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SWD is a fruit fly that feeds on several fruit crops. It was first identified in North America in 2009 in California and has also become a pest in several countries in Europe. Its spread from Asia is most likely to blame on shipments of fruit that it had infested.
How to Identify It:
This small fly is 2-3mm in size and resembles vinegar flies in the same family. It has red eyes and a stripped brown and black pattern on its thorax. Its distinguishing feature is a black dot on the tips of each of its wings. It has small white larvae.
SWD is an agricultural pest that feeds on several fruit species and then lays its eggs under the fruits skin. The combined effects of the feeding adults as well as the development of the larvae in the fruit make the fruit unmarketable and results in farmers losing a large portion of their crop. Unlike other species that only feed on fruit that is ripe or overripe, SWD is able to feed a very large selection because it can feed on fruit as it is ripening. This allows it to move from one fruit to the next as they become in season.Fruits that SWD feeds on include cherry, peach, and plum, to name a few.
Above: Cherries and raspberries that have become damaged from SWD feeding
A population of SWD will continue to flourish as long as a source of ripening fruit is available. It is recommended for farmers to remove fallen, overripe fruit and all infected fruit and dispose either by burial or in a closed container. Pesticide control should also be used as part of an integrated pest management plan. Environmental impact of pesticide use can be reduced to a minimum by applying across crop fields and including a buffer zone.
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