Posts Tagged ‘Spotted Wing Drosophila’

Drummond, Yarborough Talk to Media about Blueberry Growing, Harvest

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Frank Drummond, entomologist at the University of Maine, and David Yarborough, wild blueberry specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with BangorMetro about growing blueberries in Maine. Drummond focused on increasing native pollinators and Yarborough spoke about the history of growing blueberries and Maine’s crop. Yarborough also spoke with the Bangor Daily News about this year’s crop for the article “Above-average blueberry harvest expected after heavy rains.” He talked about the large size of the blueberries, as well as growers’ concern of the spotted wing drosophila, a fruit fly that damages berries.

Yarborough Talks to AP about Harmful New Fruit Fly

Monday, August 5th, 2013

David Yarborough, blueberry specialist for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with the Associated Press about a new fruit fly posing a threat to the state’s blueberry crop. Yarborough said while growers are anxious about the flies, they’re doing what they can to monitor and control them. The Washington Post, Kennebec Journal and were among news organizations to carry the report.

Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) August 4, 2013

Monday, August 5th, 2013

As of last week, trap captures of spotted wing drosophila continue to occur throughout the state. There have only been a few fields at this point where multiple flies are being caught. Most fields either have had NO trap captures yet OR just one or two SWD. We have identified SWD larvae in fresh fruit from Coastal Maine, but fruit still appear to be free of larvae in the Downeast region. I suspect that SWD larvae might be appearing in more fields over the next few weeks. At this date many larvae have been observed in fruit, but they have almost all been larvae of the blueberry fly (BMF).  The abundance of this pest is extremely high this year and can be very damaging. Please continue to monitor and protect your fruit if necessary from this pest.

Both larvae of SWD and BMF are a translucent white color. The BMF larvae are pointed in the front and very thick and blunt at the rear and so they resemble more of a cigarette that has one end twisted to a point. The SWD larvae are pointed at BOTH the front and the rear.

I will let everyone know when I start finding or hear about others finding SWD larvae Downeast.

NOTE:  SWD updates will only be made when we have trap captures. Please refer any questions, comments or concerns to Frank Drummond, 1-800-897-0757 or 581-2989, or to Dave Yarborough, 1-800-897-0757 or 581-2923,

Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) July 30, 2013

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

 Trap captures of spotted wing drosophila continue to occur throughout the state. All blueberry growing regions have reports of SWD males and many fields have experienced multiple captures, indicating that reproduction is occurring and fruit infestation is taking place. But, let me be clear NOT ALL fields have captured SWD yet. On the other hand, we have started to find SWD larvae in fields, both in the coastal area and Downeast. Infestation levels are not high yet, but this confirms that SWD is now beginning to reproduce in blueberry fields. THEREFORE, It would be prudent to protect your crop as soon as possible if you have captured male SWD in your field. Keep the crop protected until harvest. See SWD fact sheet on the wild blueberry web page for more information on effective insecticides.

It is also sobering and informative that last week, Michigan found a sudden rise in captures of SWD adults in traps deployed in highbush blueberry fields. They are recommending growers to take action if they have been trapping SWD and for those not monitoring to start to do so.

Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) July 25, 2013

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

More SWD have been captured in the Downeast growing area on the blueberry barrens. Male SWD were caught and confirmed in a few locations. At the University of Maine Blueberry Hill Farm SWD have been caught in more locations throughout the fields there. So far our fruit sampling (several fields sampled yesterday) has not revealed any SWD larvae in the fruit, but the recent capture of male SWD suggests that reproduction of this pest in blueberry fruit may have commenced. If you are capturing male SWD consider protecting the crop until harvest.

Blueberry fruit fly (BFF) appears to be in high densities in many locations throughout the state. Do not forget about monitoring and managing for this significant pest. Some fields have noticeable BFF attack in their fields demonstrated by considerable shrunken berries.    

Again, as stated earlier in the week, we recommend that you continue to be vigilant and monitor for BOTH SWD and BFF. Be prepared to protect your crop if SWD trap captures occur. Again, hopefully a significant amount of harvest can occur prior to SWD captures in some fields.

Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) July 22, 2013

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

More SWD have been captured in the coastal growing area. Nine flies were captured this past week in a Warren field and continued single SWD detections have been found in Union and Lincolnville. However, despite the number of fields where this pest has been captured in traps there are still SEVERAL fields in this area that have not detected SWD. The first capture Downeast was in Marshfield last week, but as of today no other occurrences have been reported. It APPEARS that recent applications of insecticide to control blueberry maggot fly might be negatively affecting SWD as fields that we had found SWD in earlier and that were sprayed have had few if any subsequent captures. This is just a guess, because it could also be that the hot weather we had last week was detrimental to SWD as well. It has been reported that SWD does not tolerate extremely high temperatures.

