Dill, Handley discuss spotted wing drosophila that lay eggs in berries

Jim Dill and David Handley talked with the Bangor Daily News about this summer’s spotted wing drosophila population explosion. “This is a whole different species than the fruit fly people are used to if they leave bananas out too long on the counter and then start flitting around and driving you crazy,” said Dill, pest management specialist with University of Maine Cooperative Extension. “The spotted wing drosophila is out in the fields or in your garden laying eggs in your fruit.” Handley, vegetable and small fruit specialist with Cooperative Extension, said that “anybody who grows berries that ripen later in the season should be concerned.” Those berries include wild and highbush blueberries, late summer raspberries, everbearing raspberries and strawberries, he said. The best defense against the spotted wing drosophila is picking fruit earlier than normal, which will give flies less time to lay eggs. Once the fruit is picked, it should immediately be refrigerated to at least 34 F to halt development of eggs or larvae already in the berries, according to the article.