Cornell Vegetable Program Enrollment

Program Areas

  • Food Safety
  • Variety Evaluation
  • Market Development
  • Pest Management
  • Cultural Practices

Enrollment Benefits

  • Telephone / Email Consultations
  • VegEdge Newsletter
  • Direct Mailings
  • Educational Meetings & Conferences
  • In-Field Educational Opportunities
  • On-Farm Research Trials

CVP Enrollment Form (PDF; 147KB)

Enrollee Login

Password:

Log In To Access:

  • Issues of VegEdge Newsletters
  • Helpful Diagnostic Tool:
      What's wrong with my crop?

Not an Enrollee? Enroll Now!

Online Enrollment Form

Follow @Jud_Reid

Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) in Tomatoes

Judson Reid, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: September 23, 2013

Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) in Tomatoes
Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) has gained notoriety for its impact on berry crops. We are including an update here as it has also been documented to infest tomatoes.

As a brief recap, SWD is a new invasive fruit fly with the unique ability to lay eggs in unripe fruit. The eggs and larvae become crop contaminants, unfortunately often not apparent until post-harvest and sometimes post-sale. So far in 2013 SWD has been confirmed in the Hudson Valley (Ulster and Orange Counties); Northern New York (St. Lawrence Co.), Long Island (Suffolk Co.) and the Finger Lakes (Ontario Co.). These specimens were all caught in traps near berry plantings.  From the wide range of geography and macro-climates of these confirmed findings we can infer that SWD is present throughout NYS.

How much of a threat is SWD to tomato growers? We don't know for sure yet. Initial reports of SWD in tomatoes focused on high tunnels. This may be due to the popularity of heirloom varieties with tunnel growers, as heirlooms are more crack-prone, and thus more attractive to fruit flies such as SWD. The tunnel itself is actually an effective management tool as we'll see below. 

Important work by Marion Zuefle of NYS IPM demonstrated that SWD can lay eggs in healthy tomato fruit under laboratory settings when given no other choice. However, field sampling showed SWD emergence only from damaged fruit. Tunnel tomatoes in this study had no SWD emergence.

What are the implications? Tunnels will likely reduce SWD risk as fruit cracking is much less than in the field. Cherry and grape tomatoes, which tend to have more unharvested, overmature fruit represent higher risk. Heirlooms, which are often marketed with cracks, are also higher risk than tomatoes with intact skin. Any tomato with cracks, regardless of inside or outside, is at higher risk for SWD.

Management steps for SWD in tomatoes:
  • If possible locate tomatoes away from soft fruits such as blueberries or brambles.
  • Harvest tomatoes thoroughly and removed all ripe fruit regularly.
  • Manage irrigation water to reduce cracks.
  • Consider tunnels/greenhouses to increase fruit quality.
  • If the market allows, shift to thicker skinned, less crack prone varieties.
The Cornell Vegetable Program is not at this time recommending the use of insecticides for SWD in tomatoes (unlike berries). A number of the materials berry growers are now deploying against SWD are labeled for other insect pests in tomatoes. But, given the wide range of hosts that SWD appears to prefer above healthy tomatoes, insecticide applications are not merited. An exception maybe in field production of heirlooms, where despite our best efforts, there will be many cracked fruit. 

This story will continue to develop as we learn more each season. Contact Judson if you have questions.

Cornell has an excellent set of SWD resources online.

more crops
Asparagus

Asparagus

Beets

Beets

Broccoli

Broccoli

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts

Cabbage

Cabbage

Carrots

Carrots

Cauliflower

Cauliflower

Cucumbers

Cucumbers

Dry Beans

Dry Beans

Eggplant

Eggplant

Ethnic Vegetables

Ethnic Vegetables

Garlic

Garlic

Horseradish

Horseradish

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

Leeks

Leeks

Lettuce / Leafy Greens

Lettuce / Leafy Greens

Melons

Melons

Onions

Onions

Parsnips

Parsnips

Peas

Peas

Peppers

Peppers

Potatoes

Potatoes

Pumpkins / Gourds

Pumpkins / Gourds

Radishes

Radishes

Rhubarb

Rhubarb

Rutabaga

Rutabaga

Snap Beans

Snap Beans

Squash - Summer

Squash - Summer

Squash- Winter

Squash- Winter

Sweet Corn

Sweet Corn

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Turnips

Turnips

more crops

Upcoming Events

2019 Processing Vegetable Crops Advisory Meeting

Event Offers DEC Credits

December 17, 2019
9:30am - 12:10pm, 1pm - 2pm, and 2pm - 3:30pm
Batavia, NY

All are invited to attend and discuss the 2019 season for each crop, meet the new Cornell Weed Scientist and discuss weed management concerns, and receive updates on research conducted during 2019. Separate DEC and CCA credits will be available for each of the 3 crop meetings. The meeting is free of charge and there is no registration required.
view details

Announcements

NEWSLETTER  |  CURRENT PROJECTS  |  IMPACT IN NY  |  SPONSORSHIP  |  RESOURCES  |  SITE MAP