April 10, 2018 - Author: Mallory Marienfeld
As part of her research, Entomology PhD student Danielle Kirkpatrick has been trying to estimate the density of spotted wing Drosophila (SWD) based on the catch in a monitoring trap. These estimates are important because pest management decisions depend on the density of a pest within the area to be treated. Her research will help growers figure out how to effectively position their monitoring traps and place enough of them out without overlapping.
Conducted with the Department of Entomology’s Larry Gut and Jim Miller, Kirkpatrick’s research involved sorting through thousands of flies, separated by gender and organized into different groups. Each group was dusted with its own eye-catchy, fluorescent-colored powder and then released at various distances from a trap hanging in a cherry tee. The SWD that were caught were then analyzed and matched to their release points based on their color.
The study, which was published in the Journal of Economic Entomology, was the first attempt in an orchard study to show that the catch in a single monitoring trap can be used to estimate SWD’s density among cherries. This study can also be used as a model for controlling SWD in a variety of crops.
To read more about Kirkpatrick’s research, read the ESA article, “Study Shines a (Fluorescent) Light on Invasive Fruit Fly Trapping.”