The Spotted Wing Drosophilla is a fruit fly that kills fruit as they are ripening on the vine or tree. What makes this fruit fly different from every other fruit fly is that most fruit flies, as everyone knows, attack fruit that is over ripe or damaged. These special killers cut into the fruit, lay eggs and as the eggs mature they literally suck the life out of the fruit making it into a mushy mess. Hence the nick name, Dracula Fruit Fly.
I have a blueberry field that I am obsessive about. I net it from the birds. I hang copper tape to repel slugs. I hang CDs to further deter birds. It looks a 1980 Disco area in the sun. I plant flowers to encourage the bees. I worry the field from May through August. Other obsessive gardeners can feel my pain. Now I have a new pest. More than a pest it is a villain.
Fruit flies have a short life span, but the Dracula FF in a couple of weeks is capable of producing 10 generations each season. Being an organic gardener, the option of spraying is out of the question. So what is an obsessive blueberry gardener to do?
One of the researchers is Dr. Amy Dreves, and entomologist at Oregon State University, is optimistic that a remedy can be found. She suggests thinking like a fly. Visions of the creepy book and movie, The Fly quickly come to mind. It is unsettling for me, the home grower; it could be devastating to farmers of berries, peaches, apricots, plums, grapes, and more fruits, and all our grocery bills. You did read that correctly, grapes, as in wine grapes from California to Washington State are in peril!
We are all hoping this scare goes the way of other scary disease epidemic predictions and never really happens. Right now in the Willamette Valley no reports or traps have reported this new source of evil. I am putting out cups of vinegar hanging from my bushes that is supposed to deter the evil fly. It must be the equivalent to garlic as a detriment. Whatever it takes for my blueberries!