HANCOCK COUNTY — There’s a new fly in Indiana fruit growers’ ointment, and its probably not going to make a lot of people happy.
Toward the end of July and August, researchers at Purdue began noticing an uptick in the Spotted Wing Drosophila population, a significant pest for growers of soft fruits like blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and peaches.
The standard, garden-variety fruit fly is drawn to soft, cracked and/or decaying fruit, in which it will deposit its eggs.
“This is somewhat of a game changer, for sure,” said Bruce Bordelon, professor of horticulture at Purdue University.
Where fruit flies could previously be effectively managed by timely harvesting fruit and not allowing it to rot on the vine, the drosophila has the ability to attack intact berries, puncture the skin and lay its eggs in otherwise healthy fruit.