Cherry fruit flies

Insect

Cherry fruit flies

Rhagoletis fausta (Osten Sacken)Rhagoletis cingulate (Loew)

Diptera: Tephritidae

Distribution: One or both species occur in most fruit-growing states and provinces in eastern North America, but R. fausta reaches only as far south as PA.


Black cherry fruit fly Rhagoletis fausta (Osten Sacken) Cherry fruit fly Rhagoletis cingulate (Loew) The adult cherry fruit fly is somewhat smaller than the house fly, with a yellowish brown head and legs, and white crossbands on the abdomen (A). The black cherry fruit fly is slightly larger and its abdomen is entirely black (B). The wings of both species are clear with characteristic markings; the bands on the black cherry fruit fly wings are darker and wider, with a characteristic "doughnut-hole" marking. Larvae of both species are cream-colored maggots with no legs or visible head; the posterior end is blunt, and the front end tapers to a point with 2 dark mouth hooks (C).

  • Crops Affected: Cherries

    Damage

    Both species attack cherry, piercing the fruit with the ovipositor to insert eggs singly just below the skin. A scar results, which may cause a dimple if the fruit is green (A). Larval feeding in the fruit separates the pit from the pulp and cause it to turn brown; sometimes the skin shrivels over the injured area. Infested fruit will not drop prematurely; brown rot (Monilinia sp.) can start in wormy fruit (D) and spread to other cherries.

    Management

    Remove unsprayed, abandoned cherry and wild Prunus trees in the area. Use yellow board traps to determine the first adult emergence. Apply insecticide sprays to prevent infestation starting 7 days after the first trap catch.

    Similar Species

    Apple maggot (Rhagoletis pomonella) is closely related and similar in appearance, but does not infest cherries, and may be distinguished by its wing banding pattern.

More Information on Similar Species

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