The effect of border sprays and between‐row soil tillage on Drosophila suzukii in organic blackberry production
Abstract Drosophila suzukii (Matsumura) is a major pest of soft‐skinned fruit. Females have an enlarged serrated ovipositor that is used to cut into ripening fruit and lay their eggs. Larvae develop inside infested fruit, rendering fruit unmarketable. Previous research has indicated that D. suzukii can move from adjacent woodlands into cultivated fields. Furthermore, multiple generations can occur in a single season as a result of fallen, infested fruit in the fields. Our hypothesis was that border sprays and soil tillage of field aisles can reduce D. suzukii presence in commercial blackberry fields ( Rubus spp.). To test our hypothesis, we conducted split‐plot field trials in organic blackberry fields for 3 and 4 weeks in 2014 and 2015, respectively. Treatments were border sprays (whole plot, pyrethrins + azadirachtin) and tillage (subplot, ~15 cm). We evaluated adult D. suzukii in both years and berry infestation and natural enemies in 2015 only. We found that plots with border treatments had fewer D. suzukii (larvae and adults) than plots without border sprays. Tilling the soil between rows of blackberry bushes did not have a significant effect on adult captures or larval infestation of fruit. Natural enemies were unaffected by the border spray and tillage treatments. Our results confirmed our hypothesis that border sprays can be utilized to reduce populations of D. suzukii in organic blackberry fields, while maintaining populations of natural enemies. However, the effect of soil tillage is unclear and requires further investigation. Additional research should investigate the timing of border sprays and their effect on high infestations of D. suzukii as well as quantify fruit fall and depth of burial to reduce D. suzukii emergence using soil tillage.
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