Maine Blueberry Growers Monitoring New Fruit Fly
The Maine blueberry harvest season is just around the corner and Maine’s wild blueberry growers are keeping a lookout for a harmful new fruit fly that arrived in the United States five years ago that poses a threat to the crop.It’s the tiny spotted wing drosophila, a native of Asia, that first showed up in Maine blueberry fields last summer. Growers will learn how pervasive and widespread it is as the blueberries ripen in the next few weeks.
The fruit fly poses a threat because it lays its eggs in soft fruit as it ripens, damaging the fruit and making it unfit for sale.
Maine has 60,000 acres of wild-blueberry fields.Ninety-nine percent of those berries are sold as an ingredient for muffins, yogurt, jams and other food products.
This year’s harvest is projected to be about 86 million pounds, that’s down from last year’s 91 million pounds.