New Fly Could Destroy Berry Crops

The Spotted Wing Drosophila is spreading throughout the country, making harvesting berries difficult

The Spotted Wing Drosophila, formerly known as the Cherry Vinegar Fly, has made its way from its indigenous home in California all the way to Vermont, where berry crops will now face risks because of its arrival. The bug is said to be similar to the fruit fly, but what makes this fly so different is that it lays small maggots in the pulp of ripening fruit. This gives it the ability to destroy entire crop yields, having drastic economic effects on agricultural markets.

Though pesticides are being developed to save the fruit before the eggs destroy it, most farmers try to avoid the use of pesticides, even organic ones, at all costs. Jack Manix of Walker Farm in Dummerston, Vermont is quoted as saying "The strategy would be exclusion, which we like better than spraying pesticides — even organic pesticides.  Getting some fine netting and possibly excluding the pest from the crop in regards to how handle the flies. His first method is to pick the fruit as it’s ripening and refrigerate it before the flies have a chance to lay eggs, which both prevents the possibility of multiplication of the species and saves the crop yields.