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First find in Erie County

One male SWD has been caught during the week starting May 16 and ending May 22 in one of four traps set in a berry planting in Erie County. Sharon Bachman, Erie County Cornell Cooperative Extension, sent in this information today for the traps she is monitoring.

Given the relatively mild winter, we were concerned about SWD being found in NY fruit plantings early this year.

All the traps my program is monitoring, in Cayuga, Onondaga, Schuyler, and Wayne Counties, in berries and tart cherries had zero SWD caught for this week.

If there’s no fruit starting to color, there’s no need for an insecticide spray.

Be vigilant this year with your June strawberries. Look for rough patches of slightly sunken areas on fruit that appear dull red in color. Later maturing varieties may be at risk this year.

More information on SWD? Consult Cornell Fruit Resources’ spotted wing pages,

2018 SWD monitoring network is set to start

We have a great SWD monitoring network set up this year in Cornell Cooperative Extension! Traps will be set in 24 counties at 36 locations with a total of 122 traps.

Faruque Zaman will be monitoring in Suffolk County, Long Island. Laura McDermott, Amy Ivy, and Natasha Field will be monitoring in the Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture Program region. Peter Jentsch will be working with Laura McDermott in the lower Hudson Valley. Jim O’Connell will be monitoring in Ulster County. Bernie Armata will be monitoring in Herkimer County. Shona Ort will be monitoring in Chemung County. Dave Thorp will be monitoring in Livingston County. Don Gasiewicz will be monitoring in Wyoming County. Tess Grasswitz will be monitoring in the Lake Ontario Fruit Program region. Sharon Bachman will be monitoring in Erie County. I’ll be monitoring in Cayuga, Onondaga, Schuyler, and Wayne Counties.

Funding to support this effort comes from Cornell Cooperative Extension Associations and regional programs, the NYS IPM Program, and the NYS Berry Growers Association.

Peter Jenstch, Entomology, Hudson Valley Research Laboratory, Greg Loeb, Entomology, Cornell AgriTech, Paul Hetzler, St. Lawrence County, and others may have research sites that may report findings to the blog.

I will also be monitoring SWD in seven tart cherry orchards in the Lake Ontario and Finger Lakes regions.

SWD findings will be reported to this blog and posted to the SWD NY distribution map. Given the mild winter, it may prove to be an early year for SWD arrival and build up.

Stay tuned!

Berry Crops Field Workshop

Tomorrow! Tuesday, August 29, 2017 from 5:00 to 7:00 PM at The Berry Patch, 15589 NY-22, Stephentown, NY 12168 this workshop will cover the following topics:

  • Plasticulture strawberry production for June bearing and day neutral varieties
  • Low tunnel strawberry production
  • High tunnel raspberry production
  • Exclusion netting to control SWD in blueberries
  • Using computer models to improve pest management of berry crops
  • Collaboration between NEWA,, and NYS Mesonet,

High tunnel raspberry production.

Register by calling Abby at 518-746-2553 or registering the ENYCHP website,

There is no fee, but it will help us provide the appropriate number of handouts etc.

This workshop event will happen rain or shine.

If you have questions, please contact Laura McDermott: 518-791-5038 or

Come and learn from experts! There will be plenty of time for your questions and discussion.

  • Dr. Greg Loeb, Cornell
  • Dr. Juliet Carroll, NYS IPM and NEWA
  • Dale Ila Riggs, The Berry Patch
  • Laura McDermott, CCE ENYCHP

This field workshop is for the commercial berry grower.
Monitoring for pests, designing an effective pest control program, understanding cultural and chemical SWD management strategies and general troubleshooting will all be part of this workshop.


SWD trap network alert

Dates first trap catch of SWD occurred in the monitoring network. Most occurred in June and early July, with only one in August, on the first.

As of August 7, 2017, all of the 32 SWD trapping sites have caught SWD in 21 counties in New York. To prevent fruit infestation now, susceptible fruit crops need to be protected with an insecticide spray program or have already had exclusion netting in place. Reports are coming in from growers stunned by the level of damage that SWD can cause to their crops, especially blueberries and raspberries. Plantings have been closed.

As of August 10, on average, 200 SWD per trap are being caught in an unsprayed fall raspberry planting at the NYS Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, NY. Fruit samples from this planting have, on average, 8 larvae per fruit as found via salt flotation. Each collected fruit yielded a range of 0-8 eggs. These data provide evidence that high pressure from SWD builds during late summer, making it impossible to harvest susceptible fruit that is free of infestation during this time, unless an insecticide program or exclusion netting is in place.

Protect crops from SWD! (SWD hosts)

  • late-summer-ripening raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, elderberry
  • monitor for infestation in less susceptible fruits: ever-bearing strawberries, thin-skinned grapes, plums and prunes with salt flotation

Management tactics- (SWD management)

  • timely insecticide sprays (berries) (tree fruit and grapes)
  • rotate active ingredients
  • weed management
  • canopy management
  • clean picking
  • remove or spray dropped fruit

Read and follow insecticide label directions.

