New Cherry Pest Found In California

A new, potentially serious pest of sweet cherries showed up recently in ripening cherries in Northern California orchards. It has been tentatively identified as a drosophilid fruit fly of unknown genus and species, says Bill Coates, a University of California Cooperative Extension farm advisor for San Benito, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara and Monterey Counties.

These are flies usually associated with damaged or decaying fruit and are called vinegar flies, says Coates. In this particular case the fruit appears undamaged except for what appears to be ‘stings’ on the surface of the fruit and maggots feeding within the fruit. Early varieties such as Early Burlat and Black Tartarian have been extensively damaged in Santa Clara County. Growers are beginning to apply protective sprays to guard against infestation of the main ‘Bing’ crop.

The pest has also appeared in the northern San Joaquin Valley, says Coates, who adds that he doesn’t yet know whether other fruits are susceptible. This is an excellent example of the collaboration between growers, pest control advisers, UC Cooperative Extension, agricultural commissioners and the California Department of Food and Agriculture, he says.

“I was first informed of this pest on Thursday, May 14 by a pest control adviser and a cherry grower,” he says. “I was able to determine from the symptoms that it was not light brown apple moth but a fruit fly of some type. I provided fruit fly traps to growers by late Thursday. On Friday samples from both infested fruit and fruit fly traps were taken by the Santa Clara County Agricultural Commissioners office to Sacramento for identification by the CDFA.”

The species of drosophila has still not been confirmed by the CDFA, says Coates. It does not seem to match existing North American species. These are drosophilid, not tephritid fruit flies – the latter group contains most of our common fruit-infesting fruit flies. It has been found infesting cherries in Santa Clara, Yolo and Stanislaus counties with unconfirmed reports from other counties. A similar, if not the same drosophila, is also infesting strawberries and caneberries in Santa Cruz County.

“Most cherry growers in the Central Coast are applying multiple GF-120 bait sprays and doing extensive sorting of fruit. I am trying a variety of trap types but the presence of the common drosophila species – drosophila melanogaster, complicates monitoring,” says Coates. “Currently, the best indication of infestation is to check early-ripening pollenizers such as Black Tartarian and Early Burlat and then apply controls to protect the main Bing crop. There is no replicated research on control measures for these type of flies in California in cherry orchards.”

Leave a Reply

6 comments on “New Cherry Pest Found In California

  1. I am observing a bug that resembles Western Conifer Seed Bug in our Bing cherry tree. It inserts its probiscus into the cherry, and then the cherry rots in that spot. The bug stinks when handled. Can you identify and help with control? Thanks.

  2. Following is a response we received to Deborah’s question:

    Hi Deborah,

    My name is Mike Bush. I am an entomologist and an extension educator with WA State University with a responsibility for pest management in tree fruit here in Yakima COunty.

    I am familiar with the Western Cone Seed Bug (WCSB) and it is very common from Washington to New York State (my home state). I saw a publication that says WCSB was first identified in the State of California. It is associated exclusively with pine trees, but does produce quite a stink when handled. We routinely have problems with a pest called the western boxelder bug that damage cherries and it stinks too, but does not look like WCSB.

    Interesting, there are at least ten related bug species to WCSB in the genus Leptoglossus in North America and one called the western leaf-footed plant bug (Leptoglossus zonatus) has been reported as a pest in citrus,cotton, watermelon and soft fruits. They look very similar. If you are able to capture a specimen of your little culprit, freeze it dead and then ship it too me, I could key the sample down for an identity. Alternatively, you could send it to the WSU Puyallup Plant Clinic at 2606 W. Pioneer, Puyallup, WA 98371, but there may be a fee involved. Also digital images of the damage on cherry (or damaged cherries) might be useful in making the diagnosis.

    My mailing address is:
    Mike Bush
    WSU- Yakima County Extension
    104 N. 1st Street
    Yakima, WA 98901-2605

    Sincerely,
    Michael

  3. I am observing a bug that resembles Western Conifer Seed Bug in our Bing cherry tree. It inserts its probiscus into the cherry, and then the cherry rots in that spot. The bug stinks when handled. Can you identify and help with control? Thanks.

  4. Following is a response we received to Deborah’s question:

    Hi Deborah,

    My name is Mike Bush. I am an entomologist and an extension educator with WA State University with a responsibility for pest management in tree fruit here in Yakima COunty.

    I am familiar with the Western Cone Seed Bug (WCSB) and it is very common from Washington to New York State (my home state). I saw a publication that says WCSB was first identified in the State of California. It is associated exclusively with pine trees, but does produce quite a stink when handled. We routinely have problems with a pest called the western boxelder bug that damage cherries and it stinks too, but does not look like WCSB.

    Interesting, there are at least ten related bug species to WCSB in the genus Leptoglossus in North America and one called the western leaf-footed plant bug (Leptoglossus zonatus) has been reported as a pest in citrus,cotton, watermelon and soft fruits. They look very similar. If you are able to capture a specimen of your little culprit, freeze it dead and then ship it too me, I could key the sample down for an identity. Alternatively, you could send it to the WSU Puyallup Plant Clinic at 2606 W. Pioneer, Puyallup, WA 98371, but there may be a fee involved. Also digital images of the damage on cherry (or damaged cherries) might be useful in making the diagnosis.

