WSU Extension


Currant, Gooseberry : Gooseberry maggot (Currant fruit fly)
(revision date: 3/10/2017)

The gooseberry maggot is the larval stage of the currant fruit fly. The adult flies are about 1/5" long, yellow to orange in color, and have dark bands across the wings. In the spring, female flies lay eggs just under the skin of developing currant or gooseberry fruit. Hatching maggots burrow under the skin and feed in the berries. Infested berries turn reddish and may drop, sometimes causing severe fruit loss. The mature white maggots are about 1/4" long. They drop from the fruit to the soil, where they overwinter as small, brownish, pupae about the size of wheat grains. Adult fruit flies typically emerge in mid- to late April and May.
Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Place tarps beneath bushes by mid-June to prevent larvae from entering soil to pupate.
  • Pick and destroy all infested fruit on a daily basis, when practical.
  • On new or uninfested plantings, screen plants with a floating row cover or similar barrier before adult flies emerge. For best fruit production, row covers must be placed at petal fall after pollination has occurred. Row covers placed after fruit formation begins may not be completely effective at preventing infestation. This may be ineffective on previously infested plantings unless the infestation has been eradicated.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

Esfenvalerate is registered for use ONLY on GOOSEBERRY, not on currants. Esfenvalerate is toxic to bees. Do not apply products containing esfenvalerate on or near blooming plants. To minimize risk to bees, apply in the evening after bees have stopped foraging for the day.

Listed below are examples of pesticides that are legal in Washington. Always read and follow all label directions.
  • Monterey Bug Buster II
    Active ingredient: esfenvalerate  |  EPA reg no: 1021-1778-54705
  • This list may not include all products registered for this use.
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Caption: Currant fruit fly larva
Photo by: K. Grey
Caption: Currant fruit fly larva and damage
Photo by: A.L. Antonelli