Spotted Wing Drosophila Pest in Berries
The Spotted Wing Drosophila is an insect that ruins fruits such as berries. According to Karen Blaedow, the Henderson County Commercial Fruit and Vegetable Agent, “This exotic pest has already been confirmed on two commercial blackberry farms in Western NC so it is important that you are vigilant managing this insect.”
So what should home gardeners do? According to Hannah Burrack Associate Professor & Extension Specialist Dept. of Entomology NC State University, if SWD is present in your garden, the best management strategy is sanitation. Ripe fruit should be thoroughly and frequently picked. Inedible fruit should be removed from the plants, bagged, and discarded. Do not compost inedible fruit, since SWD can survive in composting and buried fruit.
Fine netting or row cover wrapped around plants is a non chemical strategy to prevent SWD infestation. Several insecticides (both organic and conventional) are effective against SWD but must be used weekly to suppress populations. Consult your local cooperative extension agent for SWD insecticide information.