Year-round control methods to help growers manage spotted wing drosophila (SWD) are being developed as part of a new research programme.
Funded by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), the four-year project will develop the work from an initial study that identified future controls of SWD depend upon an integrated approach using biological and novels methods as well as cutting populations of the pest in and around crops.
Attract and kill strategies will be looked into as well as bait spray controls, using exclusion netting and repellents.
SWD has become a serious threat to UK growers, particularly soft fruit producers, since arriving in the UK from Europe in 2012. Over the last few years it has affected several crops including strawberries, raspberries and grapes.
“Spotted wing drosophila remains the most serious threat to the soft and stone fruit industry that we have encountered in my lifetime,” says grower Marion Regan of Hugh Lowe Farms.
“A concerted industry effort has gone into research since the pest was identified in 2012 and we have learned a great deal about the pest’s behaviour in the UK and the best control options currently available. It is essential however that AHDB continues to use grower levy money to extend our quest to develop new and improved control techniques.”
Growers can learn more from a AHDB factsheet containing the latest best practice information.
“This project will use the findings we have made from the initial research project which finished in March this year to develop several novel management strategies which can be integrated with traditional control methods,” says Dr Rachel McGauley, crop production systems scientist at AHDB.
“Ultimately the aim is to provide growers with a wide range of control methods which will ensure the long-term viability of soft and stone fruit production, in spite of the continuing presence of SWD.”