Unlike other vinegar (fruit) flies, Spotted Winged Drosophila (SWD) attacks healthy thin-skinned fruits close to harvest causing infested fruits to decay or drop. Specialty crops at greatest risk of SWD infestation are the small fruit crops: blackberries, raspberries (especially fall crops in high tunnels), blueberries, elderberries and late season strawberries. Monitoring and insecticides are now important production tools. This serious new invasive fly has been found in 40 counties since first detected in Missouri in 2013.
The MO Dept of Ag has an insecticide cost share program for the 2015 and 2016 season through a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant. Funding is available to reimburse 50% of the purchase price of SWD insecticides to participants up to a maximum of $750 per grower. The insecticide cost share program will benefit Missouri’s small fruit industry by helping farmers to transition to additional management strategies to reduce populations of SWD, reduce damage and retain market share.
Requirements to qualify for this cost share program are:
- Grow fruits for sale that are susceptible to SWD infestation (non-bearing plants aren't at risk)
- Provide proof of purchase price for labeled insecticide products or insect barrier netting
- Have training in SWD identification and how to manage crops to minimize impact: 1.) Proper identification of SWD is important to avoid unnecessary insecticide applications; 2.) Training can be through workshops, online, etc.
- Using a monitoring tool to facilitate initial timing of insecticide application (traps, degree day model, etc.)
- Have a pesticide applicator’s license (the most common type is a certified private applicator license): 1. Private applicator training is available year round through your county Extension Center; 2.) This license is necessary to use or purchase restricted use pesticides.
For an information packet with details about the insecticide cost share, contact Anastasia Becker, MO Dept of Ag at 573-526-0837.