Developing a push-pull approach to SWD control

Developing a ‘push-pull’ approach to SWD control

Title: Innovative push-pull control of spotted wing drosophila, an invasive pest of fruit crops
Funder: Innovate UK
Industry partners: Russell IPM, Rumwood Green Farm, University of Greenwich (NRI), WB Chambers
Term: April 2023 to March 2025
Project leader: Michelle Fountain

Despite researching and developing improved management techniques, soft and stone fruit growers are still heavily reliant upon the use of conventional spray products to maintain effective control of spotted wing drosophila (SWD). NIAB scientists at East Malling, collaborating with those at The University of Greenwich have previously identified chemical repellents that cause a significant reduction in SWD egg laying in strawberry, whilst also demonstrating how attractant traps can be utilised in semi-natural habitats over the winter to reduce the subsequent numbers of SWD in adjacent crops in the spring. There is potential to combine the use of repellents with attractant traps to develop a ‘push-pull’ approach to controlling SWD.

The project

This work will evaluate such a ‘push-pull’ approach using a combination of repellents and traps to control populations of SWD in commercial strawberry and raspberry crops. The traps and lures that have been developed for the ‘pull’ component of the system will be optimised, whilst innovative long-lasting, biodegradable repellent formulations will be developed, thereby reducing the environmental impact of this control method. The system will be compatible with IPM programmes and if successful, will reduce industry reliance on spray control products.