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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Detection of the spotted wing drosophila, Drosophila suzukii, in continental sub-Saharan Africa

Kwadha, Charles A.; Okwaro, Louis A.; Kleman, Isabella; Rehermann, Guillermo; Revadi, Santosh; Ndlela, Shepard; Khamis, Fathiya M.; Nderitu, Peterson W.; Kasina, Muo; George, Momanyi K.; Kithusi, Grace G.; Mohamed, Samira A.; Lattorff, H. Michael G.; Becher, Paul G.


The spotted wing drosophila, Drosophila suzukii Matsumura, is an insect pest of soft-skinned fruit, native to Eastern Asia. Since 2008, a world-wide dispersal of D. suzukii is seen, characterized by the establishment of the pest in many Asian, American and European countries. While the potential for invasion of continental Africa by D. suzukii has been predicted, its presence has only been shown for Morocco in Northern Africa. Knowledge about a possible establishment in other parts of the continent is needed as a basis for pest management. In 2019, we carried out a first survey in three counties in Kenya to monitor for the presence of D. suzukii using traps baited with a blend of apple cider vinegar and red wine. A total of 389 D. suzukii flies were captured in a fruit farm at Nakuru county, with more female flies being trapped than males. We confirmed the morphological identification of D. suzukii using DNA barcoding. In 2020, we performed a follow-up survey at 14 locations in six counties to delimit the distribution of D. suzukii in the main berry growing zones in Kenya. The survey indicated that so far D. suzukii is restricted to Nakuru county where it was initially detected. This is the first study to provide empirical evidence of D. suzukii in continental sub-Saharan Africa, confirming that the pest is expanding its geographic range intercontinentally. Given the high dispersal potential of D. suzukii, a concerted effort to develop management strategies is a necessity for containment of the pest.


Drosophilidae; Fruit fly; Global; Invasive pest; Soft fruits

Published in

Journal of Pest Science
2021, Volume: 94, number: 2, pages: 251-259