Bad Buzz Around Georgia Blueberries

By: Eames Yates Email
By: Eames Yates Email

By: Eames Yates

There's a buzz around Georgia’s biggest fruit crop, and it isn't necessarily good.

This year's blueberry crop in Georgia isn't being threatened by bad weather or low prices; instead, it's a fly, the spotted wing drosophilia, barely visible to the naked eye.

The spotted wing drosophila has the ability to penetrate and lay eggs in ripening blueberries where as most vinegar flies or fruit flies will only lay eggs in damaged or old fruit.

The flies originated in Japan, and are now being found on farms in Lanier and Lowndes County.

The best way to get rid of them is to spray chemicals from the air, which can get pricey.

"You can get a pilot and an airplane and normally the chemicals for about twenty dollars an acre,” Tyrone Mallory, Blueberry Farmer, said. “But when you're spraying two hundred and fifty acres, and some are spraying four or five hundred acres, then that adds up to be quite a bit of money."

The University of Georgia is studying this insect and they are looking for ways to treat for it and this season it will probably not be eradicated because it lives naturally in the wild.

It's too soon to tell how much money it will cost Georgia’s blueberry producers because they're still harvesting, but the fly is expected to be a pest when it comes to profits.


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