Much of the research we do in the Gratton Lab focuses on the pests and pollinators of agricultural crops grown in Wisconsin. Former lab member Emma Pelton (M.S. 2015) did her research on an invasive fruit fly, the spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii), which is a recently introduced pest of soft-skinned fruit and a potential pest of wine grapes, an emerging specialty crop here in Wisconsin. Some of her research was recently published in the Journal of Applied Entomology. Through both field and laboratory trials, Emma found that although adult fruit flies were found in all of her study vineyards, these cold hardy grapes are resistant to the fruit fly as long as the fruit is not damaged. These results suggest that monitoring for adult fruit flies on vineyards is of limited value for assessing pest pressure and that grape growers should not worry about treating for the invasive fly unless they have significant fruit damage (e.g., hail storms, swelling due to rain).
Citation and link to full-text article: Pelton, E., Gratton, C. and Guédot, C. 2017. Susceptibility of cold hardy grapes to Drosophila suzukii (Diptera: Drosophilidae). J. Appl. Entomol.. doi:10.1111/jen.12384
Photo credits: J. van Zoeren