Study sheds light on invasive fruit pest

Date posted: March 15, 2013

Spotted-wing vinegar fly on raspberry.Hannah Burrack photoN.C. State University researchers and Extension specialists have shown that the invasive spotted-wing drosophila, or vinegar fly, prefers soft, sweet fruit.

Humans aren’t the only species with a sweet tooth. N.C. State University researchers and Extension specialists have found that the invasive spotted-wing vinegar fly (Drosophila suzukii) also prefers sweet, soft fruit. Their study sheds new light on a species that has spread across the United States over the past four years and threatens to cause hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to U.S. fruit crops.

“Because we know that D. suzukii prefers softer, sweeter fruit, we can focus our research efforts into which wild fruits may serve as reservoirs for this species and help identify new crops that might be at risk,” says Dr. Hannah Burrack, an assistant professor of entomology at NC State and lead author of a paper on the research. “These findings may also be a starting point for plant breeders interested in developing new fruit varieties that are more resistant to D. suzukii.”

Read more in the N.C. State University newsroom: http://news.ncsu.edu/releases/wms-burrack-suzukii-2013/

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