Hochschule Geisenheim University Receives Funding for a Project for Biological Control of Spotted Wing Drosophila

Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture Julia Klöckner awards funding approval to Prof. Dr. Annette Reineke, project leader at Hochschule Geisenheim University. © BMEL/Photothek/Schmitz

The invasive drosophila suzukii, commonly known as spotted wing drosophila, has become a serious fruit crop pest in Germany and Europe, causing severe damage to berry fruits, cherries and (red) grapevines. So far, there are no effective biological control methods. Therefore, the research project “ParaDrosu” aims to develop an innovative strategy for sustainable and biological pest control based on specific natural antagonists.

The project aims to find strategies for the targeted use of ichneumon wasps that actively prey on, infest and thus kill the pupae of drosophila suzukii on the ground, in fruits or on plants. “At Hochschule Geisenheim University, we want to compile data on the population dynamics of ichneumon wasps, which will be used to develop information on intensities and intervals for the release of the wasps, taking into account the associated costs,” explains Prof. Dr. Annette Reineke from the Department of Crop Protection who runs Hochschule Geisenheim University’s part of the project. ParaDrosu (“Using Pupal Parasitoids for Biological Control of Drosophila suzukii in Practical Applications”) is funded with about 730,000 euros by the German Federal Ministry of Agriculture (BMEL) as part of the program to promote innovations in non-chemical plant protection methods in horticulture, and combines the expertise of two specialist departments of the Julius Kühn Institute (JKI, Institute for Biological Control Darmstadt and Institute for Plant Protection in Fruit Crops and Viticulture Dossenheim), the Geisenheim Department of Crop Protection and Katz Biotech AG, specialized in biological plant protection. A number of companies from Hesse, Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate are also part of the project to apply and test the newly developed strategies. In a video conference on April 20, 2021, the Federal Minister of Agriculture Julia Klöckner officially kicked off the project by awarding the funding approval for the “ParaDrosu Collaborative Research Project”.



© BMEL/Photothek/Schmitz
© BMEL/Photothek/Schmitz
An ichneumon wasp of the species trichopria drosophilae parasiting a pupa of drosophila suzukii. © Mirjam Hauck