Project start: 15.04.2021
Project end: 14.04.2024
Sponsor: Federal Office for Agriculture and Food
The invasive spotted wing drosophila, Drosophila suzukii, has become a main pest in stone fruit and protected berry fruit production. So far, no effective methods for biocontrol of this pest exist. On the basis of native pupal parasitoids, an innovative strategy for sustainable and biological regulation as an alternative to chemical control options will be developed. This requires the following work packages: (1) An efficient and quality-assuring mass rearing process for production of the pupal parasitoids in sufficient quantities needs to be developed. (2) The best developmental stage of the beneficial insects for release will be characterized. A formulation for their application and quality-maintaining release carriers will be developed. (3) Necessary application schedules will be elaborated. The application will be optimized by means of a model on the basis of biological data and under consideration of abiotic factors such as cultivation practices and weather conditions. (4) The effectiveness of the releases will first be tested in practical trials and, after optimization, on farms. For this purpose, it is also necessary to test the integration of the releases into the overall crop management procedures, in particular with regard to a combination with common plant protection products. Overall, the project will provide a new biocontrol management strategy based on the use of specific antagonists for regulation of spotted wing drosophila in protected berry cultivation.