Officials say a voracious Asian fruit fly that appeared in California in 2008 and since has spread in the Pacific Northwest and other areas has been found for the first time in the Midwest.

Michigan State University Extension announced Friday that the spotted wing Drosophila was found in traps set by entomologists in southwestern Michigan. Male and female flies were found in late September and early October.

The flies target berry crops, cherries, grapes and tree fruit, with a preference for softer fleshed fruit.

Michigan has a spotted wing Drosophila response team that formed earlier this year to detect and combat the fly. Further monitoring is taking place this fall to determine where the fly is present in the state.

WWJ spoke with Gary Heilig of the cooperative extension service who said the pest may not be that easy to get rid of. He says it’s almost impossible to spot an infestation until it’s too late.

“A lot of fruits are already on spray schedules, like apples for instance, and depending on the timing of when they’re laying their eggs, we will have to make sure that we have sprays in place to kill them,” he said.

Heilig said invasion of foreign insects will become more commonplace as the world economy grows.
(Copyright 2010 WWJ Radio.  All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


Leave a Reply