Soft fruit is a key high value crop in the UK and mainland Europe. With acreages increasing and crops under protection, these are ideal environments for a variety of insect pests to cause significant damage to plant tissue, flowers and fruit. Some important research has been undertaken by key centres such as the James Hutton Institute and East Malling Research and Sentomol is keen to see this research succeed to bring affordable commercial solutions to growers. Ongoing research includes pests such as Raspberry Beetle (Byturus tomentosus), Strawberry Blossom Weevil (Anthonomus rubi) and European Tarnished Plant Bug (Lygus rugulipennis)
Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) or Drosophila suzukii is already causing damage across Europe on cherries, peach, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, grapes and strawberries. It has spread across Italy since 2009. No pheromone exists but the insect responds to odour attractants. Sentomol is testing, products in a variety of EU markets and are ready to work with UK growers who have genuine concern about the impact this insect may bring to the UK fruit crop. Other Fruit Flies such as the Mediterranean Fruit Fly (Ceratitius capita) and Olive Fruit Fly (Bactrocera oleae) have been successfully monitored and even controlled in their respective crops through the correct use of traps and attractants and it is hoped D suzukii can be equally well managed. As a non-native, suspected outbreaks of D suzukii should be reported to your local Fera Plant Health and Seeds Inspector.
Sentomols range of Soft Fruit Traps and Attractants
The Raspberry Beetle
|Raspberry beetle adult (JHI, Dundee)|
Adult beetles can cause damage early in the season by feeding on blossoms, buds or new leaves of host plants. This rarely causes serious problems unless beetles occur in large numbers, when significant crop losses and poorly developed, malformed fruits may result.
There is usually one generation each year in field grown crops. Adults emerge in April to early June but can be earlier in tunnel covered crops. With warm weather (above 13°C) the beetles mate from early June and in June/July the eggs are laid in flowers. The local climate and cultivation method can affect emergence times and duration of attack.
Previous work by SCRI (now part of The James Hutton Institute) on commercial farms, together with collaborative on-farm trials in Norway, Switzerland and France, indicates that traps based on the key visual and olfactory characteristics of the raspberry flower, are effective in trapping and controlling damage caused by raspberry beetle in protected raspberry plantations, particularly with low-moderate populations of raspberry beetles. The traps mimic the white colour of raspberry flowers, while the chemical attractant is based on floral extracts.
Existing products consists of converted moth traps; green funnel traps adapted with white cross vane attachments into which an attractant is inserted. The trap is designed so that insects are attracted by both the white colour of the cross vanes (simulating a giant raspberry flower), and the chemical parapheromone dispenser. Beetles fly into the cross vanes and fall into the funnel shaped catchment area down into the bucket below, from where they can be regularly collected, counted and disposed.
|Raspberry Beetle Trap|
To purchase traps or raspberry beetle attractant dispensers or to obtain more information on how you can contribute to the continued development of this technology, please contact Sentomol: firstname.lastname@example.org