Fruit fly threatens Wisconsin berry crops

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HELENVILLE, Wis. (WMTV)-- The spotted wing drosophila, a type of fruit fly, continues to keep Wisconsin berry farmers on high alert because it is shortening the lives of their fruit.

While harmless to eat, this fly continues to spoil fruit in only a matter of hours.

It's been around for about 4 years, but farmers say prevention is difficult. The flies are also infesting earlier, leaving the farmers frustrated.

“We did not plant any fall [raspberries] because we cannot keep up with them anymore. We have eliminated one whole season of raspberries because of this insect. We can’t count on being able to keep ahead of it long enough to have decent fruit in the fall,” said Jody Knoebel, the owner of Jelli’s Market in Helenville.

University of Wisconsin researchers expect the population to grow and are looking for ways that farmers can adapt to these insects. They are studying the bug's habits, when to spray insecticide, and if there is a predator that can kill this type of fly.

Farmers says they aren't the only ones being affected. This type of fly can be found on almost any berry plant, including those in home gardens. The study's results are expected to be released by the end of the year.