A unique field trial achieved a 91 per cent reduction in an invasive target pest first spotted in the UK in 2012. Agritech start-up BigSis conducted the trial in partnership with Berry Gardens, the UK’s largest supplier of berries and cherries, and the world-renowned research institute NIAB EMR.
An updated version of the sterile insect technique (SIT) was a the core. SIT’s basic premise is simple: sterilise and release male insects into the crop, where they mate with wild females to prevent the rapid increase in pest populations that leads to crop damage. It is species-specific, non-toxic and resistance-immune.
“SIT has long been recognised as the perfect solution for insect pest control,” says BigSis founder Glen Slade, “but in the 60 years since it was conceived, it’s always been too expensive to deploy beyond a limited number of special-use cases.”
The field trial focused on control of spotted-wing drosophila (SWD), a global invasive pest of soft fruit that can cause thousands of pounds’ worth of damage. BigSis released sterile male SWD in and around a crop of everbearing strawberries between April and the end of harvest. During the trial, numbers of female SWD in the treated plot barely rose above one per trap per week, compared to a peak of nearly ten insects per trap per week in the untreated controls.
Source - https://www.freshplaza.com