UV-blocking plastics for sustainable control of Spotted Wing Drosophila in ever-bearing raspberries in high tunnels

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2017: $14,705.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2018
Grant Recipient: The Pennsylvania State University
Region: Northeast
State: Pennsylvania
Graduate Student:
Faculty Advisor:

Information Products


  • Fruits: berries (brambles)


  • Crop Production: high tunnels or hoop houses, season extension
  • Education and Training: extension
  • Pest Management: cultural control, integrated pest management

    Proposal abstract:

    The arrival of the invasive fruit fly Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) remarkably changed the landscape of Northeastern berry production. Raspberry growers in particular have experienced extensive fruit infestations, with frequent spraying remaining the main method of SWD control. This is costly both economically and environmentally. Meanwhile, consumer demand for sustainably produced local fruit is high, calling for the development of systems that manage SWD with less pesticide usage. Prior to the arrival of SWD, raspberry growers in the Northeast were adopting high tunnels mainly to extend the growing season and increase yields. The life of plastics used to cover these tunnels is typically 4 years because they contain additives that block UV light, which otherwise causes the plastics to become brittle much faster. Greenhouse studies have shown reduced insect pressure in greenhouses covered with UV-blocking plastics. As part of an ongoing multi-state SCRI project, data collected at Penn State in 2016 showed that SWD adult numbers were significantly reduced in tunnels covered with certain types of plastics (one experimental, and two commercially available) that block UV light, or a portion of the UV light spectrum. Funds are being requested to take the work one step further beyond that funded by the SCRI project, using a novel push-pull system with UV-blocking plastics as the “push” and a visual attractant as the “pull”. If successful, SWD adult populations and larval infestation of fruit would be decreased without pesticide usage, indicating the possibility of a new way of managing SWD.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Objective 1. To determine if SWD numbers in high tunnels are affected by plastics with different light transmittance characteristics. Funding to complete this objective is contained in the ongoing SCRI project, so additional funding is not needed or requested in this proposal’s budget. Results in 2016 will be verified in 2017.

    Objective 2. To determine if SWD attraction to visual stimuli or oviposition behavior is affected by lack of UV light. Work to reach this objective will be completed by the start date of this project, and thus is not included in the requested budget. This information will be valuable, generating novel information about SWD that will affect subsequent experiments.

    Objective 3. To evaluate the potential of UV blocking plastics combined with attracticidal red spheres as a push-pull system for decreasing or eliminating SWD infestation in fall-bearing raspberries. Funding for this objective is requested in the budget.

    Objective 4. To evaluate decreased harvest interval as an approach to reducing or eliminating SWD infestation, in conjunction with standard raspberry production, and with the push-pull system. Funding for this objective is requested in the budget.

    Objective 5. To develop non-insecticidal SWD control strategies and through extension programs introduce these strategies to small growers to promote economic and environmental sustainability. This objective is addressed in the budget.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.