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Controlling invasive fruit fly topic of new Extension publication

By Staff | Feb 11, 2016

AMES (ISU) – An invasive fruit fly known as spotted winged drosophila has made its way to Iowa, forcing growers to change the way they protect their crops.

The spotted winged drosophila is native to Southeast Asia, but was detected in Iowa in 2012.

Despite its presence, the fly created few problems until the 2015 growing season.

Iowa State University Extension commercial horticulture field specialist Joe Hannan recently authored a publication designed to help keep fruit safe from this new garden pest.

Hannan’s publication titled “Managing Spotted Winged Drosophila in Commercial Fruit Production” is now available online at the Extension Store at store.extension.iastate.edu/product/hort3039a.”This publication has brought all the information about SWD that Iowa farmers need into one area,” said Hannan. “There are a lot of resources dedicated to SWD, but this publication pulls it all together and provides practical examples for Iowa farmers.”

Fruit flies native to the United States primarily lay eggs in soft, rotting fruit while the SWD targets healthy, maturing fruit and has quickly become a problem for Iowa growers. The female fly can cut into firm, ripening fruit, allowing it to lay its eggs inside.

Hannan informs readers how to monitor crops for signs of SWD while providing tips for identifying the fly. The publication also gives growers a step-by-step plan for managing infested crops.

“SWD is invasive and can be a significant problem, but it’s not the end of the world as long as growers monitor their crops, trap for the flies and spray when necessary,” Hannan said. “Growers involved in the project have shown good success minimizing crop loss when managing this insect.”

The publication also informs readers on what to do with fruit that is infested and how much contact fruit can have with SWD and remain edible.

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