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Lure test results for SWD traps

Figuring out which SWD trap and lure works best has been an ongoing project for many in the Northeast and across the US and Canada. Below are summarized results from Rich Cowles, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, Greg Loeb, Cornell University, and researchers at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

From Greg Loeb

In 2015 trials in NY, we compared the commercial Sentry lure and the commercial Trece lure with our fermenting whole wheat dough. For the trial conducted in June and July, where monitoring matters most before SWD populations build, the Scentry was best in terms of number of SWD captured but statistically about the same as the whole wheat dough lure. Scentry and whole wheat lures were also good at capturing SWD before we detected fruit infestation. Scentry was more selective, catching fewer non-target drosophila and fewer other insects.

In 2015, the Trece manufacturer had problems with release rate on their SWD lures that were made early in the year. We tested both Trece and Scenery later in the season (August), using a different Trece lure release design and the two were similar.

For 2016, we are recommending Scentry but will be testing the latest Trece design in June to see if our results from August stand up.

From Rich Cowles

In 2013, tests found the our actively fermenting whole wheat dough lure was clearly superior to the commercially available Trece lure.

In 2014, there were some “tweaks” with the Trece lure and it was the best performing lure, but it has to be used over apple cider vinegar drowning solution (ACV). The Suzukii Trap bait was rated second to the Trece + ACV, and the two were statistically equivalent. The kombucha lure was rated third in that trial, but variation in fermentation of the kombucha probably decreased its ranking.

In 2015, with better kombucha production, the Suzukii Trap and kombucha were neck and neck in performance, and so I think we can expect all three of these baits will perform well and be equivalent for 2016. Both the Trece lure and the Suzukii Trap lure catch fewer unwanted species than the kombucha. Extensive tests of the Suzukii Trap lure have found it highly consistent and more selective for trapping SWD and African fig fly, rather than the other Drosophilid species. The Suzukii Trap lure also tends to capture a somewhat higher ratio of female SWD, so care must be taken to look for female as well as male flies in first detections.

Suzukii Trap, manufactured by BioIberica, is about to be launched to the US market. The Suzukii lure comes in 5-liter jugs. An advantage with the Suzukii Trap lure is that the liquid does not spoil, and can be reused over several weeks. When using this bait you can filter flies when servicing traps with a fine metal mesh coffee filter, and save the lure solution for reuse. The volume that evaporates can be replenished with fresh bait. BioIberica SWD traps are not being marketed in the US. If you use the Suzukii Trap lure you can use (1) a cup trap, but it may not efficiently retain flies, or (2) a modified McPhail trap, which is characterized by having a donut-shaped reservoir for a liquid lure. Flies enter the trap from underneath, by flying through the donut hole. Once inside such a trap, flies rarely leave, because the top of the trap is transparent and flies try to fly upwards to attempt escape. I have designed a modified McPhail trap from a 2-liter soda bottle. When constructing the trap from soda bottles use a small head space volume to greatly enhance trap capture. Instructions for making these traps can be found at: How to Trap Spotted Wing Drosophila,

From University of Guelph

Andrew Frewin, Justin Renkema, Hannah Fraser, and Rebecca Hallett conducted research on ACV, yeast plus sugar water, the commercial Pherocon SWD dual lure, the commercial Suzukii Trap, and the commercial Scentry lure.

They concluded that, on the basis of early SWD capture and fewer non-target captures, the Scentry lure performed best. They are recommending this lure for Ontario in 2016. The Pherocon results were affected by loss of the early weeks’ samples and tests need to be repeated. And the ACV and yeast plus sugar water performed poorly compared to the commercial products and are not recommended.

Post content contributed by Mary Concklin, Fruit Production and IPM Extension Educator, University of Connecticut.