Last week we collected fruit samples from coastal and central Maine and inspected the fruit for SWD larvae infestation using the “salt water crush test”. The fields sampled were fields that have had SWD reported in them for at least a week. Thus far, we have not found any SWD larvae in fruit, but we will sample more fields this week.

At this point we recommend that you continue to be vigilant and monitor. Be prepared to protect your crop if SWD trap captures occur. Again, hopefully a significant amount of harvest can occur prior to SWD captures in many fields.

NOTE: SWD updates will only be made when we have trap captures.

Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) July 8, 2013

Monday, July 8th, 2013

It is no wonder with this HOT weather over the 4th and following weekend a few more SWD captures have surfaced since my update on July 2nd.  However, last week’s capture of a male SWD in Cherryfield was a misdiagnosis. When we looked at it, two spots were found on each wing and so we have NOT had a recent SWD capture Downeast yet. But, in the south…male SWD were captured in Dresden and Whitefield on July 3rd in the southern coastal blueberry-growing region. On Saturday, July 6th, I found a male SWD in a Winterport blueberry field. I have deployed 20 traps in this field and only ONE trap had an SWD. I also have 25 traps deployed in a Stockton Springs field, but as of yet no male SWD have been identified and I have not had a chance to go through all the traps for microscopic detection of females yet.  I am guessing that from the low number of captures that SWD has not completed its first generation, producing new adults.

An important and timely question…What shall I do if I detect male SWD in traps in my field at this time of year (early July)?  I think the thing to first state is that if you have only a slight proportion of ripe (blue) berries (< 0.5 % or so) then don’t panic. At this point I believe ONLY the overwintererd SWD are in our fields as of yet and SWD needs RIPE fruit to lay eggs in. However, they will attack these fruit and start to build in numbers over the next several weeks. So, there is a trade-off between: 1) starting to protect your crop too early with insecticides and having to spray many times prior to harvest and 2) incurring damage and fruit loss. Each grower has to strategize to solve this dilemma of whether to take action or not.

ONE WAY of finding a solution to this problem is to determine at what percent of ripe fruit in your field is the trigger for action.  As an example…If you typically get 2,500 lbs / acre on a given field and guessing on past prices you can estimate what you will get for your crop…then you can calculate how much loss in revenue you will incur if SWD takes 1, 2, 5, 7%, etc., of your crop and you can determine what the economic threshold would be…or in other words the cost of crop loss that will equal the cost of controlling SWD (application + insecticide cost). So, in our example if you normally get $0.75 / lb, then 1, 2, 5, and 7% infestation EARLY in the season will cost you…25, 50, 125, or 175 lbs / acre or in dollars…$18.75, $37.50, $93.75, or $131.25…in this case if it costs you $100/acre to treat the crop then somewhere between 5 – 6% crop loss would be your decision making trigger to treat, meaning 5 – 6% of your crop being ripe.

The calculation above is ONLY a guide. Growers are different in their aversion to risk and price that they receive and so it is not possible to give a simple one answer that fits all.  BUT, this being said another thing you might want to consider prior to an insecticide application is to take a known sample of ripe fruit from your field (small collections from several locations throughout field). Place a quart of your fruit in a gallon zip-lock baggie and mix a salt solution of 1/4 cup salt to 4 cups water.  Lightly crush the berries in a bag and add the salt solution.  Allow the fruit to sink to the bottom of the bag and wait approximately 10-15 min.  Several baggies can be easily set up if you want to sample more than 1 quart of fruit. If the fruit is infested, the larvae should float in the solution for you to visually inspect (See my SWD factsheet showing what larvae look like).  NOW you have a better idea of crop loss that exists at the time of sampling.

The last aspect of EARLY SWD management that I want to bring to your attention comes from my inspection of blueberry fruit fly traps this past Sunday in the field. I was at a field in Stockton Springs and the threshold (10 cumulative flies / trap) was already surpassed at 13 flies / trap. So, if this grower is thinking about a perimeter spray (a location where we also tend to capture lots of SWD)…then an insecticide that is ALSO effective against SWD would be a logical choice. An insecticide that would NOT a choice is imidacloprid (ADMIRETM, PROVADOTM, MONTANATM, PREYTM, etc.) since efficacy against SWD is low. Reduction of SWD adult numbers as a result of a perimeter blueberry fruit fly application might buy you some more time before you need to manage for SWD or maybe even allow you to harvest early making an insecticide treatment specifically for SWD not necessary. However, at this point we do not know how this might play out and so it is no guarantee that spraying for blueberry fruit fly will have any effect on SWD.

