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Cornell Fruit Resources

Resources for Commercial Growers


Spotted Wing Drosophila

Genus species: Drosophila suzukii

Growers: Talk to your local CCE agent about monitoring SWD. If adult SWD are present on your farm, manage them aggressively. Aggressive management entails:

1. Excellent sanitation will reduce SWD populations. Fruit should be harvested frequently and completely to prevent the buildup of ripe and over-ripe fruit. Unmarketable fruit should be removed from the field and either frozen, “baked” in clear plastic bags placed in the sun, or disposed of in bags off-site. This will kill larvae, remove them from your crop, and prevent them from emerging as adults.

2. Canopy and water management will make the environment less favorable. Prune to maintain an open canopy, increase sunlight and reduce humidity. This will make plantings less attractive to SWD and will improve spray coverage. Repair leaking drip lines and avoid overhead irrigation when possible. Allow the ground and mulch surface to dry before irrigating.

3. Insecticide sprays will kill SWD adults and thereby reduce egg laying: Insecticide treatments should begin when either regional monitoring alerts about the first SWD trap catch or when highly susceptible fruit crops begin to ripen. Treatments should be applied at least every seven days and repeated in the event of rain. Choose the most effective insecticides with pre harvest intervals that work for your picking schedule. Rotate insecticides according to their modes of action.

Quick reference guides:

Check the Cornell Guidelines for the latest list of approved pesticides. Special needs labels are being sought for NY berries. Always read and follow the pesticide label instructions.

4. Regular fruit sampling: At least 100 fruit per block per harvest should be observed for infestation. Talk to your local CCE agent about a monitoring program. Fruit can be inspected for evidence of larval feeding. Small holes in berries where the eggs were laid may leak juice when the berry is gently squeezed; this is especially diagnostic on blueberry. Infested red raspberry fruit may leave a red juice stain on the berry receptacle when the fruit is picked. Fruit with small indents or bruises where the berry surface appears to have flattened or deflated may be damaged. A salt floatation method, immersing fruit in a solution of 1 Tbsp. (14.8 cc) table salt per 1 cup (236.6 ml) water, may cause larvae to float to surface. At least 100 fruit per block per harvest should be observed for infestation. Suggested methods were adapted for NY growers in Guidelines for Checking Fruit for SWD Larvae in the Field (pdf).

5. Cool berries immediately: Chilling berries immediately after harvest to 32o – 33o F will slow or stop the development of larvae and eggs in the fruit. U-Pick customers should be encouraged to follow this strategy to improve fruit quality at home.

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