WSU Extension


Caption: Cherry fruit fly
Photo by: E.P. Breakey
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Cherry : Cherry fruit fly
(revision date: 3/10/2017)

Cherry fruit fly adults are brown to black flies with white bands across the abdomen. The wings are clear with distinctive dark bands. The fly is about 1/5" long. Eggs are laid beneath the skin of cherry fruit. Larvae are tapered, cream-colored to white maggots up to 1/4" long. The larvae burrow and feed inside the cherries, destroying the fruit. The maggots leave the fruit via an exit hole to pupate in the soil, sometimes remaining dormant for up to two or three years. Adults emerge beginning around May.
Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Parasitic wasps attack larvae. Avoid use of broad-spectrum insecticides which kill the wasps and other beneficial insects.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

Cherry fruit fly - present mid-May to last of July. Begin applications about May 20 to 25. When using malathion, apply at 10-day intervals and allow 3 days minimum time to harvest. When using spinosad, apply at 7- to 10-day intervals and make no more than 6 applications per season. Check spinosad label for minimum time to harvest. Homeowners should not make foliar applications to trees over 10 ft tall. Consult a commercial pesticide applicator for treatment of trees and shrubs over 10 ft. tall.

Listed below are examples of pesticides that are legal in Washington. Always read and follow all label directions.
  • Bonide Malathion Insect Control Conc
    Active ingredient: malathion  |  EPA reg no: 4-99
  • Bull's-Eye Bioinsecticide
    Active ingredient: spinosad (spinosyn A+D)  |  EPA reg no: 62719-314-56872
  • ferti-lome Borer, Bagworm, Tent Caterpillar & Leafminer Spray
    Active ingredient: spinosad (spinosyn A+D)  |  EPA reg no: 62719-314-7401
  • Monterey Garden Insect Spray [Organic]
    Active ingredient: spinosad (spinosyn A+D)  |  EPA reg no: 62719-314-54705
  • Ortho Bug B Gon Systemic Insect Killer Conc.
    Active ingredient: acetamiprid  |  EPA reg no: 8033-107-239
  • This list may not include all products registered for this use.
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Caption: Cherry fruit fly
Photo by: E.P. Breakey