Development of sustainable measures to combat the spotted wing drosophila in the Austrian fruit-growing and viticultural sectors

Topic area
Agriculture and forestry, incl. value chain

Disaggregation level
Risk management
Climate change adaptation
Knowledge transfer
EIP European Innovation Partnership

Project region
Lower Austria

LE– Programming Period
LE 14–20

Project period
01.07.2018-30.06.2021 (geplantes Projektende)

Project costs overall

EN - 16.02.1. Unterstützung bei der Entwicklung neuer Erzeugnisse, Verfahren & Technologien der Land-, Ernährungs- & Forstwirtschaft

Project initiator

Short description

The spotted wing drosophila is an invasive pest from Asia. The existing control strategies cannot always prevent yield losses. Frequently the infestation just occurs shortly before the harvest and the application of insecticides is not possible at that time any more or only to a limited degree. The few measures by insecticides registered at the moment are not always sufficiently effective against the fly and can harm other insect species. This project aims therefore at developing new approaches to combat this pest, which are environmentally benign and gentle to beneficial insects and bees. Moreover, measures to reduce the oviposition and the development of larvae are to be identified.

Point of departure

The spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) belongs to the family of fruit flies; it was introduced from Asia and proven for the first time in Austria in 2011. Trapping documents that meanwhile the species has spread all over the federal territory. The species damages in Austria predominantly berries such as raspberries, blackberries or blueberries, sweet cherries, sour cherries, plums, elderberry and also grapes (in particular red varieties, and/or those with flesh pink berries, e.g. the varieties Blauer Portugieser, Roter Veltliner, St. Laurent, Zweigelt and Frühroter Veltliner). The crop failure caused by the spotted wing drosophila amounts, depending on the region and the crop, up to 80 %. The currently available concepts to combat the spotted wing drosophila cannot always prevent crop failure. Frequently the infestation occurs just shortly before the harvest. In order to exclude residues in the crop the use of insecticides is not possible at that time or just to a very limited degree. The few currently permitted measures applying insecticides are not always sufficiently effective and can damage beneficial insects, and, in the case of inappropriate application, even bees. Within the framework of the project KEFStrat strategies are to be developed by means of which damage caused by the spotted wing drosophila in the field or after the harvest can be avoided. The insights gained within the framework of the project are subsequently spread in the branch of industry.

Project implementation and measures

  • Development / laboratory tests of attractants, which have an attracting effect on the spotted wing drosophila (SWD) in order to establish a bait method, which is as specific as possible to combat this pest
  • Laboratory tests to develop sustainable insecticides / repellents aiming at reducing or preventing the oviposition of the SWD and the development of larvae
  • Field trials with the developed baits / repellents / insecticides in order to test the effect of the measures in the open air
  • Collection of data on infestation, in order to be able to make more precise predictions and to make better recommendations in this way
  • Development of measures by which the damage to the fruit in the store can be prevented.