Publications

Overwintered Drosophila suzukii are the main source for infestations of the first fruit crops of the season

Panel, Aurore D.C.; Zeeman, Laura; Sluis, B.J. van der; Elk, P.J.H. van; Pannebakker, B.A.; Wertheim, B.; Helsen, H.H.M.

Summary

The mechanisms allowing the widespread invasive pest Drosophila suzukii to survive from early spring until the availability of the first fruit crops are still unclear. Seasonal biology and population dynamics of D. suzukii were investigated in order to better understand the contribution of the early spring hosts to the infestation of the first fruit crops of the season. We identified hosts available to D. suzukii in early spring and assessed their suitability for the pest oviposition and reproductive success under field and laboratory conditions. The natural infestation rate of one of these hosts, Aucuba japonica, was assessed over springtime and the morphology of the flies that emerged from infested A. japonica fruits was characterized under field conditions. Then, these findings were correlated with long-term monitoring data on seasonal reproductive biology and morphology of the pest, using a cumulative degree-days (DD) analysis. Field sampling revealed that overwintered D. suzukii females were physiologically able to lay eggs at 87 DD which coincided with the detection of the first infested early spring hosts. The latter were continuously and increasingly infested by D. suzukii eggs in nature from early spring until the end of May, in particular Aucuba japonica. Individuals emerged from most of these hosts were characterized by a poor fitness and a rather low success of emergence. In the field, only few summer morphs emerged from naturally infested A. japonica fruits around the end of May-beginning of June. However, field monitoring in orchards revealed that D. suzukii individuals consisted solely of winter morphs until mid-June. These observations indicate that overwintered D. suzukii females are the predominant source for the infestations in the first available fruit crops of the season. We discuss these findings in the context of possible pest control strategies.