The spotted wing Drosophila completes its life cycle in less than two weeks. Each year, there can be 10 or more generations, with females each laying 200 to 600 eggs.

Fast reproduction can lead to the rapid increase of this new pest in Kentucky. Bessin said there is a possibility that the spotted wing Drosophila could already exist in other parts of the state.

Not only can this pest damage fruits, there is also a growing concern for the possibility of it having negative effects on households as well.

“This will also be a big pest for homeowners as well since it can lead to fruit fly problems in the house when produce is brought in from the garden,” Bessin said.

To help control the fly population, producers should dispose of any fruit that appears to be damaged or rotted in the growing area. This will help avoid the possible accumulation of pests around healthy fruit. If producers suspect the production area is hosting the damaging pest, they should create a fruit fly trap to monitor insect activity.

To construct a fruit fly trap, hang a clear container with a lid in the growing area. To allow insects to enter the trap, punch holes below the rim of the cup. Pour apple cider in the bottom of the trap to lure the pests, and hang a yellow sticky card inside of the plastic container to catch flies that enter. The fruit fly trap should be monitored frequently.

To prevent the spotted wing Drosophila fly from harming future fruit crops, taking action before harvest will reduce the risk of the pest damaging the fruit as it ripens. Since fruit producers may not know the extent of damage until harvest, spraying with an approved insecticide before harvest can reduce the risk of losing a crop.

For more information about controlling the spotted wing Drosophila fly, producers can view UK Cooperative Extension publication ID-94, Midwest Small Fruit and Grape Spray Guide or contact the local county extension office. Extension agents can assist producers with specimen identification.