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Project Summaries


USDA SARE: Refining an attracticidal sphere management system for spotted wing drosophila in small fruit production

Recruited Northeastern growers will incorporate attracticidal spheres as part of their spotted wing drosophila (SWD) management programs in small fruit to demonstrate the benefits in a comprehensive analysis.  Ripening small fruit experience intensifying pressure from SWD, and in response, growers' pest management practices have changed substantially severely disrupting IPM programs or halting small fruit production altogether. Growers continuing to produce small fruit, protect them with frequent insecticide applications, and endure increased production costs plus secondary pest outbreaks.  Additionally, because bramble crops can have both ripening fruit and blossoms on the same plant simultaneously, increased threats to native and managed pollinators exist. To improve sustainability of small fruit production, we propose to collaborate with growers by deploying an attracticidal sphere system that will effectively attract SWD to the spherical surface, elicit feeding, and kill them with toxicant-laced sucrose, thereby reducing the number of weekly insecticide applications.  Flies attracted to spheres will be effectively removed from the foraging population, delaying the onset of insecticide use and/or prolonging the interval between insecticide sprays.  Collaborating growers will be integrated into the project team and receive direct support for IPM decisions.  Broader educational initiatives for the grower community will be conducted by the project team via real-time web-based updates, workshops, and field days at grower farms and research facilities.

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USDA CPPM: Managing An Invasive Drosophilid Species In Agriculture Using Innovative Behavioral Manipulation Strategies

Non-native species are classified as “invasive” based on the economic and ecological damage they inflict. The spotted wing drosophila (SWD), Drosophila suzukii, is an invasive Asian insect pest accidently introduced into the continental United States in 2008. Since then, it has been detected in a total of 41 states from California to Maine as well as Canada, Mexico, Europe, and South America. SWD attacks a wide variety of fruit including small fruit such as caneberries, blueberries, and strawberries.  Presently, growers rely on a single management strategy – aggressive insecticide applications. Development of innovative behavioral manipulation strategies offers a promising and sustainable means to manage SWD. The overall goal is to develop an attract-and-kill approach, i.e., attracticidal spheres, and combine this technology with repellents in push-pull strategies in whole-system behavior management programs for the invasive SWD as alternatives to full cover insecticide sprays. Specifically, we plan to: identify and evaluate the most effective attractants and repellents for SWD, investigate and optimize behavior-based approaches to manage SWD under laboratory and field conditions, and disseminate information to stakeholders. Our approach will reduce the likelihood of insecticide resistance development, reduce negative impacts on biological control agents to restore integrated pest management to the affected crops, and provide tools that greatly reduce or eliminate the need for repeated insecticide applications. The results will reduce risks and increase sustainability and profitability of an industry currently jeopardized by this invasive species.


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USDA SCRI: Sustainable Strategies to Manage Spotted Wing Drosophila in United States Fruit Crops

Spotted wing drosophila (SWD, Drosophila suzukii) is a devastating pest of soft skinned fruits that has rapidly expanded its global range in the last five years to include the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Europe. SWD has a wide host range, and the crops most significantly affected include blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and cherries. National crop loss due to SWD in the United States could reach $718 million annually, and costs due directly related to management practices are estimated to vary between $129 and 172 million (6 to 8% of farmgate value), annually. These impacts place access to high value, high nutrient berry and stone fruit crops at risk because: 1) Infestation renders fruit unmarketable fresh, 2) Unsustainable, insecticide-intense programs are the only available means of SWD management, and 3) Increases in labor and input costs associated with SWD management are significantly impacting farm viability. This proposal addresses all five ARFI Food Security Priorities by maintaining access to at risk fruit crops, enhancing environmental sustainability of SWD management practices, integrating natural biological controls, sustaining farm economic viability, and enhancing farmer and societal quality of life. The goals of our project are to develop spotted wing drosophila management programs that are economically and environmentally sustainable, to implement these programs, to evaluate their effects, and to identify promising innovations that will enable future enhancements of SWD management.