Talk on new soft fruit insect pest

Apr 06, 2013
Learn about the spotted wing drosophila, a new pest of soft fruits, at a talk planned for Thursday, April 25, at 6:30 p.m. at the Knox-Lincoln Cooperative Extension in Waldoboro.

Waldoboro — Knox-Lincoln Soil & Water Conservation District is hosting a talk on the spotted wing drosphila by David Handley Thursday, April 25, at 6:30 p.m. at the Knox-Lincoln Cooperative Extension office, 377 Manktown Road, Waldoboro.

Everyone is invited to attend this talk to learn about the spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) a new pest of soft fruits, which is a concern for anyone who grows raspberries, blueberries, day neutral strawberries, and many other soft fruits.

Spotted wing drosophila recently came into the U.S. from northern Asia and caused problems with many berry crops on the east coast in 2011. SWD is a small fruit fly, similar to those that fly around over-ripe bananas. However, this species lays its eggs in fruit before it ripens, resulting in fruit contaminated with small white larvae just as it is ready to pick. Infested fruits quickly rot and have no shelf life. SWD can complete a generation in less than two weeks, with each adult female laying hundreds of eggs. Therefore, millions of flies can be present soon after the introduction of just a few into a field, which makes control difficult.

Gardeners and growers are invited to learn about this pest to be able to develop strategies to manage it in crops, as it appears that it will be a problem in Maine for the foreseeable future.

Handley will present results of research into the spread of this insect in Maine based on his experience as UMaine Cooperative Extension Vegetable and Small Fruit Specialist and a Cooperating Professor of Horticulture for the University of Maine. Handley has been based at the Highmoor Farm Agricultural Experiment Station since 1983, where he carries out applied research regarding berry and vegetable variety evaluation, production techniques, and pest management strategies. He is the author of numerous Extension fact sheets, articles and newsletters, and co-editor of two regional small fruit production guides.

There is no charge for this program, but please call Knox-Lincoln Soil & Water Conservation District to register as space is limited. For more information, contact 596-2040,, or visit




Photo caption: Adult spotted wing drosophila on raspberry. Photo by Ed Show.

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