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Stow Agricultural Commission

Stow, Massachusetts

Right-to-farm Bylaw
Property Notification
Late Blight Management

In late 2011, raspberries in eastern Massachusetts encountered problems with a new pest, the Spotted Wing Drosophila, Drosophila suzukii. This is an asian fruit fly which first appeared in North America on the west coast in 2008. It appeared in Florida in spring 2010, North Carolina that summer, and in Virginia that September. Hurricane Irene probably brought the insect up to New England in 2011, and in late August and early September it started to attack brambles, such as raspberry and blackberry.

This insect differs from the fruit flies we're used to seeing. We are accustomed to fruit flies that attack over-ripe or damaged fruit. Drosophila suzukii attacks ripe and under-ripe fruit and uses it as a place to lay eggs. The larvae hatch quickly and can liquify the fruit in a few days. Since this is a new pest to the east coast, it will take us some time to learn how to deal with it. New England extension services are trying to come up with options to protect the fruit. Without action by the grower, the crop is very limited and has only a very short shelf life. It attacks a wide range of soft fruit such as berries, peaches, pears, grapes, currants, and even tomatoes if the skin is broken. However, it appears to have a preference for brambles.


For more information, check the following websites:

Michigan State University (MSU)
MSU Fact sheet
University of California at Davis
Utah State University
Oregon State University
Perdue University
Virginia Tech
Identification guide from Oregon Department of Agriculture (requires microscopic examination)

last update 2013 June 23