Exclusion netting against SWD

Get your order in NOW for exclusion netting to cover your berry planting and protect it from SWD infestation. Contact Dale Ila Riggs, The Berry Patch, Stephentown, NY at

If you have an existing framework to protect your blueberries from birds, the exclusion netting can be placed on that framework. Read the full report on exclusion netting research, funded by NE SARE,  The use of insect netting on existing bird netting support systems to exclude spotted-wing Drosophila from a mature small-scale commercial highbush blueberry planting. (url is

Dale Ila Riggs writes in her report:

“The system worked extremely well. In 2014, with the 80 gram netting, at most, only 0.53 percent infestation occurred in a 10 week harvest season. Unsprayed berries without exclusion netting had as high as a 60% infestation level in one sampling period alone. In 2015, using the 80 gram netting, at most, a 0.37% infestation was found over a 5 week harvest season. Sprayed berries without exclusion netting had as high as a 20% infestation level in an individual sampling period. The netting held up through 3 severe thunderstorms and 2 hail storms and we refined our attachment system for large scale deployment of large pieces of netting.

This system has great potential for small scale, organic, and no-spray blueberry growers and I believe the system can be used by raspberry growers as well.”

Beautiful, ripe raspberries without SWD, that's the goal of every berry grower these days! Including Dale Ila Riggs, The Berry Patch, Stephentown, NY.

Beautiful, ripe raspberries without SWD, that’s the goal of every berry grower these days! Including Dale Ila Riggs, The Berry Patch, Stephentown, NY.

You can order the exclusion netting from Dale Ila Riggs, The Berry Patch, Stephentown, NY. For questions, contact her at Orders with Tek-Knit must be finalized this week.

If you’ve been considering protecting your berries from SWD with exclusion netting, read the report to see if this approach could work on your farm. Don’t delay, contact Dale Ila to get the netting you need as part of her bulk order with Tek-Knit.


SWD IPM Working Group – save the date!

Save the date for the 2016 NE IPM SWD Working Group meeting!  Friday, October 21st, 2016. We invite members of the NE IPM SWD Working Group and interested berry growers to participate. The Working Group meeting will be held at the NYSAES, Cornell University campus in Geneva, NY.  There will be a welcome dinner on Thursday, October 20th as in years past.  Details will be forthcoming.

Read more about the activities of the SWD IPM Working Group and review the research and extension priorities developed in 2014 on the Spotted Wing Drosophila IPM Working Group webpages hosted by the Northeastern IPM Center. We have two years of funding from the NE IPM Center to address SWD during our working group meetings in 2016 and 2017. Our working group objectives:

SWD Working Group meeting in 2012, addressing an invasive nightmare - spotted wing drosophila.

SWD Working Group meeting in 2012, addressing an invasive nightmare – spotted wing drosophila.

Objective 1. Increased Networking among individuals and/or groups on SWD IPM.—that means you, berry growers!
Objective 2. Setting priorities for SWD IPM.—we want to know what your priorities are!
Objective 3. Develop Resources for SWD IPM.—what resources do you need?
Objective 4. Share Resources on SWD IPM.—keep in touch, we’ll share resources we develop and identify.

Thank you for your continued interest in the research and management of Spotted Wing Drosophila.  If you have questions or comments about the 2016 program, or if you know of individuals that should be added to the list, please feel free to contact one or all of the planning committee.

Best regards,

Julie Carroll,

Greg Loeb,

Cesar Rodriguez Saona,

Anne Nielsen,

Dean Polk,

Laura McDermott,

SWD Stakeholder Survey

The Sustainable Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) Management for US Fruit Crops project, funded by NIFA, needs your help. This five-year project is developing national research and extension approaches to minimize the impacts of SWD. They include:

  • new management tactics and programs
  • expanded pesticide registrations for SWD
  • information and training on SWD for growers, extension agents, and others

In order to achieve this and ensure that the research and extension efforts match the needs of growers, the project is collecting information on the impacts of SWD on berry and small fruit growers’ farms, your current management practices and preferences, and your needs for better management of SWD.

Participation in the survey is voluntary. The survey doesn’t collect personally identifying information and the data will only be analyzed and reported in aggregate form. Please help us help you by providing your perspectives on SWD in the survey.

Access the SWD survey at this link:

Sustainable SWD Management Survey

Thank you!


What to do about SWD-infested fruit?

The SWD monitoring network Counties are all positive for SWD as of last week, August 28, 2015. A lot of SWD are being caught in traps in research sites now with population numbers expected to climb into the thousands before frost knocks them back and forces them into winter diapause.

