Spotted wing drosophila is an invasive insect pest that is here to stay. We know it is present from Windsor to Ottawa and at least as far north as New Liskeard. Management of this difficult pest requires a plan.
Plan to improve spray coverage: Make sure that each spray provides the best possible control by ensuring verythorough coverage of the crop. SWD flies are weak fliers and hang out around the inside and lower canopy. Prune your crop for better spray penetration and better SWD control.
Plan your insecticide program: Insecticides which are fully registered for spotted wing drosophila have been included in OMAFRA Publication 360, Guide to Fruit Production, 2016-2017. We expect that additional products will be registered through the emergency use registration process. Check the OMAFRA website (Ontario.ca\spottedwing) and ONFruit.wordpress.com for a full listing of products registered in 2016. Weekly insecticides are required when flies are active and ripe fruit is present. It is important to choose products from different groups rather than use one product or group of products repeatedly.
Plan to harvest routinely: When SWD is active, crops should be harvested every 2-3 days and all ripe fruit removed with each pass. Unmarketable fruit should be removed from the field at the same time as fruit is harvested.
Plan a continuous cold chain after harvest: Harvested fruit should be cooled quickly and stay cold throughout the various stages of marketing. Temperatures below 2°C (35°F) will slow the development of any SWD eggs and larvae in the fruit. A high percentage of eggs and larvae will be killed in cold storage.
Plan to do salt-water tests: We think that monitoring fruit for early signs of SWD infestation is easier and more efficient than trapping. Information on how to do this test is posted at Ontario.ca\spottedwing. Collect your supplies and make the salt water solution up ahead of time, so the task can be a simple routine during harvest.
Plan to say informed: The Ontario Berry Growers Association and OMAFRA will co-ordinate a regional monitoring program for SWD in 2016. Traps will be set at 20-25 sites across Ontario and maintained with the help of volunteers and OMAFRA students. Updates on SWD activity will be posted weekly at Ontario.ca\spottedwing and ONFruit.wordpress.com. Check these information sources often for updates on SWD activity in your area.