Releasing sterile male fruit flies in fields cuts crop damage by 90%

Sterile male flies released in fields mate with females that then lay far fewer eggs, drastically reducing the damage the larvae of spotted wing drosophila do to fruit crops

Life 15 April 2022

Drosophila suzukii, commonly called the spotted wing drosophila or SWD, is a fruit fly. D. suzukii, originally from southeast Asia, is becoming a major pest species in America and Europe,; Shutterstock ID 1802293435; purchase_order: -; job: -; client: -; other: -

A spotted wing drosophila on a leaf

Shutterstock / Nikul6533

Releasing sterilised males of an invasive fruit fly could make a big impact in curbing its population, which poses a severe threat to global fruit industries.

In the first trial of its kind, researchers released male spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) sterilised with X-rays into tunnel-shaped greenhouses on three commercial strawberry fields in Kent, UK. On two of the sites, control greenhouses didn’t have the sterilised flies let into them. All three sites had seen similar levels of D. suzukii infestation in the …

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