Damage: Spotted Wing Drosophila in Ontario

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Recognizing fruit damage
  3. For more information

Introduction

While it is not possible to distinguish SWD larvae from those of other common vinegar flies, the presence of larvae in intact fruit prior to harvest should be viewed as suspicious. Signs of infestation by SWD may be confused with normal aging of mature fruit. Most uninfested ripe fruit will show mild overall softening after several days.

Recognizing fruit damage

When fruit has been attacked by SWD, early mould, wrinkling and softening can be seen at 2-3 days following egg-laying, and most fruit show obvious damage after 3-4 days (Figure 7, 8, 9).

Figure 7: Raspberries show damage quickly, with scarring and collapse appearing as soon as 1-2 days after egg-laying.

Figure 7: Raspberries show damage quickly, with scarring and collapse appearing as soon as 1-2 days after egg-laying.

Figure 8: Strawberries deteriorate quickly following egg-laying.

Figure 8:Strawberries deteriorate quickly following egg-laying. Fruit wrinkles and fruit softens, with mould appearing after only 3 days.

Figure 9: Blueberries start to soften after about 3 days

Figure 9:Blueberries start to soften after about 3 days.
Photo credit: V. Walton, Oregon State University

Pin-prick sized scars or holes (Figure 10) from which sap exudes may also be evident.

Figure 10: Infested cherry showing pin-pricks and damage directly under the skin.

Figure 10: Infested cherry showing pin-pricks and damage directly under the skin. In this shot, it is possible to see larvae and pupae which have exited the fruit.
Photo credit: V. Walton, Oregon State University

Small holes created by larvae for breathing may also been seen, sometimes with larval breathing tubes visible (Figure 11).

Figure 11: Larval breathing holes on blueberries

Figure 11: Larval breathing holes on blueberries.
Photo credit: BC Ministry of Agriculture

Eventually, fruit softens in spots and the skin collapses, with a wrinkled appearance that becomes very obvious after about 5 days. Fruit left hanging following harvest may show signs of heavy infestation (Figure 12).

Figure 12: Fruit left on the tree following harvest is often heavily infested.

Figure 12: Fruit left on the tree following harvest is often heavily infested. Note presence of pupae on the cherry clusters.
Photo credit: V. Walton, Oregon State University

 


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: Pam Fisher - Berry Specialist/OMAFRA; Hannah Fraser - Entomology, Horticulture Program Lead/OMAFRA; Denise Beaton - Crop Protection Program Lead/OMAFRA; Leslie Huffman - Apple Specialist/OMAFRA
Creation Date: 09 December 2010
Last Reviewed: 6 July 2012