Hot on the heels of the Ash Dieback disease comes another threat to UK plants in the form of a small Asian fruit fly. Drosophila suzukii oviposits into ripening fruit, including commercially important soft fruits and apples, pears and tomatoes. The larvae then eat the developing fruit, which rot and drop. This obviously has potentially huge economic implications. The fly has already affected other countries such as the USA, Canada and Italy. In its first year of detection in California it caused £300 million of damage to the fruit industry. It is not only a threat to commercial crops but also breeds readily in wild blackberries, making it virtually impossible to eradicate. This means that the only protection currently available is regular pesticide spraying.
It is easy to identify the adult fly as it is a typical Drosophila shape, about 2-3 mm long, yellowish brown in colour with darker bands at the hind edge of the tergites. The eyes are a bright ruby red and the wings have a subapical black spot. The Dipterists Forum will be publishing more information and encouraging members to look out for it and report it. In the meantime if you want to see what it looks like, here is a link