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A forum for growing rare fruits, edibles and Permaculture with a focus on tropicals.

Re: Devastated by Drosophila suzukii

Postby sautesmom » Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:01 pm

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I just found this put out by Oregon Agriculture Dept.--it offers some strategies!

http://www.ipmnet.org/tim/pesticide_ed/ ... ophila.pdf
Carla in Sac

Re: Devastated by Drosophila suzukii

Postby DavidLJ48 » Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:45 pm

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Tried to access the Oregon site, old computer, wouldn't handled, never loaded. I remember we had them also in Eastern Oregon, but we never had them out of town, up the hill aways.

I wonder about Bt, dipel, that is used on tomatoes and cole crops. I find it often works on any worm, if the eggs are laid on the surface, and they little guys have to hatch and develop before they eat their way inside, they are vulnerable to the Bt bacteria.

I kept them off of cole and tomato plants, and also maggot and etc worms off of my apples, by spraying once a month or more after they were 1/2 inch in size.

Sunset zone 14, USDA zone 9b

Re: Devastated by Drosophila suzukii

Postby Merbert » Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:45 pm

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Axel, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. And yes, losing a lifestyle which, in this case, is so heavily focused upon growing and consuming a wide variety of delicious fruits, is a genuine tragedy.

As some have suggested, perhaps you will achieve adequate success by first just removing the cane fruits and possibly the Capulin cherries. Perhaps removal of this identified vector will be sufficient to prevent another outbreak.

You have been our fruit-growing inspiration here in the Cloudforest Cafe, and it saddens us to hear of such a devestation.

Re: Devastated by Drosophila suzukii

Postby Axel » Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:08 am

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Thanks for all the words of encouragement. Doing some online research on this pest revealed a lot of very interesting data. Apparently, Santa Cruz County turns out to be ground zero in 2008, and that is about the time I noticed capulin cherry damage in our orchard. I thought it was bird damage, but the holes were too small for that. Who knows where the pest came from, could have been Hawaii, Japan or Southeast Asia.

For those curious, this is the first entomologist blog post for this pest ever posted in 2008: First Ground Zero Post.



Looking at this post, it becomes clear that raspberries are a primary vector and this explains the proliferation of this pest in my orchard. That second picture illustrates what most of my raspberries look like this year. The advice from this initial ground zero post verifies my theory about the cane fruit being a major vector:

It is advisable not to leave strawberries and caneberries to continue to fruit without harvest over the winter, as it is suspected that the D. suzukii will continue to breed and multiply in these areas.

Of course, in my orchard, we can't eat all the raspberries and blackberries, a number of them end up rotting on the canes, hence why they've become such an extensive vector.

Apparently this pest is now in the entire US, I even found berry orchards in North Carolina that have complete crop losses this year and last year. See for example Qualla Berry Farm:

Once again this year we are dealing with the same pest which destroyed most of our fall crop last year, the Spotted Wing Drosophila. The fruit flies have again created a major loss of our raspberry crop and we have been unable to offer U-Pick this fall 2012.

The more I read about this, the more it might be worthwhile to put in some extra effort to keep the berries as prices are going to go through the roof. I was thinking of setting up a scaffolding around my berries to keep the fly out. The netting would have to be hermetically sealed, i.e. bottom would have to be buried, but it would be worth it if it gets too expensive to buy raspberries. It would keep the birds out and it would allow me to keep up with the fruit.

Here is an abstract about ground zero:

Frank Zalom and Mark Bolda
Dept. of Entomology, Univ. of California, Davis, CA 95616
UCCE, Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties, 1432 Freedom Blvd. Watsonville, CA, 95076

An unusual outbreak of a Drosophila that was infesting marketable fruit was noticed in the Monterey Bay Area of California during Fall 2008 and resulted in phenomenal rates of fruit infestation in both strawberries and caneberries, well over 50% in some cases. This insect was later identified as the spotted wing drosophila, Drosophila suzukii. The fly has now been reported from virtually all coastal California counties and a number of central valley counties as well. Descriptions of damage to caneberries and strawberries, and results of monitoring and control studies in the Monterey Bay area that have been ongoing since Fall 2008 are presented.

It's clear that this fruit fly is going to really change the landscape for rare fruit growers. The CRFG style garden i have created with all sorts of fruits mixed in that ripen over a long period of time with lots of overlap in between harvest has created an ideal breeding ground for this pest.

This is how the landscape in my garden will change:

1) ALL Berries need to be consolidated under a netted scaffolding or removed entirely.

2) All capulin cherries except the ones I plan on netting and eating need to be removed.