*A NOTE…for organic growers the above points are also relevant. Insecticide options are EntrustTM or PyganicTM. The capture of SWD may also be a trigger for deploying exclusion netting over your crop or for deploying a grid of bait cups (every 25 ft) throughout exceptionally high yield areas of your field as a trapping out tactic.      

NOTE: SWD updates will only be made when we have trap captures.

Spotted Wing Drosophila Update for July 3, 2013

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Dave Yarborough and Frank Drummond will be sending out SWD updates 1-2 times a week over the growing season. Frank and Judy Collins will be monitoring 18 field sites from Stockton Springs up to Jonesboro. Dr. Jim Dill and Dr. Dave Handley (UMaine Cooperative Extension) are monitoring traps in mid-coast to southern Maine in strawberry, highbush blueberry, and raspberry fields. In addition, we will be in contact with several growers from the coastal region. Therefore, we should have a good monitoring network this year!

July 2 update: Many growers have traps out now. I have not verified ANY SWD captures at this point. Very early in the season (May) an individual SWD was captured Downeast, but this was part of the overwintered population still in hibernation. I have verified at “look-alikes” to the SWD in southern, coastal, and Downeast Maine, but again as I stated NO CONFIRMED SWD HAS BEEN CAPTURED IN MAINE AS OF TODAY. This morning I received an email from a grower in Cherryfield that stated they caught a male SWD in their strawberry field. I will be checking this out to verify the capture shortly and let you know next week. 

In the meantime, don’t forget about the blueberry larvae (BFF) threat. Get your traps out for them also. BFF was trapped last in Waldoboro, Maine last week. No need to panic as they have just started emerging in the coastal area AND adult females need 7-10 days of warm weather before they are capable of laying eggs in to RIPE fruit (which is only starting to appear in noticeable proportions in the coastal region.  

NOTE: SWD updates will only be made when we have trap captures.

URGENT: Spotted Wing Drosophila Update

Monday, August 13th, 2012
By Frank Drummond
The state of Maine has secured a Section 18 “Crisis Exemption” registration for a higher rate of Malathion 8Fl that is more effective for the SWD than the lower rate on the existing label. This higher rate is in EFFECT on August 13 and only lasts for 15 days (August 13-28). If you decide to use this material at the higher rate very strict reporting is required by the US EPA. The forms for reporting can be acquired from the Maine Board of Pesticide Control.
Last week (Aug 10) spotted wing drosophila (SWD) showed up in a few more blueberry fields. We have found adult male flies in traps in TWO fields in Franklin (Hancock Co.), one field in Surrey, two fields in Ellsworth, one field in Harrington, and one field in Jonesboro. I (Frank Drummond) have also confirmed trapping of adult flies from several fields in Deblois (Washington Co.). Thirty wild blueberry fields are being monitored by the Maine Dept. of Agriculture and the University of Maine and many additional fields are being monitored by growers and so far the picture is that SWD appears very spotty across our blueberry growing areas. But, please be vigilant and continue to trap for SWD in fields that you have not harvested yet.
What to do if you do find flies? Well, there are several approaches, NONE of which are based upon experimental evidence from wild blueberry research in Maine. 
Conservative and most safe approach: as soon as 1 fly is trapped and confirmed apply a suitable insecticide at an interval that reflects the average persistance of kill (residual in table) of the material (see list of insecticides below).
Liberal approach: Coninue to trap after you catch your first fly and when fly numbers START to increase from 1 fly in a trap to 3, 5, 10, etc., then consider applying an insecticide.
Whatever strategy you pick, consider the following before applying an insecticide:
  1. If  you sell to a processor, check with them to see what material can be used.
  2. Make sure that the PHI for the material that you choose is in accordance with your harvest schedule.
  3. A PLANNED harvest 1-2 days after a confirmed trap capture may allow you to harvest the crop withpout making an application if you feel that you can get the berries out of the field immediately.

Currently Available Products for SWD Control

Spotted Wing Drosophila Alert

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Dear Blueberry Growers,

Many of you have started harvesting. The spotted wing drosophila has been found strawberry and raspberry fields in southern Maine so far, especially in the vicinity of Warren, where one trap in a strawberry field contained 98 SWD flies.

We are trapping 30 blueberry fields and found 1 SWD fly in a trap in a Franklin blueberry field, in the forest edge.

So, please be vigilant and keep trapping for this potentially devastating pest. I will provide an update when we trap more flies.

Frank Drummond