Spotted wing drosophila fly found in Idaho

09/10/2012 01:16:00 PM
Vicky Boyd

Spotted wing drosophila, a pest of ripening fruit, has been found for the first time in Idaho.

Unlike most fruitflies, which prefer rotting fruit on which to lay eggs, spotted wing drosophila favors fruit just nearing maturity, according to a news release.

The pest has become endemic to California and has been found in other Pacific Northwestern states, Michigan, Montana and Florida, to name a few.

It is a pest of many soft fruits, including cherries, grapes, strawberries, blueberries and caneberries.

Sanitation—removing dropped fruit from the orchard floor—can help reduce breediing sites.

Growers can monitor for the pest using an easy-to-construct trap baited with cider vinegar.

Several insecticides are labeled for spotted wing drosophila.

The appearance of the fly in Moscow isn't completely a shock, although it is unwelcome, according to University of Idaho entomologist Frank Merickel.

Given the number of flies found on a Moscow homeowner's cherry tree, it appears the pest has been in the city for some time, according to Ed Bechinski, an Extension integrated pest management specialist.

A spotted wing drosophila task force formed four years ago predicted cold winter weather would confine the pest to west of the Cascades, except for a narrow finger running along the Columbia River into the Palouse and northwestern Montana.

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