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Fruit-damaging fly found in county

Jackson County has joined the dozen-plus other Oregon counties now dealing with an infestation of the spotted wing Drosophila fly.

The flies were first spotted locally by a student combing through a compost pile in the Ashland area.

Of the 3,000 species of Drosophila, commonly known as vinegar flies, approximately 175 are known in North America, according to the Oregon State University Extension Service. Two of these known species have been found to be harmful to crops, of which spotted wing Drosophila is one. The flies damage ripening fruit, as opposed to the overripe and fallen fruit that are infested by most other Drosophila species. Agriculture experts have discovered the flies in blueberries, wild blackberries, red raspberries, Marionberries, cherries, strawberries, plums, peaches, grapes, figs, hardy kiwis, and Asian pears.

— Greg Stiles