Agricultural entomology: Midge of small fruits

Agricultural entomology: Midge of small fruits

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Classification and host plants

Class: Insects
Order: Diptera
Suborder: Brachiceri
Family: Drosophilidi
Genus: Drosophila
Species: D. suzukii Matsumura

Host plants: Blueberry, Raspberry, Blackberry, Strawberry, Vine.

Drosophila Suzuki originates from Southeast Asia, probably from China, and is characterized by the presence of large red eyes. In the United States it was found in 2008 while as regards Europe, the insect was recently found in Spain where, however, it does not appear to have caused damage to crops. Even the Phytosanitary Service of the Tuscany Region reported some time ago (2009) the discovery of the phytophagous on its territory. In 2009, attacks were also reported in Trentino, in particular in Primiero, in the Cembra valley, on the hill north of Trento and in Valsugana. And in recent years, some red vines have also started to be affected, with problems of rotting and microbial infections.

Biological cycle

The adult measures about three millimeters in length: it has large red eyes and a honey-brown body, with dark bands on the dorsal part of the abdominal segments. The female, being equipped with a strongly serrated ovipositor, affects the epidermis of the ripe fruits still on the plant (raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, strawberry) by inserting the egg into the pulp. After 2-3 days, a depressed and soft area is formed in the area affected by the lacerations, the fruit rapidly undergoes decay.

Drosophila suzukii eggs, larva and pupa (photo

Male and female of Drosophila suzukii (B. Gerdeman, WSU Mt. Vernon

Drosophila suzukii (photo Edmund Mach Foundation - Agricultural Institute of San Michele allAdige)

Drosophila suzukii on blackberry infructescence (photo Edmund Mach Foundation - Agricultural Institute of San Michele allAdige)

Prevention and struggle

The fight against D. suzukii is particularly difficult due to the peculiarity of this fly to lay eggs inside the fruits during ripening. The law enforcement actions are directed mainly against adults and aim to lower their population and contain ovipospositions. The use of food traps is intended to monitor the presence of adults and verify the consistency of flights but not to identify the most suitable moment for the intervention. It is necessary to combine some agronomic practices with chemical control.

Agronomic practices
• Plant management: Pruning that tends to facilitate the penetration of light inside the foliage, with the aim of uniforming the fruit ripening for a faster and more concentrated harvest
• Harvest planning: if possible anticipate the harvest period when the fruits turn red, before physiological ripening.
• Collection and disposal of fruit not suitable for trade

Chemical fight
Maintain constant vegetation coverage by alternating active substances in order not to exceed the maximum permitted residue limits and not to incur resistance phenomena.

Also in the vineyards it is necessary to raise the guard and adopt strategies of struggle aimed at minimizing the damage, based on capture and agronomic practices, such as the removal of fermentable residues from the vineyard. The new gnat has in fact been present for too little time to have natural antagonists, but it is important for producers to put into practice good practices in the management of the vineyard: monitoring (through the use of traps, there are vinegar-based ones on the market and sugar), the correct management of the rows (correct peeling to aerate the bunches, their thinning out and the timely elimination of rot), as an extreme ratio the phytosanitary treatment.

Video: Fruit Growers Gains with AEA Regenerative Agriculture Systems (July 2022).


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