The spotted wing drosophila, a fly pest of fruit, has been confirmed in Missouri, making it "the summer's pest surprise."

The pest probably had been in the Show Me state for two to three years before being confirmed this summer, according to a news release.

Bruce Barrett, a University of Missouri Extension entomologist, said the pest could cause significant economic impacts to the state's fruit growers, especially smaller-scale ones.

The pest already had been confirmed in Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Unlike most other fruit flies that seek out rotting fruit in which to lay eggs, spotted wing drosophila like fruit just reaching maturity in which to oviposit.

Larvae feed in the internal flesh, rending the fruit unmarketable.

The egg-laying openings also provide entryways for fruit rot pathogens.

Field sanitation, including removing culls and dropped fruit, helps reduce overwintering habitat.

University of Missouri researchers plan to conduct research looking at strategies local growers can use to battle the pest.

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