Cornell team fights invasive pest, supports NY berry industry

Dale Ila Riggs knew the pests were coming for her berries. It was summer 2012, and Riggs watched as the invasive spotted wing Drosophila, a type of fruit fly, descended on The Berry Patch, her 230-acre farm in eastern New York near the Massachusetts border.

“We lost 40% of our blueberry crop that year to the insects,” said Riggs, who has farmed her Rensselaer County berry fields for 23 years. “The only reason we didn’t lose all of our raspberry crop was because I was in our raspberry tunnel spraying every three to four days. We had never sprayed before; we never had to. This changed everything.”

/Public Release. View in full here.