Find more about SWD on Cornell Fruit Resources SWD pages.

Please join me in thanking the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) specialists who contributed time to the SWD trap network:

  • Amy Ivy, CCE Eastern NY Horticulture Program (Clinton and Essex County traps)
  • Bernie Armata, CCE Association of Herkimer County (Herkimer County traps)
  • Dave Thorp and Jennifer Damon, CCE Association of Livingston County (Livingston County traps)
  • Don Gasiewicz, CCE Association of Wyoming County (Wyoming County traps)
  • Faruque Zaman, CCE Association of Suffolk County (Suffolk County traps)
  • Janice Beglinger, CCE Association of Genesee County (Genesee County traps)
  • Jim O’Connell, CCE Association of Ulster County (Ulster County traps)
  • Juliet Carroll, Nicole Mattoon and Taylere Herrmann, CCE NYS IPM Program (Cayuga, Onondaga, Schuyler and Wayne County traps)
  • Laura McDermott and Annie Mills, CCE Eastern NY Horticulture Program (Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Washington County traps)
  • Margaret Ball, CCE Association of Tioga County (Tioga County traps)
  • Sharon Bachman, CCE Association of Erie County (Erie County traps)
  • Stephanie Mehlenbacher, CCE Association of Steuben County (Steuben County traps)
  • Tess Grasswitz, CCE Lake Ontario Fruit Program (Niagara and Orleans traps)

First catch in Herkimer County

Herkimer County traps caught 10 SWD, 7 males and 3 females, on August 1, 2017. Four traps are being monitored in a blueberry planting, which is still not at peak ripeness. The grower is hoping to get a couple more weeks of picking out of the planting.

Three male spotted wing Drosophila (SWD). Note the spot on each wing, which is on the end of the first vein from the outer edge of the wing.

Traps in Herkimer County are being monitored by Bernie Armata, Herkimer County Cornell Cooperative Extension.

This is the final SWD monitoring network County to catch SWD. All other sites are at sustained catch. The number of SWD caught at research sites is on the rise. Reports of fruit infestation have come in, especially from fruit plantings not being treated with insecticide. Some direct market growers have closed their plantings due to SWD pressure.

At this point in time, if fruit is ripe, it should be protected with an insecticide program:

More on SWD Management and on commercial fruit production is on Cornell Fruit Resources,

More SWD being found – cherries at risk

In the last week of July 2017, my program found up to 100 SWD in some of the SWD traps in our raspberry research plot in Geneva, NY. Without a doubt, pressure from SWD and fruit infestation levels will be increasing as the SWD population explodes.

Sampling cherries in 2016 in western NY to check for SWD. None was found, but in 2017 the situation was different.

In addition, fruit crops normally escaping infestation are reporting problems with SWD. Early blueberry varieties are at high risk and the later varieties will be even more prone to infestation. A tart cherry grower in the Lake Ontario region reports a load of fruit rejected by the processor due to SWD infestation.

When harvest dates are close to insecticide application dates, the available insecticides that can be used against SWD on berries or on tree fruit are few because of the needed days-to-harvest intervals. The heavy rains washing off applied materials creates a greater challenge to keeping fruit clean of infestation.

A mild winter; early arrival of SWD; warm, cloudy, rainy weather; abundant fruit; prolonged ripening windows — these likely have created a perfect storm for SWD in 2017. We continue to learn about this pest, what drives it, and what we can do about it. We thought summer raspberries, early blueberry varieties, tart cherries and sweet cherries weren’t at high risk, perhaps we need to rethink this in light of this year’s situation and be more vigilant in 2018 for conditions that favor SWD infestation in our early fruit crops.

Blueberry grower reports

Reports from blueberry growers have come in. SWD — caught in traps, found in fruit, and plantings shut down. One of these growers in the Southern Tier of NY, caught a single male in a trap on Sunday, July 23, 2017, and then,

“In a matter of 3 days my 4 traps exploded with SWD. A minimum of 3 females, the same for males, (in each trap). I have been spraying, but the weather is a problem.”

For organic growers, managing SWD in blueberries this year will be nigh on impossible. It is essential to rotate insecticide active ingredients (ai), that is: not using the same active ingredient back-to-back, repeatedly. Entrust is the most efficacious organically-approved insecticide against SWD (ai spinosad), but it is essential to rotate with other ai’s such as pyrethrin (Pyganic) or azadirachtin (AzaSol) or the biological Grandevo, which aren’t as efficacious. The weather, with heavy and frequent rainfall, washes off the insecticides applied, making it necessary to reapply sooner.

Two male SWD on a blueberry, photographed in early September 2013. SWD populations typically build to very high levels in late summer and early autumn.

