Effect of Erythritol on Drosophila suzukii (Diptera: Drosophilidae) in the Presence of Naturally-Occurring Sugar Sources, and on the Survival of Apis mellifera (Hymenoptera: Apidae)

J Econ Entomol. 2019 Mar 21;112(2):981-985. doi: 10.1093/jee/toy362.


Previous studies have demonstrated various combinations of non-nutritive erythritol and sucrose having detrimental effects on Drosophila suzukii (Matsumura). Fly mortality is likely caused by 1) starvation from feeding on non-metabolizable erythritol; and 2) physiological imbalance with abnormally high osmotic pressure in the hemolymph. While erythritol kills D. suzukii in controlled environments, flies in the field can access naturally-occurring sugar sources. We evaluated fly mortality in the presence or absence of wounded fruits, and an erythritol mixture of 2.0 M erythritol:0.5 M sucrose (E+S), or erythritol- and sucrose-only controls. When provided E+S, survival was consistently lower than sucrose controls with/out wounded fruit, suggesting that this mixture still has a detrimental effect in the presence of competing sugar sources. Our second study examined the effects of diet on fecundity and egg load of female D. suzukii. Females laid fewer eggs on blueberries when fed E+S or erythritol-only than sucrose. Unexpectedly, females fed E+S had more ovarial eggs than sucrose-fed females, suggesting that erythritol might inhibit D. suzukii laying eggs. Lastly, we evaluated honey bee survivorship by enclosing bees with one of four diets in a cage. The erythritol mixture had no discernible impact on adult survivorship during 7 d.

Keywords: Aphis mellifera; Drosophila suzukii; erythritol; non-nutritive sugar; non-toxic insecticide.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bees
  • Blueberry Plants*
  • Drosophila
  • Erythritol
  • Female
  • Hymenoptera*
  • Sugars


  • Sugars
  • Erythritol