Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) has become a well-known pest for any grower producing small fruit such as raspberry, blueberry,
blackberry, strawberry, grapes or peaches. Ohio State University Extension educators and Department of Entomology faculty have been conducting workshops around the state since 2012 to help growers identify and manage this pest.
Over the past few years a new management technique has emerged that involves no pesticides but may only be economically feasible for smaller or organic growers. The use of insect proof exclusion netting such as ExcludeNet (80g) or similar netting has been tried in several states (MI, NY, MN, VT, MO) with generally good results (http://u.osu.edu/pestmanagement/pests/swd/).
One of the potential downfalls of wide adoption is the cost of the netting may run as high as $840 for a roll measuring 13’ x 328’ (this includes shipping). A rough estimate for the netting alone would place the cost per acre close to $8,600, not including the cost of the supporting structure. Based on the footprint of the area to protect, the netting may need to be cut and stitched by a tarp shop or similar business to create the appropriate size, which would be an additional cost. Another issue to consider would be pollination and when to put the netting in place in relation to flowering and the use or addition of pollinators.
If you have been considering using netting to reduce SWD infestation on a particular crop, take a look at this video for some great information on how to get started including some of the other advantages and disadvantages.
The SWD netting video is posted to the OSU IPM YouTube channel along with other videos on how to monitor and manage this pest. https://youtu.be/_eAODdcYnXk
Additional information about SWD management can be found here http://u.osu.edu/pestmanagement/pests/swd/
Celeste Welty (Entomology) and Ashley Kulhanek (Extension) were also involved in this project.