'Fruit fly' becoming more prevalent in Rogue Valley

Wet springs, warm-but-not-too-hot summers and an abundance of wild blackberries have led to an infestation of the spotted wing drosophila locally.

Damage caused by the fly, which can ruin berry and cherry crops, "has gotten worse every year and certainly is not going to get better," said Rick Hilton, an entomologist with the Oregon State University Extension Service in Jackson County.

The fly came from Asia four years ago and has infested the entire United States, preferring to lay its larvae on cherries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, making them unfit to eat or market, Hilton said.

"They're still increasing in numbers and they have no problem living in the Rogue Valley," says Hilton, noting the wet springs of 2010 and 2011 aided in the spread. "A lot of small growers are having to spray (insecticides) a lot more than they used to."

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