- Fruits: berries (blueberries)
- Pest Management: integrated pest management
Owing to its warm climate, Florida has a unique, early-season blueberry market valued over $78 million. Spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii Matsumura), a global, invasive pest of small, soft-skinned fruits, has become a significant pest of Florida’s blueberries over the last decade by rendering ripe fruit unmarketable. Currently heavy pesticide use is the only feasible and effective control for this pest. The high cost of pesticides and the development of resistance threaten to collapse Florida’s niche blueberry market, and excessive pesticide use endangers farm workers and non-target organisms like pollinators, beneficial insects, fish and wildlife.
This project’s aim is two-fold: to thoroughly map seasonal timing and patterns of SWD migration from woodlands into blueberry fields; and to evaluate the efficacy of SPLAT (Specialized Pheromone and Lure Application Technology), a new attract-and-kill product containing a SWD-specific pheromone attractant and a low-risk, naturally derived pesticide, to control SWD populations. Understanding spatio-temporal patterns of SWD migration and utilization of attract-and-kill technology can facilitate more targeted pesticide application, reducing the amount of pesticide used, reducing costs for farmers, limiting pesticide exposure, and improving environmental quality.
Project objectives from proposal:
Objective 1: Monitor season-long adult SWD population density and map migration phenology along a woodland-to-cropland gradient on two Florida blueberry farms (one conventional, one certified organic).
Objective 2: Compare adult and larval SWD population density in fields treated with SPLAT to untreated fields on two Florida blueberry farms (one conventional, one certified organic).
Objective 3: Monitor and identify athropod natural enemies in fields treated with SPLAT and compare to untreated fields on two Florida blueberry farms (one conventional, one certified organic).
Objective 4: Compare adult SWD mortality and larval infestation using choice and no-choice cage experiments between SPLAT-treated and untreated blueberry plants.