Pest Alert For Fruit Producers

July 25, 2011

In 2008 the first detection of a new pest, spotted wing drosophila (SWD), Drosophila suzukii was found in Santa Cruz County California on strawbereries. The next year SWD were infesting cherries in California's Central Coast. Soon many other states reported finding this new pest and now Alabama has confirmed the presence of SWD as well.
Spotted wing drosophila was first discovered in Japan in the early 1900's. SWD is a small insect in the "vinegar" fly (Drosophilidae) family. Most of SWD's relatives are attracted to overripe, damaged, and rotting fruit or vegetables. Unlike it's cousins SWD will lay eggs on maturing fruit where larvae feeding will cause damage. Fruit of concern in Alabama are strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, muscadines and grapes, and perhaps plums, peaches, and apples.
Dr. Elina Coneva, Extension Fruit Specialist, has traps out for monitoring and we will have traps out at our location as well.
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Male SWD, Photo from Pest Alert, USDA Plant Protection and Quarantine, March 2010

High temperatures and dry conditions in many areas has advanced harvest and many summer fruit crops have ended or nearing the end depending on their location in Alabama. Peach harvest in central Alabama is moving rapidly. Many varieties have been maturing together and not spaced out typical of their ripening dates. This is also being seen in north Alabama.

The higher volume of peaches coming in together might leave a gap for some growers until some of the early August fruit start coming in. Fruit are maturing quickly on the trees and softening of the fruit has been an issue.

Stink Bug/Leaffooted Bugs
Adult numbers of SB/LFB began to increase by the end of last week. Some nymphs are being seen this week. Monitor orchards to determine if insecticide control in needed. Fruit near harvest have limited products that can be used pre-harvest. A good fungicide program will help to reduce the spread of brown rot from SB/LFB feeding even if an insecticide cannot be used.
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Stink bugs collected from trap crop plots 7/22/11, Photo: Robert Boozer

Posted by boozert at July 25, 2011 09:40 AM