Great progress has been made in the last five years in learning about spotted wing drosophila, but much more is needed, says a Washington State University entomologist.
Dr. Betsy Beers of WSU checked off a list of things that have been accomplished in the last five years of living with the pest, which is now ubiquitous in much of the nation’s fruit producing regions. A federally funded Specialty Crop Research Initiative project has led to the following knowledge:
—Phenology: learned when and where pest occurs in eastern Washington.
—Control: developed a workable, conservative approach.
—Pesticide efficacy: identified pesticides that are effective and know how long they last.
—Cherry susceptibility: learned when cherries are susceptible to damage.
—Monitoring: developed more sensitive traps and lures.
But more work is needed before growers can return to using integrated pest management in orchards that have been overrun with spotted wing drosophila, she says.
Areas that need more research include:
—Basic pest ecology (including where SWD overwinters).
—Models that predict population density.
—Effective biocontrol agents (parasitoids that have been imported from South Korea show promise but are still in quarantine).
—Better thresholds (current thresholds are too conservative).
—Improve traps so that growers can use them with confidence to make control decisions.
—Broader range of pesticides for resistance management.
—Softer and organic controls.