Cherry fruit fly, Rhagoletis cingulata, and the black variant of the same called R. fausta feed on cherry, pear, plum and similar trees belonging to the same family of plants. These insects are known to alter their hosts from time to time. However, managing them in orchards planted for commercial use is both easy and effective.
Cherry fruit flies are quite small when compared to the other house flies you may come across. The feature which sets them apart from the others of the kind is the black bands seen on their wings. The female cherry fruit fly has white bands across the abdomen. The absence of the same distinguishes it from black cherry fruit fly. The maggots of both the insects have a creamy white body. They would be legless with a tapered head. When they become mature, they would measure up to 16 inches.
Both of these insects complete one generation in a year. And, the adult ones come out of the soil mostly in June-July. It is also observed that the black variant of this insect comes one week before the actual cherry fruit fly.
The eggs get hatched within 2-3 weeks. And, the maggots make holes in the fruit as the feed on it. The larvae of the cherry fruit flies go through three instars in their lives. This process takes up to 3 weeks. The last instars drop on to the soil from the fruit. There, they make holes of three inches where they stay for a few days as pupae.
It is reported that it is the larvae which cause serious damage to the fruits. The infested fruits would look shrunken. They would even be ripe earlier than those around them. Marketing these fruits is simply out of the question.
How they get to your orchard
Cherry trees are there in a variety of colors, sizes and shapes offering a real feast for the eyes. Their utilitarian value too is great because they give us both shade and delicious fruits. The same applies to pests too. They too come in search of sources of food to these trees. And, the insect which create havoc in your cherry orchard is cherry fruit fly. It is observed that this is an insect which can be seen almost everywhere in the US.
There are numerous measures by which you can protect your orchards from cherry fruit fly infestation. One among the most effective among them is releasing its natural enemies. Allowing ladybugs to feed on your cherry trees is proven to be an effective way to protect your orchard from this infestation. If it fails, a careful use of pesticide can be of great help.
Getting rid of the infestation
If you feel that your orchard is infested with cherry fruit flies, the first thing you have to do is to monitor the same. You should be in a position to understand the extent of harm done to the trees. Monitoring them with the help of a sticky ball or a similar trap would be of great advantage to you in the matter. With the extent determined, the generally preferred option is hiring a professional to assist you in your attempts to eliminate the infestation for good.