Cherry Fruit Fly

Cherry Fruit Fly

Photo by Virginia Tech

Cherry Fruit Fly Larva

Photo by Michigan State University

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Common names:  Cherry Fruit Fly, Cherry Maggot

Scientific name:  Rhagoletis cingulata

Region:  This Fruit Fly is found in the northern United States and southern Canada.

Life cycle:  This insect produces one generation each yearThe maggots hatch from eggs that are laid inside the cherries where they eat until they are fully-grownThey then drop to the ground to pupate in the ground at a depth of about one to three inchesThey overwinter as pupae.

Physical Description:  The Cherry Fruit Fly is black with white stripes on the thorax and gold bars across its wings, and is only 1/10 to 1/5 inches longIts eggs are yellow and are laid inside partially ripe fruitThe larva is 1/4 inches long.

Feeding characteristics:  This pest attacks cherry, pear and plum plantsThe maggots develop from eggs laid in the cherries and feed until they are full-grown, causing them to be undersized or decayedWhen the larvae reach maturity, they eat there way out and drop to the ground.

Controls:  The controls should be directed toward the adult fly, because once the eggs are laid, the damage has been doneSpray your trees with rotenone as soon as the flies appearIf trap counts remain high, repeat the application every seven to ten days.

A trap can be fabricated by painting a 6 by 12 inch piece of plywood board a bright yellowMix the paint with a mixture of water and household ammonia, 50/50.

Cover the board with a commercial sticky material and hang it 6 to 8 feet above the ground on the south side of the treeFor small orchards, use at least four trapsIn larger orchards, hang a trap for every acreThe traps seem to work best when surrounded by foliage, and renew the ammonia and water bait each week, checking the stickiness every now and then.

Cultivating the surrounding soil will also help by destroying the pupae, which overwinter within the top two inches of soil.

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