Evaluation of organic insecticides for management of spotted-wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) in berry crops

Ashfaq A. Sial, Craig R. Roubos, Bal K. Gautam, Philip D. Fanning, Steven Van Timmeren, Janine Spies, Andrew Petran, Mary A. Rogers, Oscar E. Liburd, Brian A. Little, Shane Curry, Rufus Isaacs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Spotted-wing drosophila, Drosophila suzukii (Matsumura), is an invasive pest affecting fruit production in many regions of the world. Insecticides are the primary tactic for controlling D. suzukii in organic as well as conventional production systems. Organic growers have a greater challenge because fewer insecticides are approved for use in organic agriculture. The most effective organically approved product is spinosad, but alternatives are needed because of label restrictions limiting the number of applications per year, toxicity to beneficial arthropods and the risk of developing resistance. We evaluated several organically approved insecticides against D. suzukii in laboratory assays and field trials conducted on organic blueberry and raspberry farms. Spinosad was consistently the most effective insecticide, but a few other insecticides such as azadirachtin + pyrethrins, Chromobacterium subtsugae and sabadilla alkaloids showed moderate activity. None of the treatments had long residual activity. Mortality started to decline by 3 days after treatment, and by 5 days after application, the treatments were not different from the controls. These products may be useful in rotation programmes, necessary for reducing reliance on spinosad and mitigating resistance. Cultural and biological control approaches are needed in fruit production for D. suzukii management, but insecticides will likely continue to be the dominant management tactic while these other approaches are being optimized and adopted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)593-608
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Applied Entomology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 2019


  • bioassay
  • fruit
  • pest management
  • spinosad
  • toxicity

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