Fight spotted wing fruit fly with field sanitation, pesticides

11/16/2010 02:00:00 AM

Since it is a native of Asia, it prefers cooler climates. Based on monitoring conducted by David Dean of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services last year, fly populations peak from December through February and remain high through May and June.

The peak populations coincide with the state's strawberry and blueberry seasons.

Identifying fruit in which eggs have been laid is difficult, Price says.

In strawberries, for example, the ovipositing site may resemble a slightly darkish spot as if a finger squeezed it slightly.

Hang traps to monitor flies

In Oregon, researchers have developed easy-to-make traps using cider vinegar as an attractant.

Price says he has found those aren't as effective if fly populations are low.

So he's developed a trap made from a 2-liter plastic soda bottle.

Drill two pencil-eraser sized holes in the bottle that allow the flies to enter.

The bait, which is poured into the bottle, is a mixture of one-half packet of baker's yeast that can be purchased at a grocery store, 12 ounces of water, 4 tablespoons of sugar and two drops of a surfactant, such as Tween.

Hang the bottle in or near host plants, and check at least weekly.

The mixture, which ferments, will attract the flies.

Keep 'em clean

At the forefront of spotted wing management will be field sanitation, or as Price describes it, managing the reproductive environment.

Instead of throwing culled fruit in the row middles, crews should put them in separate buckets or containers that are removed from the field and disposed of properly.

Conducting control measures on an area-wide basis also will be important, he says.

If you're removing rotting fruit from your fields but your neighbors aren't, theirs will attract and produce more flies that may migrate into yours.

This also is important at the end of the strawberry season when growers may stop fly treatments.

The pests could build up in those fields and move into neighboring blueberry fields.

Chemical fly control

A handful of products are registered for the pest, Price says.

GF-120, from Dow AgroScience, is a mixture of a bait attractant and spinosad.

The flies are attracted to the bait and die after eating it. The effectiveness wears off in about five days, Price says.

Another option is Nu-Lure and an adulticide.

Because the baits can spot strawberries, Price says he's working on a treatment system that does not involve applying it to strawberry plants.



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