Fera consultation anticipates stone fruit and berry pest arrival in the UK

The Food & Environment Research Agency (FERA) has urged growers to help formulate a policy to combat the anticipated arrival in the UK of Drosophila suzukii, the spotted-wing drosophila or cherry vinegar fly.

The South East Asian fly, a potential pest of stone and berry fruit crops, was first documented on mainland North America in 2008. It has spread to 27 states and caused widespread crop loss.

The pest reached mainland Europe two years ago, though has yet to be detected in the UK. But FERA warned that it could colonise areas as far north as central Scotland.

"Growers cannot rely completely on insecticides to control this pest and an integrated pest management approach will be needed," according to FERA.

The agency is now inviting comments on its pest risk assessment for the fly, which proposes statutory action to prevent its establishment.

Justin Dixon of FERA's plant health policy team said: "We are seeking views to contribute to the development of a UK policy on this pest."

For further details on the consultation, email consultation@fera.gsi.gov.uk.

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