New Study Finds Simple Solution To Monitoring Spotted Wing Drosophila

Photo by Oscar Liburd, UF/IFAS
Photo by Oscar Liburd, UF/IFAS

Using a yeast-sugar-water mixture, berry growers can easily keep tabs on a pest that causes millions in damage each year in the U.S., a new University of Florida study shows.
Farmers can conduct a test to determine if the spotted wing drosophila is in their field – and if so, how prevalent. They punch holes near the upper rim of a covered plastic cup and pour in a yeast-sugar-water mix to about 1 inch high in the cup.

The liquid mixture lures the pest, and growers add a drop of dishwashing liquid to thicken the bait and keep the bugs from escaping. Growers check the traps once a week to see how many bugs are in them. Knowing the pest population is the first step to controlling the bug, also known as the Drosophila suzukii.
The female insect cuts a slit in the fruit’s skin and lays eggs there. The larvae consume strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and other thin-skinned fruit, said Oscar Liburd, a UF entomology and nematology professor.
“The drosophila suzukii is the biggest threat to berry production in the United States,” said Liburd, UF/IFAS.

Scientists first saw the pest in the U.S. in California in 2008, and damage was estimated at $500 million that year. The pest caused an estimated $10 million to $12 million to Florida blueberries in 2012, Liburd said.
Monitoring leads to a more profitable yield, he said.
“If you know the bugs are in your field, you can control them better with reduced-risk pest controls, which leads to more berries,” Liburd said.

Lindsy Iglesias, an entomology doctoral student, led the study as part of her master’s thesis. She worked with Liburd and postdoctoral fellow Teresia Nyoike to determine if adding a yellow visual stimulus to the plastic cups would lure and trap more bugs. Yellow attracts many insects because it resembles foliage, Liburd said.

In one experiment during 2012 and 2013, researchers compared plastic cups with and without a yellow visual stimulus and found that its absence had no effect on the number of spotted wing drosophila caught in the cups.
While doing the research, they also found that cups with yeast sugar water caught more spotted wing drosophila than those with apple cider vinegar, Liburd said. On the other hand, the yeast-sugar-water lure stinks, and is cloudy, making it tougher to see the bugs, especially after one week, he said.
Still, UF/IFAS experts encourage growers to use the yeast-sugar-water mix because it catches the bugs quickly, giving growers pest information faster, he said.
UF/IFAS scientists recommend two traps per acre. Most Florida blueberry farms are 5 to 10 acres, although some consist of 500 or more.

In August 2009, spotted wing drosophila was discovered in the northeast corner of Hillsborough County. As of June 2012 it had spread to several other states and 28 Florida counties. The highest numbers in Florida were recorded in Hillsborough, Citrus, Alachua, and Marion counties. Florida experienced its worst infestation in 2012 and 2013 when the bug invaded every blueberry-producing county except one, Liburd said.
Currently, growers are controlling the pest with chemical sprays.

