Fruit fly threatens summer crops

9:13 PM, Jul 18, 2013   |    comments
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ORONO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- An insect that wreaked havoc on fruit crops here in Maine last year is back again, this time 6 weeks earlier than expected.

The Spotted Wing Drosophila first popped up in Maine in 2011. It wasn't until last year that the fruit fly became a problem more than doubling in population. The pests are partial to soft fruits such as blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. It's in those fruits that they lay their eggs where the larvae eventually hatch destroying the crop. Agricultural Manager at Treworgy Farm in Levant, Matthew Pellerin, saw a significant effect on his crops last year.

"The fruit would look normal, but you would pick them and if you would open up the fruit you would find little tiny maggots swimming around in them," said Pellerin.

University of Maine pest specialist, Jim Dill, has been studying the fruit fly since it first showed up in Maine to try to find a solution for growers.

"You know right now there's really nothing we can recommend other than to spray because trying to tough it out, if you've got the fly around, it's going to hit almost every berry," said Dill.

According to Dill there are sprays to combat the pests. There's a synthetic pesticide if you're a conventional grower, as well organic sprays.


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