Forest boosts Drosophila suzukii populations and crop damage in sweet cherry
Research in Italy
We selected 32 conventional cherry orchards in NE Italy surrounded by landscapes with different proportions of semi-natural habitats and we quantified both pest density and crop damage using sentinel fruits. We observed a larger attack density in orchards surrounded by higher forest cover. The same trend was observed for female adult density. In forest habitats, the pest can probably find ideal microclimatic conditions and other biotic factors such as the presence of alternative host plants that can promote population growth. The effect of the size of forest cover on both adult density and crop damage, despite the very large tested forest gradient (0-60%), suggests that the removal of forest habitats does not seem to be a viable option for controlling D. suzukii. However, current integrated pest management should take into account landscape composition and interventions should be particularly timely in forested landscapes where high densities of D. suzukii can quickly attack the crop.
Figure: Sentinel fruit
Giacomo Santoiemma, Nicola Mori, Lorenzo Tonina and Lorenzo Marini
DAFNAE-Entomology, University of Padova, Viale dell’Università 16, 35020 Legnaro (Padua), Italy