Rhagoletis cerasi, or European Cherry Fruit Fly (ECFF), is a pest of sweet and tart cherries of the Prunus species. ECFF also feeds on Lonicera, commonly known as honeysuckle, and other plants. This insect is native to Europe and parts of Asia. It was first discovered in New York State in 2017.
ECFF eggs are laid one per fruit and the larvae feed on the ripening fruit. This feeding damage leaves cherries and other fruits unmarketable as fresh or processed fruit. Unmanaged ECFF can cause a 100% crop loss. For the sweet and tart cherry industries, the combined harvest of which is valued at $873 million, that is a potential major loss.
New York State Department of Agriculture has put in place a quarantine in Erie, Niagara, and parts of Orleans counties to control the spread of ECFF.
The public can assist the Department in controlling the spread of ECFF by allowing survey crews to access private land so that program staff may place and monitor insect traps targeting ECFF.