What is in this article?:
- Kentucky fruit growers facing new insect challenge
- Rapid reproduction
• For years to come, this is going to be a major production issue for raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, grapes and strawberries.
A MALE spotted wing Drosophila
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed a spotted wing Drosophila fly was found in south central Kentucky.
Originally from Asia, this particular fruit fly species can be destructive to softer skinned fruit. The fly was captured in a University of Kentucky Integrated Pest Management trap in a peach orchard.
“For years to come, this is going to be a major production issue for raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, grapes and strawberries,” said Ric Bessin, Extension entomologist with the UK College of Agriculture.
Other fruits such as tomatoes, pears and apples are less susceptible to the damage of the pest, unless the skin of these fruits is already broken or damaged.
UK entomologists have been monitoring for this pest after it appeared two years ago in several neighboring states.
Since a spotted wing Drosophila fly resembles other fruit flies found in Kentucky, it is important to properly identify the specimen collected. Small in size, the pest ranges from 2 to 3.5 millimeters in length. The spotted wing Drosophila also has red eyes. A male will have a black spot on both of the wings, along with small black bands on the front legs. Females will have an ovipositor, also known as an egg layer. Unlike the male, a female does not have any markings on its wings or front legs.
Typical fruit flies lay eggs on fruit that is already damaged or rotted, however, the female spotted wing Drosophila can lay eggs under the skin of ripening fruit with her ovipositor. Although the fruit may appear healthy, internal damage from larvae will destroy the fruit.