US: Crop-damaging fruit pest found in North Dakota

A pest that feeds on fresh fruit has been found in North Dakota for the first time, officials said. The spotted-wing drosophila was found in cherries from the Carrington Research Extension Center in Eastern North Dakota's Foster County. The North Dakota State University Plant Diagnostic Laboratory in Fargo found larvae and one adult female in the fruit.

"This insect is capable of causing serious damage, and growers and gardeners should be on the lookout for the larvae in seemingly healthy fruits," Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said Thursday. "It can be confused with the common fruit fly, but it prefers fresh fruit while the fruit fly prefers rotting fruit."

The spotted-wing drosophila is about 3 millimeters long, yellowish brown in color with prominent red eyes. Males have dark spots on their wing tips. The pest is native to Asia. It was first found in the US in 2008 in California, and has since spread to other parts of the country. It was first detected in Minnesota last Summer.


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