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Augmentoria to boost natural biological control


Project objectives

Spotted wing drosophila (SWD) is a major pest of UK soft fruit crops. One promising option that could help control SWD is the use of natural parasitoids; tiny insects that lay eggs inside the fly and, when they emerge, kill their host. The main native parasitoids can reduce numbers of SWD surviving to adults by around 20%. However, UK growers have been unable to exploit native parasitoids due to low population levels. Augmentoria can be used to boost parasitoids populations. Unfortunately, there are no commercially available augmentoria for SWD parasitoids. Scientists at NIAB have been working on control options for SWD for over a decade. Using their expertise, this project will develop robust and practical augmentoria that can be used in outdoor UK field conditions. The project will evaluate if this approach is effective at controlling SWD.

Lead Researcher: Michelle Fountain
Industry: Fruit
Industry partners: British Berry Growers
Topic: Crop protection (pests, diseases and weeds)
Funded by: Growing Kent & Medway
Project start date: Apr-2024
Project end date: Mar-2025