Hummingbird Enrichment in Berries to Encourage Predation of Spotted Wing Drosophila
Carroll, Juliet; Loeb, Greg; Weber, Courtney; McDermott, Laura
An article in Good Produce, Berry Growers Sharing Great Ideas by Charlie O’Dell, published May 14, 2014, “Unusual Way to Control SWD” highlighted Robert Hays’s, Hays Berry Farms at Dumas, MS, use of 25 hummingbird feeders per acre in his six acres of blackberries to attract hummingbirds. He estimated there are more than 500 hummingbirds flying around his fields on picking days and he had not had to spray. When feeding their young, hummingbirds will eat up to 2,000 small insects per day. The diet of an average hummingbird consists mostly of flower nectar and insects – including, but not limited to small beetles, flies, vinegar flies, gnats, mosquitoes, aphids and spiders. In Mississippi there are three species of hummingbirds, but only two are residents during summer. In NY, we have only the ruby throated hummingbird. Berry growers in NY were interested in whether this technique could work against spotted wing Drosophila (SWD) in raspberry. Many are averse to routinely spraying insecticides or operate U-pick farms, which can make it challenging to manage SWD. Therefore, we established a field experiment to test the technique’s effectiveness over four years, two years each in two one-acre fields in which raspberry breeding program selections were grown. In the final year, we recruited two growers to test its feasibility on the farm – in organic blueberry and in raspberry.
NYS IPM Type: Project Report
New York State Integrated Pest Management Program
Agricultural IPM; Fruits; Berries; Blueberries; Raspberries