    My mailing address is:
    Mike Bush
    WSU- Yakima County Extension
    104 N. 1st Street
    Yakima, WA 98901-2605

    Sincerely,
    Michael

Featured Stories

CitrusAg Land Value Goes Back To The Future
December 20, 2014
Good ground and longevity are the best positions moving forward. Read More
VegetablesSeminis Hosts Growers For Its 2014 Southeastern Field Day
December 19, 2014
Seed company showcases new varieties available now and in the pipeline. Read More
CitrusFeed The People With Food And Food For Thought [Opinion]
December 19, 2014
Educating the general public about agriculture is a daunting task that can be accomplished one bite at a time. Read More
CucurbitsNew Product Takes Aim At Nematodes
December 19, 2014
NIMITZ receives EPA and Florida registrations. Read More
Crop ProtectionSuccess Sans Methyl Bromide Could Prove Costly
December 19, 2014
Economic factors must be accounted for when seeking a suitable replacement. Read More
VegetablesEnza Zaden Cuts Ribbon For New Florida Vegetable Research Facility
December 18, 2014
Seed company shows off new digs and new varieties at its Myakka City field station. Read More
VegetablesRispens Seeds Highlights Their Latest Vegetable Varieties
December 18, 2014
For more information, contact: Rispens Seeds 1357 Dutch American Way, P.O. Box 310, Beecher, IL 60401 708-946-6560; 888-874-0241; fax: 708-946-6115 Read More
Protected Agriculture2014 Marks The 50th Anniversary Of The Double-Poly Greenhouse [sponsor content]
December 18, 2014
Double-poly greenhouses revolutionized the greenhouse industry back in the 1960s, opening the way for developments that still impact the industry 50 years later. Read More
CitrusSouthwest Florida Citrus Bus Tour Yields Learning Opportunity
December 18, 2014
Find out what Florida Grower editor Frank Giles saw and heard during Peace River Valley Citrus Growers Association's annual outing. Read More
Fruits6 Food Trends For 2015
December 17, 2014
University of Florida experts predict what will be cooking for the upcoming year. Read More

The Latest

CitrusAg Land Value Goes Back To The Future
December 20, 2014
Good ground and longevity are the best positions moving forward. Read More
VegetablesSeminis Hosts Growers For Its 2014 Southeastern Field D…
December 19, 2014
Seed company showcases new varieties available now and in the pipeline. Read More
CitrusFeed The People With Food And Food For Thought [Opinion…
December 19, 2014
Educating the general public about agriculture is a daunting task that can be accomplished one bite at a time. Read More
CucurbitsNew Product Takes Aim At Nematodes
December 19, 2014
NIMITZ receives EPA and Florida registrations. Read More
Crop ProtectionSuccess Sans Methyl Bromide Could Prove Costly
December 19, 2014
Economic factors must be accounted for when seeking a suitable replacement. Read More
VegetablesEnza Zaden Cuts Ribbon For New Florida Vegetable Resear…
December 18, 2014
Seed company shows off new digs and new varieties at its Myakka City field station. Read More
VegetablesRispens Seeds Highlights Their Latest Vegetable Varieti…
December 18, 2014
For more information, contact: Rispens Seeds 1357 Dutch American Way, P.O. Box 310, Beecher, IL 60401 708-946-6560; 888-874-0241; fax: 708-946-6115 Read More
Protected Agriculture2014 Marks The 50th Anniversary Of The Double-Poly Gree…
December 18, 2014
Double-poly greenhouses revolutionized the greenhouse industry back in the 1960s, opening the way for developments that still impact the industry 50 years later. Read More
CitrusSouthwest Florida Citrus Bus Tour Yields Learning Oppor…
December 18, 2014
Find out what Florida Grower editor Frank Giles saw and heard during Peace River Valley Citrus Growers Association's annual outing. Read More
Fruits6 Food Trends For 2015
December 17, 2014
University of Florida experts predict what will be cooking for the upcoming year. Read More
VegetablesReed’s Seeds Showcases Their Latest Vegetable Var…
December 17, 2014
For more information, contact: Reed’s Seeds 3334 NYS 215 Cortland, NY 13045 607-753-9095; fax: 607-753-9511 rsjackie@twcny.rr.com Read More
CitrusStudy: Florida Citrus Valued At More Than $10 Billion
December 17, 2014
Industry continues to have large impact on the state’s economy. Read More
Apples & PearsNovember Cold May Hurt Washington Orchards
December 17, 2014
But it’s too early to tell if well-below-normal temperatures will increase tree mortality. Read More
NutsAlmond Growers Lose Trees In Storm
December 17, 2014
Last week’s welcome rains in California knocked down trees, especially older ones. Read More
NutsAlmond Conference Draws Record Attendance
December 17, 2014
Nearly 3,000 industry professionals attend 42nd annual event in Sacramento, CA. Read More
Insect & Disease UpdateManage HLB From The Bottom Up
December 17, 2014
Finding the right balance between the roots and shoots is critical to disease mitigation. Read More
VegetablesVariety Trials 2014: Seedway
December 17, 2014
As part of American Vegetable Grower’s (AVG) 2014 variety trial coverage, we visited Seedway’s seed trial at Spiral Path Organic Farm in Loysville, Read More
OrganicUSDA Proposes Expansion Of Organic Assessment Exemption
December 17, 2014
Action would increase the entities exempt from paying assessments for promotion programs on products certified as “organic” or “100% organic.” Read More