US prof warns berry growers of SWD

US prof warns berry growers of SWD


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Oregon State University department of horticulture Professor Dr Bernadine Strik says Australian berry growers, governments and academics should be working together to formulate a plan in case spotted win drosophila (inset) ever arrives.

Oregon State University department of horticulture Professor Dr Bernadine Strik says Australian berry growers, governments and academics should be working together to formulate a plan in case spotted win drosophila (inset) ever arrives.

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IT may not currently threaten Australian blueberry crops but growers and governments should be making preparations now for Spotted Wing Drosophila Update.

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IT may not currently threaten Australian blueberry crops but growers and governments should be making preparations now for Spotted Wing Drosophila Update.

The warning was given from Oregon State University department of horticulture Professor Dr Bernadine Strik at the International Blueberry Organisation Summit in Coffs Harbour last month.

Dr Strik said spotted wing drosophila (SWD) is devastating and requires an "all in" approach with industry parties.

She encouraged government departments to work with growers and academics to come up with a game plan to fight the pest, even before it's an issue.

"In some of the regions like where we are now (Coffs Harbour), spotted wing would be very happy," Dr Strik said.

Having a toolbox of items for control would help but may require some lateral thinking as well.

"That's the thing that limits many regions, is having enough products where we can control these pests because trapping and exclusion and baiting have not worked very well for SWD at the moment," she said.

The insect is a small fly similar in size to vinegar flies which sometimes gather around over-ripe fruit.

According to the NSW Department of Primary Industries, most drosophila flies feed on damaged over-ripe fruit.

Spotted wing drosophila attacks healthy ripening fruit as well as damaged or split fruit.

While it does prefer softer-fleshed fruit such as berries, it can also affect cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, prunes, Asian pears, table grapes and strawberries.

SWD is widely distributed in temperate and subtropical Asia but also has restricted distribution in India and Pakistan, Hawaii, North America, Central and South America.

It has also spread to the European countries of Italy, Spain and France.

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