Spotted Wing Drosophila – Facts for Fancy Fruit

Spotted Wing Drosophila

small, approximately 2 to 3.5 mm in length and 5 to 6.5 mm in wingspan and looks like its fruit and vinegar fly relatives. Its body is yellow to brown with darker bands on the abdomen and it has red eyes. The male has a distinct dark spot near the tip of each wing; females do not have the spotted wing.

Adult Male Spotted Wing Drosophila. Illustration by Phillip Kuhns.

It will soon be time to put your spotted wing drosophila traps in place. Recent research has shown that the commercially available SWD traps are as good as or better than the homemade traps that we have been recommending. Most significantly, we don’t have to mess with the sugar/yeast mixture anymore. We have had good luck with the Trece SWD trap and the Trece Pherocon SWD lure. In the bottom of the cup, you should put some water with a few drops of unscented dish soap. That clear liquid makes it a lot easier to find the flies than sorting through the sugar/yeast goop. Traps should be placed on stakes around the perimeter of your fields, preferably in the shade. If you have woods near your field, place the traps at the edge of the woods. We normally expect to see the first flies in late June, with populations starting to take off in July.

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