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Characterization and manipulation of fruit susceptibility to Drosophila suzukii

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Drosophila suzukii (Matsumura) is an economic pest of small fruits and cherries that attacks intact ripening fruits. Host susceptibility may be influenced by characteristics such as flesh firmness, penetration force of the skin, total soluble solids (TSS, also known as °Brix), and pH. Improved knowledge of factors affecting fruit susceptibility is needed for developing thresholds and risk prediction models for IPM. A combination of laboratory and field studies was conducted to develop prediction and potential management tools. First, a direct bioassay was used to calculate the probability of oviposition in a given fruit based on various characteristics as determined across laboratory and field trials in Oregon and North Carolina, US. When multiple characteristics were evaluated simultaneously, oviposition probability consistently increased as penetration force decreased and pH increased. Oviposition probability sometimes increased as TSS increased. Second, raspberries and blueberries in unsprayed fields had substantially lower infestation in ripening fruit compared to ripe fruit. There was no or minimal infestation in green fruit. Third, given that skin penetration force influences oviposition, practices used to improve fruit quality were examined in laboratory no-choice cages for potential reduction of oviposition. Blueberry fruit sprayed with calcium silicate in the field had greater penetration force and firmness and reduced number of eggs laid by D. suzukii compared to untreated fruit. Other calcium-based treatments increased Ca content and firmness of fruit relative to untreated fruit. Timing of insecticide spray for D. suzukii might be delayed until fruit become susceptible.

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We are grateful to Austin Cuenca, Christina Fieland, Jesse Mindolovich, Danielle Selleck, and Jeff Wong for assistance with the studies. We thank Dave Bryla and Chad Finn for use of the small fruit plots, and two anonymous growers. Funding was provided by the Northwest Center for Small Fruit Research, USDA SCRI Grant 2010-51181-21167, and USDA CRIS 5358-22000-037-00D.

Author contribution statement

JL, HB, and VW conceived and designed research. DB, DD, KS, JL, BS, and DD conducted experiments. JL and JW analyzed data. All authors contributed to writing the paper with JL as the lead.

Author information

Correspondence to Jana C. Lee.

Additional information

Communicated by A. Biondi.

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Lee, J.C., Dalton, D.T., Swoboda-Bhattarai, K.A. et al. Characterization and manipulation of fruit susceptibility to Drosophila suzukii . J Pest Sci 89, 771–780 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10340-015-0692-9

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  • Brix
  • Firmness
  • Fruit preference
  • pH
  • Spotted wing drosophila