For no spray growers, the best approach will be to invest in exclusion netting for a long term solution to protecting the crop. Even early varieties of blueberries have been hit hard in locations where SWD was found early, whereas in prior years these varieties escaped infestation. This underlines the importance of monitoring in your local area, whether with the use of SWD traps or by sampling fruit using salt flotation to detect infestation. Sampling 100 fruit allows you to quickly get a rough estimate of the percent infestation level from the number of larvae detected in those (12 larvae found/100 fruit = 12% infestation).

There is no magic number or percent infested fruit at which a field should be shut down to pickers, for a u-pick or roadside market. Be proactive with customers and make sure they refrigerate or freeze fruit soon after purchase. However, for the processing market, there may be zero tolerance for SWD-infested fruit. And for some direct market growers when infested fruit is found that signals the time to shut down.

Catching up on sustained catch reports

Sustained catch (two weeks in a row catching SWD) has occurred in several counties: Orleans on June 15 and 22, Niagara on June 28 and 29, Ulster on June 28 and 29, Clinton on July 10, Essex on July 10, and Livingston on July 13.

SWD infestation on raspberry causes fruit receptacles to stain red, druplets get sunken dimples, and leaking fruit sags.

In Essex County the sustained catch had 144 SWD, caught during the week ending on July 10, 2017.

End of July and early August marks a time frame when SWD numbers in berry crops will increase significantly.

Exponential population growth typically occurs in August. Raspberry fruit may begin to show obvious signs of infestation. Blueberries may also become infested and show signs of fruit infestation.


Specific findings:

Orleans County – June 15 at a raspberry site 1 SWD caught in 1 of 2 traps. On July 3, there were 3 SWD caught.

Orleans County – June 22 at a blueberry site 2 SWD caught in 2 of 2 traps. On July 5, there were 10 SWD caught.

Niagara County – June 29 at a raspberry site 8 SWD caught in 2 of 2 traps. On July 5, there were 12 SWD caught.

Niagara County – June 22 at a blueberry site 12 SWD caught in 2 of 2 traps. On July 5, there were 5 SWD caught.

Ulster County – June 28 at a raspberry site 48 SWD caught in 4 of 4 traps.

Ulster County – June 29 at a site with both raspberry and blueberry 17 SWD caught in 4 of 4 traps.

Clinton County – July 10 at a site with both raspberry and blueberry 26 SWD caught in 4 of 4 traps.

Essex County – July 10 at a raspberry site 144 SWD caught in 2 of 2 traps.

Livingston County – July 13 at a site with both raspberry and blueberry 6 SWD caught in 2 of 2 traps.

Information is from Tess Grasswitz, Lake Ontario Fruit Program; Jim O’Connell, Ulster County Cornell Cooperative Extension; Amy Ivy and Annie Mills, Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture Program; and Jennifer Damon and Dave Thorp, Livingston County Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Sustained catch in St Lawrence County

4 female SWD were caught the week ending July 15, 2017 in two traps set near some wild raspberries growing outside a blueberry planting. This is sustained catch at this location. Paul Hetzler, extension educator, St Lawrence County CCE, is monitoring these traps as part of a berry research project.

Female SWD (left) and male SWD (right), viewed through a dissecting microscope after being drown in an apple cider vinegar trap. Note the serrated ovipositor on the female and the dark single spot on each wing of the male.

Although Paul expected to find more SWD this week, often SWD is slow to build up to large numbers, as has been the case this year.  Single digit numbers of total SWD caught in the 2-4 traps set at a location is common in the first two weeks of trapping, with double digit numbers occurring in the third and fourth weeks.

In prior years, blueberry plantings in Central New York haven’t had significant levels of infestation until early August, though this year this might occur by the end of July. Fruit can be monitored for infestation by sampling good quality fruit and screening it using a salt flotation assay.

More information on SWD Management is available on Cornell Fruit Resources SWD web pages.

Sustained catch in Genesee County

14 SWD were caught on July 10, 2017 in two traps set in a raspberry planting. 7 females were in the trap set within the crop; 4 female and 3 male SWD were caught in the trap set on the edge of the planting.

Male SWD on raspberry fruit. Note dimpling on the fruitlet in the upper left corner of the photo – indicative of fruit infestation.

These traps are being serviced by Jan Beglinger, extension educator, Genesee County Cornell Cooperative Extension. Insect identification is being done by Nicole Mattoon, IPM field technician, and Taylere Herrmann, IPM summer technician, NYS IPM Program.

If your berries are ripe and SWD is being caught in your area, it is time to begin management tactics to protect the crop.

SWD management means practicing IPM using the best combination of:

  • trapping to know when SWD has arrived at the fruit planting;
  • carefully monitoring the ripening fruit crop;
  • sanitation — immediate disposal of over-ripe or infested fruit;
  • sanitation — clean harvesting fruit;
  • pruning and weed management to maintain good air and sunlight penetration into the planting;
  • protecting the crop with insecticide treatments or exclusion netting;
  • refrigeration of harvested fruit.
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