Our research project will develop and deliver cultural post-harvest management tactics for fruit wastes utilized by the invasive pest, spotted wing Drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) (SWD). SWD is the number one insect pest of cherries in the NCR and is currently managed with repeated application of broad-spectrum insecticides. The waste fruit disposal methods developed will include composting and fruit crushing. Preliminary research conducted by our team demonstrates that SWD readily reproduces on waste fruits and that composting fruit wastes with animal manures, introduction of black soldier fly and/or crushing fruit wastes reduce SWD emergence by up to 100%. Project activities will evaluate these tactics at field scale, evaluate the potential of soluble nitrogen in place of animal manures, evaluate the feasibility of using BSF to compost field wastes, demonstrate the tactics to regional fruit growers and develop extension products highlighting these cultural control tactics. Our project meets all three desired outcomes for NCSARE research and education projects. Developing alternatives to costly insecticide applications and integrating cultural/sanitation pest management methods for SWD will improve farmer profitability, by reducing production costs and crop losses. Reduced reliance on broad spectrum insecticides will improve the environmental quality and natural resource base within cherry production systems by conserving biodiversity. Reduced reliance on broad spectrum insecticides and improved profitability will enhance the quality of life for farmers, farm workers and society at large by reducing insecticide exposure as well as by preventing the loss of historically important tart cherry orchards from NW Michigan.
Project objectives from proposal:
1): Determine feasibility of fruit crushing/cultivation/composting as cultural control for SWD on fruit wastes.
2): Determine the impact of soluble nitrogen fertilizers and black soldier fly on SWD reproduction in fruit wastes.
3): Develop and demonstrate optimized practices utilizing combined tactics for managing SWD populations in fruit wastes.
4): Deliver optimized practices to grower clientele
Learning Outcome: Improved understanding of how post-harvest waste management impacts SWD populations and methodology for waste disposal using in field crushing or composting.
Action Outcome: Growers will adopt post-harvest management strategies to reduce local SWD populations, reducing the need for broad spectrum pesticide applications.