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Rhonda Ferree's ILRiverHort

Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog

New pest found in fruit crops

Reports of a new fruit insect problem are coming in from all over Illinois. Dr. Phil Nixon, University of Illinois Extension Entomologist, says "Over the summer and especially the last few weeks, detections of spotted wing Drosophila, Drosophila suzukii, and reports of larval damage to fruit have been increasing in Illinois and nearby states including Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota." "Infestations have posed problems in Michigan since 2010. "It likely is present in most if not all of the counties in Illinois."

Dr. Nixon describes the spotted wing Drosophila is a destructive pest of thin-skinned fruits because unlike other Drosophila species, it lays eggs into ripening fruit before it's ready for harvest. Infested fruits "melt down" from larval feeding in just a few days. Adult flies are tan and 2-3 millimeters long (up to one-eighth inch long), live for up to 2 weeks, and females can lay up to 300 eggs. Development from egg to adult can occur in in little as 8 days, and 10 or more generations may develop within a season.

Dr. Rick Weinzerl, University of Illinois Professor and Extension Entomologist, gives recommendations for managing this pest at These recommendations are for commercial growers, however the non-chemical options apply to homeowners and some of the insecticides also have homeowner labels.

For more information on this or other horticultural issues, contact your local Extension office by visiting

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