- Fruits: berries (blueberries)
- Pest Management: biological control, integrated pest management
Drosophila suzukii (Matsumura) (Diptera: Drosophilidae) commonly recognized as spotted-wing drosophila (SWD) is an economic pest of fruits all over the world. Originally from Southeast Asia, it was first detected in the fruits and berries of California in 2008 and is currently reported in all the states of the USA. Unlike the other Drosophila flies which generally lay eggs in rotten fruits, D. suzukii females lay eggs in intact and freshly ripen fruits. This immediately reduces the marketability of the fruit. This also poses a challenge in the insecticide application because the SWD infestation coincides with the harvest period. Hence, focusing on using biological control and other sustainable insect management tactics will help to reduce such reliance on insecticides. SWD, being an introduced pest in the USA, many of its natural enemies such as predators and parasitoids are unexplored. A baseline survey focusing on the exploration and collection of the native parasitoids of D. suzukii will allow us to identify, quantify, and compare their potential for controlling SWD. We will survey the blueberry orchards in Southeastern Georgia as these regions are the fruit-growing pocket regions and have a high incidence of SWD and potentially also have a high incidence of related parasitoids. The collected parasitoids will be reared in the lab and their efficiency in parasitizing the D. suzukii will be tested. The outcomes of this study can be used to protect the fruit industries through the biocontrol of SWD on a large scale and long term.
Project objectives from proposal:
The specific objective of this project is to:
- To explore, collect and identify the parasitoids of SWD and quantify their abundance, diversity, and distribution concerning temporal and the phenological variations of the blueberry production system in Georgia.
- To evaluate the parasitoids’ biology and life history by rearing them and testing for their efficiency to parasitize the SWD.