Jointly funded by Defra and industry bodies British Summer Fruits, the East Malling Trust, the Horticulture Development Company and the Worshipful Company of Fruiterers, the new project
aims to increase understanding of SWD’s behaviour under UK conditions, and to help growers manage the fly most effectively.
British Summer Fruits chairman Laurence Olins said: "This new research will be critical in furthering our knowledge of this fly.
"A great deal of insight has already been gathered by the cross-industry group from other countries’ experiences of managing SWD, but we need to get a long-term understanding of its specific behaviour in the UK."
The project will be led by Professor Jerry Cross at East Malling Research (EMR), with the support of Dr David Buss, formerly of the University of Reading.
This season growers are already monitoring for the fly, with trap contents being sent to EMR or to the James Hutton Institute for identification. So far no SWD has been caught in the UK in 2013, but industry experts are asking growers to avoid complacency with the change to warmer weather.