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Drosophila suzukii red alert: stand prepared with Biobest

Since a couple of years, growers in Western Europe are aware of the threat of Drosophila suzukii or Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD). Monitoring programs have been ongoing, with occasional catches. Until last year, the actual damage done in the crop usually remained limited and focused in certain areas (Italy/France, Northern Spain) and certain crops (Cherries, soft fruits). Since a couple of weeks, alert code red applies. Due to the mild winter, Drosophila has been caught earlier and in higher numbers this season. Early cherry crops suffered substantial damage. With the cold summer, population densities remain high. This means all soft fruits in Western Europe are now under threat. From Italy to Benelux, from UK to Switzerland, it is time for growers to take action. Biobest offers the right tools to up your monitoring efforts. The company has worked on its Droso traps and Dros’attract for several years. These proven tools will help you keep the upper hand. Gianluca Savini, Technical Director from cooperative Sant’Orsola in Italy’s Trentino region shares his positive experience and good advice.

“We see higher levels of Drosophila suzukii in 2014 than ever before”, says Gianluca. “Without proper action, the pest is now at a level where it causes serious economic damage to the crop. We’ve put in place a three-step strategy. Our first line of defense is a full line of Droso traps around the perimeter of the crop, positioned every two meters. Their trapping efficiency is very high and hence we will know for sure when the enemy is arriving. Also, it means that many Drosophila’s looking for our crop will actually be trapped before ever getting to it. Secondly, we place a Droso trap in the middle of the crop. Once Drosophila has gotten through the trap line positioned at the crop perimeter and is detected in the crop itself, we further step up our vigilance level. When the trap in the crop indicates the presence of SWD adults, we go for grid distribution of Droso traps inside the crop (1 trap every 12 to 16 m²) in order to follow the population increase. In this way we know when it is to resort to the use of an insecticide. We have only a very limited number of approved chemical products at our disposal, in combination with our intensive monitoring strategy we make sure to use them in the most rational and sustainable way.”

Julien Mourrut-Salesse, Sustainable Crop Management Specialist at Biobest, adds “Biobest’s toolkit against Drosophila suzukii is based on two key elements. The Droso trap is a special trap, uniquely designed to effectively catch SWD. It’s red and round in shape. Does that remind SWD of some of its favorite fruits? In any case test results demonstrate that it is a superior product to which Drosophila suzukii is easily attracted. It is made of high quality poly-propylene and can be re-used many times. The successful use of Droso trap depends on it being filled with a strong attractant. Our specially formulated Dros’attract has been extensively tested and provides excellent trapping results. It comes in a handy 5 l bag-in-box package, which allows for easy filling of the Droso traps.” The Droso trap - Dros’attract combination has been designed for optimal effectiveness: the trap allows for just the right level of evaporation of the attractant to compete effectively with the smell of the ripening fruits.

For more advice on monitoring Drosophila suzukii, contact your Biobest advisor or send an email to
Lise Verachtert (lise.verachtert@biobest.be).

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