All sites in NY's SWD monitoring network reported SWD by the end of August. Counties in white did not have traps reporting to the network.

All sites in NY’s SWD monitoring network reported SWD by the end of August. Counties in white did not have traps reporting to the network.

Reports are coming in of severely infested fall raspberries. This fall will be especially challenging for fall harvest of susceptible fruits. Blackberries and raspberries are particularly vulnerable and will require intensive management with sanitation and insecticide protection. One sanitation strategy used in California for berries is for workers to crush any fruit that has fallen to the ground, reducing the chance of larvae surviving to grow into egg-laying adults. For insecticides, maintaining good coverage is essential, so keep track of rain events that can wash off insecticide (>0.5 inch) and reapply at the appropriate interval listed on the labels.

Late-season blueberries, peaches, plums and grapes are vulnerable to infestation, though not as susceptible as brambles, it will be wise to examine the crop for infestation. Fruit that is softer than it should be, with dull sunken areas and tiny drops of sap may be infested. Hold marketable fruit samples on white paper towels for a day or so and rotate it to see if it is leaking from tiny pinholes indicative of larval breathing sites. Use salt floatation to float out larvae and assess the relative abundance of larval infestation and severity of the problem. Place 50 ripe, marketable fruit in a plastic bag, cover with salt solution (1 Tbsp salt/cup water) and examine in 15-30 minutes for emerging larvae. Larvae are small 1-3 mm or 1/16-2/16 inch long. More on checking fruit for infestation is in the blog Do my fruit have SWD?

SWDlifecycleInfestations can contribute to sour rot in grapes and fruit decays in other fruit crops. Severely infested raspberries will appear to melt off the plants.

If fruit is still ripening and ripe fruit is infested, clean pick all ripe and overripe fruit and discard it to remove the developing SWD population from the planting. After clean picking and sanitation, apply an effective insecticide to protect the ripening fruit.

Discard infested fruit in clear plastic bags held in the sun to solarize and kill larvae or freeze it. Holding culled fruit in tightly closed plastic bags will prevent SWD adults to emerge from the infested fruit into the environment.

High temperature will dissuade SWD, but hot days this past week in NY have been followed by cool nights which has likely allowed SWD adults to escape the impact of the heat. High humidity is conducive to SWD development, so that factor will also weigh in to make management difficult this fall. The microclimate in the fruit planting can be altered with pruning practices, so plan now to prune for a more open plant canopy in 2016.

Consult the resources in the right hand side bar for more information on SWD.

Field Meeting on SWD Management

Berry Growers, Industry and Extension Friends…plan to attend the SWD Management Open House!  Wednesday, September 2nd from 3:00-5:00 PM at The Berry Patch of Stonewall Hill Farm, 15589 NY Route 22, Stephentown, NY 12168 in Rensselaer County.

At the Field Meeting you will learn and see…

  • How to do an easy salt floatation test to detect SWD in fruit.
  • Research results on commercial lures for monitoring SWD adults with traps.
  • Tour a blueberry planting surrounded by SWD exclusion netting.
  • A fixed sprayer system in a high tunnel raspberry planting.
  • The effectiveness of clean picking, sanitation and refrigeration against SWD.

Farm owner and President of the NYS Berry Growers Association (NYSBGA), Dale Ila Riggs, will host the SWD Open House to showcase the SWD research that has been funded by allocations from the New York State legislature to the NYSBGA.

The Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture Program of Cornell Cooperative Extension has coordinated the SWD Open House. The featured research and development on SWD lures and the fixed sprayer system has been led by faculty in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University.

Sign up to attend! Call Marcie at 518-272-4210—a headcount is needed to make handouts. If you get voicemail, leave your name, phone number, and the number who will attend the SWD Open House at The Berry Patch.

This event will happen rain or shine on Wednesday, September 2nd from 3:00-5:00 PM at The Berry Patch, 15589 NY Route 22, Stephentown, NY.

