The Q&A Archives: getting rid of cherry fruit worms

Question: in the fruit and in the ground

Answer: Those worms are the larvae of the cherry fruit fly. In the spring, adult flies lay eggs under the skin of the cherries, and in a larval form, the maggots (or worms) feed on the inner meat of the cherry. As the cherries ripen, the larvae drop to the soil and remain in a dormant state until the next spring where they emerge as mature flies, to lay eggs in both sweet and tart cherries.

It is very difficult to tell if there are fruit fly maggots in maturing cherries. The fly's eggs and the puncture wound left from where the female fruit fly inserted them are very small and not readily detectable, but a puncture wound may show up as a divot on the surface of the cherries when ripened. When untreated cherries are ripe, the cherries that have a small hole in them may be safer to eat than the ones with out, as that is the exit hole of the maturing larvae.

The best way to control cherry fruit flies is by not allowing them to get into the fruit, making it necessary to treat the cherries periodically with a pesticide. Malathion? is the best insecticide for homeowners to use for this purpose. Because only a three-day waiting period is required before eating the cherries, you can keep spraying the fruit until it is almost ripe.

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