Daytime Variations in Activity Patterns of Drosophila suzukii among Berry Crops as a Means for Determining Optimal Control Timing
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Fruit crop production represents an important industry around the world. Millions of dollars in fruit yields have been lost due to the damage caused by the increased infestation of Drosophila suzukii, more commonly known as Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD). SWD is a fruit fly pest that targets ripening soft-skinned berry crops. Female SWD are equipped with a distinct serrated ovipositor allowing them to lay eggs in ripening fruit resulting in significant damage to crops before they are harvested. Current strategies to protect fruit crop infestation by this insect are dominated by insecticide application (Van Timmeren and Issacs 2013). To avoid insecticide overuse and expense, it is imperative for growers to know peak timings of SWD abundance and activity patterns to reveal ideal timing(s) for spraying. Observations of SWD counts, abiotic factors, and behavioral activity levels were recorded during designated time periods of the day to determine any peak timings of abundance, peak proportions of various fly behaviors, and the effect of environmental factors on abundance. This study supports the idea of distinct time period peaks in over all abundance of SWD. SWD behaviors were generally seen in the same proportions throughout the day. Although certain environmental conditions had an effect on SWD abundance, more data is needed to come to a more definite conclusion. The peak timings of SWD abundance were generally found to be in the daytime intervals of 6-8AMand, most notably, 6-8 PM. This suggests that insecticide spraying should be conducted during these high activity time periods. To further determine the effectiveness of spraying during these high-abundance time periods, follow-up research will be conducted in 2016 by executing insecticide spraying trials during these optimal time periods.