Questions? Contact Laura McDermott: 518-791-5038

Research supported by funding from:
Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NE SARE)
New York Farm Viability Institute (NYFVI)
New York State Legislature

First catch in Steuben County

Two SWD were caught on August 18, 2015 in traps set in raspberry & blueberry in Steuben County. This site is being monitored by Stephanie Mehlenbacher, Steuben County Cornell Cooperative Extension. (GDD = 1776, day length = 13:44)

Only three sites in the NY monitoring network have not yet reported SWD finds. If you have ripe or ripening fruit to be harvested, consider a strict regimen to manage SWD: judicious insecticide applications (tree fruit, grapes, berry crops), immediate refrigeration of harvested fruit, squashing any fruit that falls to the ground, clean picking overripe and unmarketable fruit, weed control, and pruning to maintain an open canopy and promote earlier bearing in brambles.

First catch in Dutchess County

Three SWD, two female and one male, were caught on August 11, 2015 in traps set in blueberry. The SWD were in the trap set on the edge of the crop. This site is being monitored by Jim O’Connell, Ulster County Cooperative Extension and Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture Program. (GDD = 2019, day length = 14:00)

It is very likely that SWD is present across NY State wherever tender, ripe fruit is found. Consider what your SWD management strategy will be. Make plans for dealing with this introduced, invasive pest in your berry crops by reading up on horticultural strategies that make sense in the era of SWD.

SWD network report & tips

Now found in 25 of 28 (89%) of Counties in the SWD monitoring network, 2015 will be challenging for late fruit crops in NY. Traps have caught SWD two weeks in a row in 22 of the 25 NY Counties reporting SWD finds.

The SWD distribution map for the NY State monitoring network, as of August 17, 2015. Minor modifications were done to the map to show that SWD was found in August and no SWD has been found to date in Columbia, Dutchess, and Steuben Counties, as compared to the online distribution map, to account for those locations where online reports have not been submitted to date. legend

The SWD distribution map for the NY State monitoring network, as of August 17, 2015. Minor modifications were done to the map to show that SWD was found in August in Saratoga County and no SWD has been found to date in Columbia, Dutchess, and Steuben Counties, as compared to the online distribution map, to account for those locations where online reports have not been submitted to date.

Of the 48 monitoring sites across NY, only 5 have not yet caught SWD; 90% of all SWD monitoring sites have positive reports of SWD caught in traps.

Some monitoring network participants are sampling fruit, when SWD is first caught in traps, and checking for infestation with salt floatation.  At first trap catch, most fruit samples have few to no SWD larvae or eggs in a 50-fruit sample. Monitor your fruit for symptoms and signs of SWD infestation using the methods described in the blog, Do my fruit have SWD?

Those sites where SWD hasn’t been caught yet are characterized as having fruit that is not yet ripe, such as fall raspberry, or low fruit set possibly due to the cold winter, such as in blueberry.

Some monitoring sites reported high numbers of SWD in late July/early August, the second consecutive week of trap catch – e.g. 83 in Washington County, 40 in Cayuga County. Cooperators are pulling traps once at sustained catch.

Researchers in Greg Loeb’s lab, Department of Entomology, Geneva, studying different lures in the Finger Lakes region are now catching 20-40 SWD per trap. Sites in their study with rigorous spray schedules catch less than 10 SWD per trap. Research projects are wrapping up, too.

Our focus is to provide early warning of SWD arrival in NY State. We will continue reporting on the SWD monitoring network until all sites have caught SWD. If you have any questions, suggestions or comments, please let me know.

First catch in Clinton County

14 SWD were caught today, August 17, 2015, in traps set in blueberry in Clinton County, 10 males in traps set in the interior of the crop and 4 males in traps set on the edge of the crop. These traps are being monitored by Lindsey Pashow, technician, and Amy Ivy, educator & director, Clinton County Cornell Cooperative Extension. These males may be lonely…? Another review of trap contents on Wednesday will confirm whether females are absent.  Regardless, don’t think for a minute that absence of females means your crop is safe. They could be out laying eggs and ignoring the lure of food provided by the traps. Only three Counties in the 29-County network have not yet caught SWD (Columbia, Dutchess, and Steuben). If your crop is ripe – take steps to manage SWD. If your crop is on the verge of ripening – make plans to protect it from SWD. (GDD = 1793, day length = 13:55)

SWD male

SWD male, note spot on each wing.

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