Courtesy USDA New Jersey fruit growers are fighting a new pest this year.
A spotted wing drosophila has been found in a trap on a blueberry farm in Atlantic County, N.J., according to a news release from the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.
The finding was confirmed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Systematic Entomology Laboratory.
So far this season, growers of blueberries and peaches in the Garden State haven’t reported damage from spotted wing drosophila, which are more commonly known as vinegar flies or fruit flies.
Scientists at Rutgers, New Jersey’s state university, are tracking drosophila populations and advising growers on crop protection measures.
A native of Southeast Asia, drosophila was first confirmed in the U.S. in 2008, in California. Since then, the pest has been found in Florida, Washington and six other U.S. fruit-producing states and in five Canadian provinces.
Drosophilae pierce the skin of soft fruits and lay eggs in them. Tiny holes on the skin of fruits and maggots in their flesh are telltale signs of the pest.