A new fruit pest is making Minnesota home. State agriculture officials have confirmed the presence of the spotted wing drosophila.
The fly looks similar to small fruit flies and feeds on healthy, ripening fruits such as raspberries, blackberries and cherries. The invasive pest originated in Asia and was first detected in California in 2008. Since then the pest has spread to several western and eastern states.
Bob Koch, a research scientist with the state Department of Agriculture, said there is often no sign the fruit is infested until after it's harvested.
"The females cut a little hole through the skin of the fruits, they inject their eggs in there and then the larvae of the fly feed within the fruits," Koch said.
Officials say it's not clear how widespread the flies are in Minnesota. So far they've been confirmed in Hennepin and Ramsey counties and in Rochester.
"If you start to see a bunch of maggots showing up in some of the fruits that you've harvested, and if it was fruit that looked fine at harvest time, then that might be a pretty good indicator that that pest is in the area," Koch said.
Anyone who finds small, white maggots in what seemed to be healthy fruit is asked to call the state Agriculture Department.