Alina Avanesyan
Among the redwoods -- Muir Woods

Biology and distribution of invasive Drosophila suzukii in raspberry

In my postdoctoral work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison I studied one of the emerging insect pests – the spotted wing drosophila, Drosophila suzukii Matsumura (Diptera: Drosophilidae). This is a highly invasive insect species, which attacks undamaged ripening fruit of a wide variety of soft-skinned fruits and berries. Native to Southeast Asia, currently it is observed in Europe, North America, and South America. Drosophila suzukii has demonstrated a very high dispersal capacity and remarkable phenotypic plasticity – during only a couple of decades since its first introduction in Hawaii, D. suzukii invaded different temperate regions and now is being monitored in many northern and eastern states, as well as Canada.

I work on several projects on different aspects of D. suzukii biology and population distribution. I coordinated a multi-state bait comparison project for determining optimal attractants for D. suzukii. This project was conducted in Minnesota; we set up fly traps with eight different baits and conducted monitoring of D. suzukii in raspberry during several weeks. I also developed experimental design for the spatial and temporal distribution project which was supposed to be conducted later in the season when population of D. suzukii could be established.

Summer and fall raspberry varieties at West Madison
Agricultural Research Station on May 19, 2016.
Plastic high tunnel (A, B) with raspberry plants (C) at Hoch Orchard & Gardens farm (La Crescent, MN)

I was also actively involved in a project on D. suzukii seasonal phenology focused on overwintering of D. suzukii and the effect of temperature and humidity on D. suzukii seasonal abundance. We are currently writing a paper on D. suzukii seasonal phenology which includes an analysis of the interactions between D. suzukii seasonal abundance and temperature and humidity dynamics during the collecting seasons in 2014-2015.

Additionally, I developed a protocol for tissue preparation, isolating spermathecae, and determining mating status of D. suzukii, which we have applied in our bait comparison and phenology studies. This protocol has been recently published in Insects (Special issue on invasive species). In this paper, we also demonstrated how this protocol can be applied for both field collected flies and flies reared in the lab, including fly specimens stored on a long-term basis.

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Journal Articles

  1. Guédot, C., Avanesyan, A., and K. Hietala-Henschell. (2018) Effect of temperature and humidity on the seasonal phenology of Drosophila suzukii (Diptera: Drosophilidae) in Wisconsin. Environmental Entomology. (Accepted).
  2. Jaffe, B.D., Avanesyan, A., Bal, H. K., Grant, J., Grieshop, M.J., Lee, J.C., Liburd, O.E., Rhodes, E., Rodriguez-Saona, C., Sial, A.A., Zhang, A., and C. Guédot (2018) Multistate comparison of attractants and the impact of fruit development stage on trapping Drosophila suzukii (Diptera: Drosophilidae) in raspberry and blueberry. Environmental Entomology, 47(4): 935–945. exit_to_applink to publication
  3. Avanesyan, A., Jaffe, B.D., and C. Guédot (2017) Isolating spermatheca and determining mating status of the invasive spotted wing drosophila, Drosophila suzukii: a protocol for tissue dissection and its applications. Insects: Special issue “Invasive Insect Species”. 8(1), 32; doi:10.3390/insects8010032. Invited paper. file_downloadfull text

Invited Talks

  1. Avanesyan A. (2016). Identifying and controlling spotted wing drosophila. Berry Field Day organized by Wisconsin Berry Growers Association. River Falls, WI.

Non Peer-Reviewed Publications


  1. Avanesyan, A. and C. Guédot. (2016) Exclusion barriers as a sustainable strategy for management of Spotted Wing Drosophila. Wisconsin Fruit News, 1(6). file_downloadfull text
  2. Avanesyan, A. and C. Guédot. (2016) Raspberry varieties and their infestation by Drosophila suzukii. Wisconsin Fruit News, 1(4). file_downloadfull text