Male-only strains of Drosophila suzukii, a pest of soft-skinned fruit

Drosophila suzukii (commonly called spotted wing Drosophila or SWD) is a serious pest of berries and other soft fruits that has recently invaded the West and East coasts of the United States. Female SWD use thDsuzukii pics1eir highly developed serrated ovipositor to pierce the skin of soft fruits and lay their eggs inside the fruit. Unlike the larger native fruit flies (e.g. blueberry maggot) that have only one generation a year, SWD has a short generation time and multiple generations per year. Thus it is potentially a much more serious pest. Any fruit that contain developing SWD larvae (maggots) can cause an entire shipment to be rejected. Growers are currently using broad spectrum insecticides to protect fruit from damage caused by SWD. We are developing transgenic SWD “male-only” strains that could be used for genetic suppression programs. Similar to the NWS strains, female SWD will die unless tetracycline is added to the diet.   A male-only release is significantly more effective in suppressing a population than releasing both sexes.