Experts recommend ways to deal with spotted wing drosophila

In Growing Produce

It’s just a fruit fly, for crying out loud. As kids we’d see their like hovering over the family fruit bowl and shoo them away without a thought. But spotted wing drosophila (SWD), Drosophila suzukii, is so much more than that.

Though small like their nonthreatening drosophila relatives — adults are only about 1/16 to 1/8 inch long — it’s the black spot towards the tip of each male’s wing, which earns them the spotted wing moniker.

The other names they are called by fed-up growers — the names that can’t be printed in a respectable magazine — come from an attribute of the females. It is a very prominent, saw-like ovipositor for laying eggs in fruit.

It’s that devastating characteristic that has garnered the SWD a reputation in virtually all of the country’s fruit production areas in just six seasons. It was first found in 2008 damaging fruit in California, and has since spread throughout the U.S.

SWD was originally best known for infesting ripening cherries — though fruit doesn’t have to be over-ripe, green under-ripe fruit don’t do anything for it — but has since become most notorious for attacking berries, especially raspberry, blackberry, blueberry and strawberry crops.

While diverse geographically, SWD was found to have some common characteristics by American Fruit Grower® and Western Fruit Grower™ magazines in a survey of university entomologists from around the country. Here’s a quick rundown.

Read the rest of the story.

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