Michigan insect experts watched how a new fly pest caused economic losses to Western fruit growers, and they drafted a plan in their state before the pest's populations had built up.
From that came the Spotted Wing Drosophila Response Team, led by Michigan State Univeresity small fruit entomologist Rufus Isaacs, according to a news release.
Members of the team enlisted others, including growers and industry representatives, to decide how to monitor spotted wing drosophila in 2010.
A native of east Asian, spotted wing drosophila prefer fruit just nearing maturity.
This differs from common fruit flies, which favor overripe or rotting fruit.
In addition, female SWD have a serated ovipositor they use for laying eggs. The opening provides an entryway for fruit rot diseases.
During the 2010 monitoring, SWD was found in 13 of 28 counties, but not until the third week in September when harvest was mostly completed.
They widened the survey in 2011, and SWD was found in nine more Michigan counties.
Each time the pest wss found, word went out so growers could take appropriate action to protect any fruit they had.
At the same time, the team conducted trials to compare trap designs and baits, chemical control measures and timing of that control.
They also conducted outreach programs to educate growers.
“Last year, we were facing a pest that we didn’t know much about," Isaacs said in the release. "This year, growers have been learning more about it, and now know that it is another pest they will need to add to their IPM (integrated pest management) program."
The downside is the pest may make fruit production more expensive.
For more information on the spotted wing drosophila, visit www.ipm.msu.edu.