Egg laying deterrents for spotted wing drosophila

Female spotted wing drosophila

Spotted wing drosophila (SWD, Drosophila suzukii) is an invasive pest which is commercially damaging to the soft and stone fruit industries globally.

In collaboration with researchers at the Natural Resources Institute (NRI) and industrial partners Berry Garden Growers, NIAB East Malling are leading this BBSRC-IPA grant-funded project to protect fruit crops from SWD.

The three-year research project is investigating the signal produced by native Drosophila species that deters SWD from laying eggs.

The project builds on previous research at NIAB which shows that SWD avoid laying eggs around fruits or on food media previously exposed to the common fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. Laboratory experiments are performed to identify the source of signals responsible for this egg laying avoidance by SWD.

Different life stages of Drosophila melanogaster (adults, larvae, or eggs) have been assessed as the potential source of the egg laying deterrent signal. The chemical nature of the egg laying deterrent signal is being explored by collaboration with the chemical ecology group at the NRI.

The knowledge gained will be used to optimise integrated pest management strategies to control SWD and to reduce reliance on insecticides.

Full project title

Exploitation of interspecific signals to deter oviposition by spotted-wing drosophila


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This project has been made possible by working with industry and is a collaboration between NIAB, Natural Resources Institute (Chemical Ecology group), Berry Gardens Growers and Dr Herman Wijnen from the University of Southampton.

Project duration

April 2019-June 2022

Previous relevant publications

Shaw, B., Brain, P., Wijnen, H., Fountain, M. T. (2018). Reducing Drosophila suzukii emergence through interspecies competition

Harris, A., Shaw, B. (2014). First record of Drosophila suzukii (Matsumura) (Diptera: Drosophilidae) in Great Britain. Dipterists’ Digest 21


Project lead Dr Michelle Fountain and Dr Bethan Shaw

Postdoc researcher: Dr Trisna Tungadi