Soft fruit toolbox - Monitoring and alternative control strategies

Monitoring provides a way of alerting growers to potential problems and allows control measures to be applied before the situation becomes harder to control.  Alternative control measures are an important part of an IPM strategy and often these alternatives, such as biocontrol, work best if applied early.

  • Monitoring traps for the raspberry beetle (Byturus tomentosus) was developed in conjunction with Sentomol Ltd using chemicals that mimic the flower volatiles and attract the beetles.  Threshold beetle numbers in the traps give growers an indication of when pest control treatment is required.
  • The spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) (SWD) is an introduced pest to the UK which damages the fruit of many soft fruit and tree fruit species. The James Hutton Institute is part of a AHDB funded UK wide monitoring programme. A video to demonstrate how the traps are maintained in Scotland was produced for Fruit for the future 2020.
  • The James Hutton Institute was part of a Plant Health Centre project that was monitoring an new invasive species, the Brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys), using clear sticky traps.  The traps sited in locations around Scotland indicated that the stink bug has not yet become established.
  • Hyperspectral imaging is a technology that could be used to monitor plant stress responses. An Innovate UK funded project has developed a method for field-based monitoring of plant stress in raspberry plantations using hyperspectral imaging (Williams et al, 2017).
  • The entomopathogenic fungi (Metarhizium brunneum) is widely used to control the vine weevil (Otiorhynchus sulcatus). A joint PhD studentship with Harper Adams University looked at the efficacy of the fungus in different vine weevil populations and found that the efficacy was consistent between insect populations (Morera-Margarit et al., 2020)
  • Parasitoids naturally occurring in the environment can be used to control aphids but the introduction of parasitoids to polytunnel and glasshouse production can provide good aphid control. Working with Koppert Ltd we have tested several parasitoid wasps in combination. These parasitise two aphid pest species, with 40% success in polytunnels and 80% success in glasshouses.
  • In RESAS funded research we have adapted a technique from New Zealand’s vineyards; using flowering buckwheat to attract and retains key predators (hoverflies) in polytunnels.
  • Biopesticides are derived from natural materials which have pesticidal applications while being safer for the environment. AHDB funded work helped provide potential new biopesticides to use against pest and diseases.