Italy: A parasitoid may save us from Drosophila suzukii

The quick spreading in Europe of Drosophila suzukii meant defence strategies for many crops - cherries and other drupes in particular, strawberries, small fruit and even grapes - had to be revised.

"Phytosanitary product authorisations were issued to supply producers with containment solutions but many are also using nets and traps. Only when the natural balance is restored will we see an end to this crisis," explained Marco Mosti, R&D manager at Bioplanet, a company specialising in biological control. 

Some studies were started to assess the presence, adaptation and effect of various useful insects and, while generic predators were not effective, at least 4-5 species of parasitoid hymenopters have been tested, such as for example Trichopria drosophilae.

"This species is already living in Italy and Europe and has showed interesting parasiting rates of over 80% and works in a more specific area than other parasitoids, which may spread even more. 

"We have mass-bred Trichopria drosophilae, a hymenopter from the Diapriidae family. Females are 3-4 millimetres long and look specifically for Drosophila pupae in which they lay their eggs. D. suzukii have many defence mechanisms, but luckily Trichopria learned how to overcome them."

The first parasitoids have already been released in strawberry crops over the past few weeks. Now Bioplanet is looking for more companies that would be interested to test the effects on other crops.

For further information:

Via Masiera I, 1195
Cesena - Italy

Author: Raffaella Quadretti

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