How to Manage Pests

UC Pest Management Guidelines

Cucurbits

Vinegar Flies

Scientific Name: Drosophila melanogaster

(Reviewed 11/05, updated 11/05)

In this Guideline:


DESCRIPTION OF THE PEST

Vinegar flies, also known as fruit flies, are small, tan to amber-colored flies with red eyes, about 0.12 inch (3 mm) long. Larvae are small, white, legless maggots that get up to 0.2 inch (5 mm) long. They differ from driedfruit beetle larvae in that they do not have a hardened head capsule.

DAMAGE

Damage is similar to the driedfruit beetle in that the presence of vinegar flies in fruit causes downgrading or rejection of fruit. Vinegar flies are also responsible for transmitting spoilage organisms to sound fruit. Late ripening varieties are especially susceptible to damage as vinegar flies become widespread in tremendous numbers.

MANAGEMENT

Vinegar flies breed in any fermenting or decaying fruit but do not affect undamaged fruit. Remove or disc under damaged fruit to reduce the population. Harvest rapidly and early to reduce exposure of fruit to infestation. Sanitation is key to control.

PUBLICATION

[UC Peer Reviewed]

UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Cucurbits
UC ANR Publication 3445

Insects and Mites

  • E. T. Natwick, UC Cooperative Extension, Imperial County
  • J. J. Stapleton, UC IPM Program, Kearney Agricultultural Center, Parlier
  • C. S. Stoddard, UC Cooperative Extension, Merced & Madera counties
Acknowledgment for contributions to Insects and Mites:
  • R. L. Coviello, UC Cooperative Extension, Fresno County
  • L. D. Godfrey, Entomology, UC Davis
  • C. B. Fouche, UC Cooperative Extension, San Joaquin County
  • C. G. Summers, Entomology, UC Davis/Kearney Agricultural Center, Parlier
  • J. B. LeBoeuf, AgriData Sensing, Inc., Fresno
  • M. Murray, UC Cooperative Extension, Colusa/Glenn counties

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