New Pest Attacks Tennessee Fruit Crops

A new fruit fly is wreaking havoc on Tennessee’s fruit crops, according to experts at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. Originally from Asia, the new pest arrived in The Volunteer State in 2011 and has now reached 23 of the state’s counties.

First coming to the U.S. in a bundle of fruit that was shipped to California in 2008, the bugs swiftly traveled east and landed in Florida within a year.

In the past, farmers had a much simpler time growing berries. The only problem to worry about was berry-eating birds and droughts. Now some have reported losing as much as half their crop to these pests.

What Kind of Bug is It?

The spotted wing drosophila, a type of vinegar fly, is responsible for the damage. This tiny pest targets thin-skinned fruits, such as strawberries and blueberries, to lay its eggs and is capable of destroying an entire batch of fruit in days.

Once punctured, the berry becomes susceptible to fungi and other small organisms that will begin to cause decay. Then, after the eggs hatch, the fly’s offspring begin to feed on the fruit until it is completely destroyed.

Preventing Damage To Fruits

Because this bug is relatively new to the area, farmers are still trying to determine the best way to protect their berry crops. To find out whether the spotted wing drosophila is harming your produce, you will need to set traps within fruit crops, using yeast, sugar, and water as bait.

If you find that you have an infestation, you should apply insecticide weekly as soon as you see the fruit beginning to ripen.

Dealing with a Pest Problem?

The warm weather brings with it a wide variety of pests that not only prove to be a nuisance to homeowners but can also potentially harm your home and health. If you’d like to learn about what other types of bugs may be attacking your crops, check out this article describing seven common garden pests.

Currently facing a bug problem in or around your home? Contact U.S. Pest! Our pest control experts have experience getting rid of termites, mosquitoes, spiders, and ants, as well as a variety of other common pests and would be happy to help you out.