Spotted Wing Drosophila

— Written By N.C. Cooperative Extension

Spotted wing drosophila (SWD) is a new and potentially devastating pest of fruit and vegetable crops in the South. SWD is a fruit fly that feeds on fruit with soft skin and especially likes the berry crops. This pest, unlike other fruit flies, actually feeds on sound, intact fruit. As a result, this can cause devastating losses to growers. SWD has been present in North America since 2008 and was found in NC in 2010. SWD has been found in eastern NC already in 2011.

The SWD is a small fruit fly, the females have a serrated oviposter and the males have one characteristic black spot on each of their wings. The females do not have spots on their wings. Monitoring for the pest is going on throughout NC. For more information and pictures of SWD, visit the NC Small Fruits IPM Blog by NCSU entomologist, Dr. Hannah Burrack at

SWD Management (from Dr. Hannah Burrack’s NC Small Fruits IPM Blog):

Sanitation is extremely important in managing SWD. In areas where SWD is present, all ripe fruit should be removed from the field or plants should be treated with insecticide regularly, with the interval depending upon the material used. Unmarketable fruit should be destroyed or removed from the site. Composting may not be sufficient to kill SWD larvae and may attract adults to rotting fruit. This presents a challenge to fruit breeding activities at research stations and will need to managed with care.”

For more information on SWD management:

For a factsheet with more information, visit this link:

Updated on Jun 30, 2012
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