The UF/IFAS study is published online by the Journal of Economic Entomology and will be in the August print edition.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Berries Stories
Closeup of a managed bee hive next to a blueberry field
Berries
September 22, 2016
It Behooves Blueberry Growers To Protect Pollinators
Placing priority on bee care best practices will ensure sweet success for your crop. Read More
Where does the water run? Follow the blue dye as seen during this demonstration in a plastic mulched system.
Photo courtesy of UF/IFAS
Berries
September 20, 2016
How To Track Irrigation: Keep Your Eye On The Blue Dye
Time-tested, color-appropriate method for following water movement in plasticulture veggie crops could prove fruitful in blueberries, too. Read More
Clusters of 'Patrecia' blueberries
Berries
September 17, 2016
Florida Blueberry Growers Keen On Two New Cultivars
Low-chill, machine-harvest capabilities define these southern highbush selections. Read More
Closeup of the Archer strawberry from Cornell University
Berries
September 13, 2016
New Peach-Sized Strawberry Big On Flavor
Latest variety from Cornell University geared for growers seeking success in local food sector. Read More
baby-blues-blueberry-feature
Berries
September 13, 2016
New Berry Releases Hit Marks For High Yields, Mechanical Harvest
ARS varieties offer growers two new alternatives to industry standards. Read More
Photo credit: Wikimedia commons
Berries
September 2, 2016
Strawberry Grower Fined For Demanding Kickbacks From H-2A Workers
Operator reportedly demanded rent, payments for transportation and expenses incurred bringing workers to U.S. Read More
Bob McConnell blueberry grower
Berries
September 1, 2016
Pick-Your-Own Pointers From Expert Blueberry Grower
30-year veteran Bob McConnell shares tips on variety selection, production practices, and finding your market. Read More
The Latest
Berries
September 24, 2016
Time Is Now For Florida Blueberry Grower…
Coming off a challenging season, industry players must continue to adapt to curveballs thrown by Mother Nature and market forces. Read More
Berries
September 23, 2016
What U.S. Consumers Think About Florida …
For growers, the good news is that shoppers like what you are serving up. But more can be done to whet appetites. Read More
Berries
September 22, 2016
Investors Clamoring For Automated Strawb…
Naturipe joins growing list of backers in the labor-saving vision and mission of ag-tech startup. Read More
Berries
September 22, 2016
It Behooves Blueberry Growers To Protect…
Placing priority on bee care best practices will ensure sweet success for your crop. Read More
Berries
September 20, 2016
How To Track Irrigation: Keep Your Eye O…
Time-tested, color-appropriate method for following water movement in plasticulture veggie crops could prove fruitful in blueberries, too. Read More
Berries
September 17, 2016
Florida Blueberry Growers Keen On Two Ne…
Low-chill, machine-harvest capabilities define these southern highbush selections. Read More
Berries
September 13, 2016
New Peach-Sized Strawberry Big On Flavor
Latest variety from Cornell University geared for growers seeking success in local food sector. Read More
Berries
September 13, 2016
New Berry Releases Hit Marks For High Yi…
ARS varieties offer growers two new alternatives to industry standards. Read More
Berries
September 2, 2016
Strawberry Grower Fined For Demanding Ki…
Operator reportedly demanded rent, payments for transportation and expenses incurred bringing workers to U.S. Read More
Berries
September 1, 2016
Pick-Your-Own Pointers From Expert Blueb…
30-year veteran Bob McConnell shares tips on variety selection, production practices, and finding your market. Read More
Berries
August 31, 2016
Tips To Prune For Big Blueberries
Leaving the proper number of canes on your highbush berry plant should ensure your consumers will leave your farm with large berries – and come back for more. Read More
Berries
August 29, 2016
New Source For High And Low Tunnel Berry…
TunnelBerries project offers resources for growers, Extension agents, and those interested in berry production under cover. Read More
Berries
August 24, 2016
Researchers Unravel Genetic Ancestry Of …
A genetic analysis conducted by New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station researchers aims to improve modern cultivation efforts of strawberry growers. Read More
Berries
August 16, 2016
Wisconsin Is The Top Cranberry Producer …
State tops country, international production for the 22nd year. Read More
Berries
August 4, 2016
Genetics Key To Keeping Strawberry Growe…
Savings to the tune of $30 million a year would come with a solution to angular leaf spot. Read More
Berries
July 27, 2016
Bird Damage Plagues Most Fruit Growers
There’s no silver bullet, but here are several techniques to annoy and deter birds. Read More
Berries
July 26, 2016
Wish Farms Commits $100K To Food Safety …
Central Florida berry operation will donate $20,000 annually over the next five years to fund various research projects backed by the Center for Produce Safety. Read More
Berries
July 12, 2016
Automated Strawberry Picker: One Step Cl…
Company receives U.S. Patent approval for continuous picking wheel on the machine. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]