting those crops and selling them, there’s a limited number of resources that growers can use to manage these pests. Because you can’t use many of our chemical management tools at or around harvest time, that’s some thing that the label doesn’t allow you to do.”
As to control measures, at this moment, Burrack says there’s not a lot of choices:
“So, what we’ve been looking at, and unfortunately our main control measure is chemical right now, using the few pesticides that we can use around the harvest period, that don’t result in pesticide residue on the fruit, using those materials as judiciously as we can, in addition to really good sanitation. These insects complete their life cycle on that ripe and ripening fruit, so it’s very important to harvest cleanly, remove all the fruit possible out of the field so there’s not a reservoir out there, and not leave that fruit in the field. so, if you harvest it, you have to remove it and discard it somewhere and kill those immature insects before they mature into adults.”
And in addition, there are the use of pesticides. But Burrack warns that is a short-term solution:
“On top of that, in most cases, using chemical pesticides, and there are conventional chemical pesticides, as well as organic chemical pesticides that have been used to manage Spotted Winged Drosophila. That’s not a long term solution by any stretch of the imagination. So, what that’s resulted in is a lot more pesticides being used in these systems than has occurred in the past, and that’s not sustainable.”
We’ll talk more with NCSU’s Hannah Burrack tomorrow on Today’s Topic about the Spotted Winged Drosophila.
Photo: Penn State - Pennsylvania Integrated Pest Management