New ag pest may be added to Walla Walla-area target list

The spotted wing drosophila is up for consideration and comments are sought.

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WALLA WALLA -- A major threat to the Walla Walla Valley's berry and grape crops will be the topic of a meeting Thursday.

The Walla Walla Horticulture Pest and Disease Control Board is seeking comments on adding the spotted wing drosophila to the board's list of target pests to monitor and control. The board will hold a hearing at 1:30 p.m. in the Walla Walla County WSU Extension Office auditorium, 328 W. Poplar St.

Written comments may also be submitted to the extension office prior to the meeting.

Five new sightings of the fruit fly were confirmed in the Milton-Freewater area last fall. The midge-sized flies have the potential to cause millions of dollars in damages to the fruit crops.

The flies are a common problem in California, Western Washington and Oregon, along with British Columbia. Seen in parts of Japan, Korea and China, the fly was unknown in the U.S. until it appeared in California in 2008.

The pest was not present in Oregon until 2010, according to state agriculture officials. But in a single growing season it spread across the state.

Information is available at 524-2685 or hort@co.walla-walla.wa.us.

Read more online

Spotted wing drosophila project website: ubne.ws/xxkP8n

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