MADISON, Wis. — An invasive fruit fly has been threatening crops of Wisconsin berry growers since it first arrived in 2010. Now University of Wisconsin researchers are trying to pinpoint when and where the fruit-loving pest is most active within plants.
UW-Madison fruit crop entomologist Christelle Guédot said they began studying the movements of the bug known as spotted wing drosophila within berry plants last summer. She said they found adult flies are most active in the evening hours.
“They’re active between something like 6 and 9 p.m. is when they’re most active during the day,” she said. “Then, we’re also trying to figure out where those flies are within the crop. Are they mostly in the canopy? The center of the crop? Or are they down by the ground?”
Guédot said the research could give berry growers a better idea of when spraying insecticides is most effective. She said they’ll also look at whether temperature and humidity play a role in their distribution.
Watch for more on the spotted wing drosophila in the July issue of Nursery Management.
Photo: Hannah Burrack, North Carolina State University, Bugwood.org