3) Stone fruits will get consolidated into two rows and will get netted. All other stone fruits scattered throughout will get axed or dug up and given away.

4) I will have to hermetically seal mulberries with netting. This means serious pruning of lower branches so I can seal the netting properly, and most likely cut the trees down in size.

I am going to keep the apples and pears with the hopes that trapping with GF-120 will be enough to keep the population down. I will also trap with sticky red spheres, as this fly has most definitely shown a preference for raspberry colored fruit.

I've definitely lost the battle this year, but new strategies next year should make a big difference.

I've seen Gene Lester's orchard, and he has no berries and few stone fruits. His orchard doesn't get wide spread infestation, so this should make a big difference.
Tropical gardening in both Kaua'i windward Sunset H2/USDA 12b and Fallbrook Sunset 23/USDA 10b.

Re: Devastated by Drosophila suzukii

Postby George » Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:55 am

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Sorry to hear about your SWD trouble. The changes you suggest will require a lot of work. It is going to be work for all of us to reduce the impact of this pest. It may be that San Diego will be less affected because we are a little drier but who knows.
Mulberries grow so quickly it will take some creativity to figure out how to net those beasts.
My stone fruit has always been the greatest work for the least reward. Want to keep trying though. The most prolific of my blackberries has a very long season with large, beautiful and painfully insipid fruit. It will be yanked.

Re: Devastated by Drosophila suzukii

Postby Ashok » Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:00 pm

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Yeah, I'm also sorry to hear about how badly you've been hit. Have you spoken with the UCSC agroecology folks about this? You are really just a stone's throw away from the Farm/Chadwick Garden, so they must be dealing with comparable infestation-pressure.

According to the authorities, D. suzukii reproduction is halted or greatly inhibited when temperatures rise to a certain point, so the pest was predicted to be a much greater threat in cool, relatively humid coastal locations like yours.

Based on your report relative to my experiences with the bug, this pattern seems to be holding true. I agree that this insect is a game-changer, but it has not been nearly so devastating in my inland coastal-valley location.

In my garden, where they arrived perhaps two seasons ago, they attack cherries and capulin cherries without mercy. I used to be keen on capulins as edible landscape specimen trees, but, given that massive intervention of one kind or another may be necessary to harvest a crop, I am losing my enthusiasm. I may be willing to go to the trouble of completely enclosing European sweet cherry trees to get some fruit, but I'm not sure that I want to go to that much trouble with capulins.

They absolutely do infest raspberries in my location, BUT, if the berries are harvested quickly enough, they seem to be fine. I wonder whether the ripening process is more rapid in a warmer climate -- they may not have time to damage berries that go from green to red in a few days. (It is also possible that they are laying eggs that simply don't have time to mature into visible, wriggling larvae -- an unsettling thought, but I have just decided that if I can't detect any infestation, there is nothing there! Life is happier this way.)

Similarly, I have never found them in mulberries, which also turn color, soften, and ripen very, very fast for me.

And I have never gotten them in stone fruit, let alone apples. Apparently they become hyper-aggressive in some coastal spots, with a corresponding population explosion. Bummer.

I would guess that they would be a much smaller threat in the Central Valley, and probably no threat at all in places like the Mojave desert region.

Re: Devastated by Drosophila suzukii

Postby CTMIAMI » Sun Oct 14, 2012 2:50 pm

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I'm sorry Alex, Seems these bugs came in from Asia.In Florida we are dealing with the Ambrosia Beetle the vector for Laurel Wilt capable of wiping out members of the Laurel family, including the avocado. It too came from Japan. With world commerce, planes and ships moving merchandise there bugs get a ride. I don't know if anything can be done................

Re: Devastated by Drosophila suzukii

Postby Axel » Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:44 pm

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Ashok, d. suzukii has been attacking mainly soft fruit, and the population explosion is a result of growing far more than I can harvest and eat, hence the need to scale back significantly. Once I scale back, I am sure the population will remain in check.

The fly is hitting the Eat coast very hard, which is much hotter in the Summer than where you are. So I doubt the heat will stop it. Based on the descriptions you are giving me, the only difference in between you and me is that you actually harvest all your fruit. I had two pluot trees in my orchard that produce horrible fruit that I didn't harvest, talk about an explosion of flies.
Tropical gardening in both Kaua'i windward Sunset H2/USDA 12b and Fallbrook Sunset 23/USDA 10b.

Re: Devastated by Drosophila suzukii

Postby Gardener777 » Thu Nov 08, 2012 11:07 am

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Location: Round Rock, TX
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Do other species of fruit fly attack raspberries outside of CA, or do suzukii show up in this state? I'm in TX and am growing Mysore variety (really more like a blackberry).


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