Julianna Wilson leads team to combat spotted wing Drosophila in cherries

Julianna Wilson, an entomologist and tree fruit outreach specialist at MSU, was awarded a $150,000 grant by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research to lead a team of collaborators to combat the spotted wing Drosophila.

June 2, 2017 - Author: By Cameron Macko, MSU IPM communications assistant

Julianna Wilson, an entomologist and tree fruit outreach specialist at Michigan State University, was awarded a $150,000 grant by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research to lead a team of collaborators to combat the spotted wing Drosophila.

The foundation is a nonprofit established through bipartisan congressional support in the 2014 Farm Bill and the grant will go towards fighting the pest which destroyed 21 percent of Michigan’s 2016 cherry crop, according to industry surveys.

“SWD is a serious concern for tart cherry growers,” Wilson said. “Their production costs have increased by 20-30 percent due to dealing with this pest. Our team of MSU researchers is building off preliminary research and going to new resources of external funding to find the most effective and cost-efficient integrated pest management strategies for growers.”

MSU, the Michigan Cherry Committee and the Michigan State Horticulture Society are matching the foundation’s grant, for a $300,000 total investment in research to mitigate and prevent future damage from the pest.

The other members of the team include professor and chair of the Department of Entomology Bill Ravlin, entomology professor Larry Gut, entomology professor Rufus Isaacs, extension specialist Nikki Rothwell and entomology professor John Wise.

To read more about the problems the spotted wing Drosophila cause Michigan tart cherry growers and how the team intends to deal with the issue, see the MSU Today story: MSU receives grant to combat invasive pest in tart cherry trees.

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