New Pest Targets Adair County Berries

A new and unwanted guest is making itself at home in northeast Missouri gardens, potentially damaging crops of blackberries, raspberries, tomatoes and more. Extension Service officials say the Spotted Wing Drosophila was recently confirmed as the latest invasive insect species to reach Adair County. Horticulture Specialist Jennifer Schutter says while the pest had been identified in southern Missouri earlier this summer, Adair County had previously been spared. SWD is a small vinegar or “fruit” fly about 2-3 millimeters in length. The males have one black dot on each wing while females lack the dot and have a serrated ovipositor at the tip of their abdomens. Unlike other fruit flies that lay eggs in damaged fruit, the SWD is able to puncture the skin of healthy berries.