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Bug of the Week is Back!

On June 11th, we started doing our Bug of the Week again, so be sure to check that out!  Each week during the growing season we will showcase a different ‘bug’ that maybe you’ve never seen before or don’t know very much about.  This week’s special bug is a species of rove beetle called a “Hairy Rove Beetle.”

Image Description: Photo of a Hairy Rove beetle beside a U.S. dime for scale purposes

Emerald Ash Borer Now Confirmed in Maine!

The very destructive Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis), or EAB for short, is an invasive, metallic green beetle native to Asia which until May of this year (2018) had not been found in Maine.  It was confirmed in Madawaska on May 22nd by a joint DACF – U.S. Forest Service (USFS) team (find the story here).  It was confirmed in Vermont (in February of this year; 2018) so it has now been found in at least 33 states.

Our forest service officials at the Maine Dept. of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry, would still like people to familiarize themselves with the Signs and Symptoms of Emerald Ash Borer Infestation and to make a report (and take photos if you can) if you feel you’ve found further evidence of them on any ash trees here in Maine.

Emerald Ash Borer Confirmed in Vermont!

On February 27th, 2018, Vermont State authorities announced that the first evidence of the invasive forest pest–the dreaded “emerald ash borer”–was confirmed there, bringing the total number of states where it has been found to 32.   It has still not been confirmed anywhere in Maine, but our forest service officials at the Maine Dept. of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry, are asking people to familiarize themselves with the Signs and Symptoms of Emerald Ash Borer Infestation and to make a report (and take photos if you can) if you feel you’ve found evidence of them on any ash trees here in Maine.  Click here to see the full announcement.

January’s extreme cold unlikely to have killed ticks

Read about it here:

Image Description: Deer Tick (Black-legged Tick)

Moths in Snow, let the Maine Forest Service Know!

The Maine Forest Service is encouraging the public to report winter moth sightings again this December through an online survey: You can find out more, and view their news release, at

It’s Fruit Fly Season (each Fall)

Jim Dill, a pest management specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with the Bangor Daily News about fruit flies and what to do when they invade your kitchen. Fruit flies, also known as vinegar flies, are attracted to overripe fruits as well as yeast and cider-laden products, Dill said. At this time of year, when an abundance of fruits are in season locally, Dill said the population of fruit flies in the environment spikes. The flies make it into homes via the overripe fruit itself or through an open door or window, the BDN reported. “That bowl of apples might look good sitting on the counter this time of year, but if they get a little soft or get a bruise on them, it doesn’t take much [to attract fruit flies],” he said. While it’s “almost impossible” to prevent fruit flies from getting into your home, according to Dill, you can stop the flies from taking over your kitchen space by covering your trash and keeping all produce in the refrigerator or covered. Once inside, the only way to deal with fruit flies is to “trap them out,” Dill said, by keeping items they are attracted to out of reach and using homemade solutions, such as apple cider vinegar in the bottom of a bottle, to capture and kill the pests.

The Bangor Daily News also spoke with David Handley, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension specialist of vegetables and small fruits, for an article about the invasive spotted-wing drosophila’s harmful effects on late-season berries. With warm weather prolonging the viability of raspberries and strawberries, the high populations of spotted-wing drosophila being detected could ravish the berries before farmers get to them, according to Handley. While the common fruit fly uses decomposing skin of overripe fruit to lay its larvae and multiply within the fruit, the spotted-wing drosophila is able to pierce the skin of soft-skinned berries that haven’t fully ripened yet and lay eggs within the fruit, Handley said. “When you as a farmer go to pick your fruit, even though it’s barely ripe, it is turning to goo. The reason it has turned to goo is because the larvae in there have started to hatch and are feasting on the fruit,” Handley said. “Your fruit starts to melt away from the inside out.” Since the flies have only been detected in Maine in recent years, Handley said the problems they cause have “really changed the game” in terms of late-season berries. With the spotted-wing drosophila population normally building in August, early berries are generally safe, the article states. Mainebiz also cited the BDN report.

Image Description: 2 images side by side of a fruit fly

Image Description: Male and Female spotted wing drosophila

Browntail Moth Sightings

Mainers, have you seen fat, fuzzy white moths around your lights over the past three to four weeks? The Maine Forest Service (MFS), Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry would like your help in tracking the moth flight: News Release and Form for Reporting Moth Sightings

For more information on Browntail Moth, please visit MFS’ Browntail Moth information page.

Eliminate Browntail Caterpillars Now! (February)

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, is informing people that February is an ideal time to be looking for webbed-together leaves (housing overwintering browntail moth caterpillars) at the tips of apple, crab apple, plum and oak tree branches.  If you find any of them, clip them out and submerge them in a bucket of soapy water; do not just clip them and leave them on the ground, as the caterpillars may still survive and find their way back to the trees in the spring when they become active and hungry again.

View the News Release (with helpful photos and links) here (


Springtails Springing Into Action

Check out our ‘Bug of the Week‘ to learn about the extremely small but fascinating and peculiar little red-colored critters (and some of their relatives) that people across the state have been noticing lately: springtails!

Image Description: Dissecting scope photo of a red-colored springtail

What Home Gardeners Need to Know about Spotted Wing Drosophila

Click on photos to enlarge.

Spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) is a new insect pest that can infest berries and other soft fruit that ripen from mid-summer through fall, including day-neutral (everbearing) strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. This is a small fruit fly, similar to the type that hovers around the over-ripe bananas in your kitchen. However, unlike other fruit fly species, spotted wing drosophila will lay its eggs in fruit before it ripens, causing the fruit to be contaminated with small white maggots just as it is ready to pick. Infested fruit quickly softens and has no shelf life.

Spotted wing drosophila recently came into the U.S. from northern Asia, and has infested berry crops from California to Maine over the past three years. Each female fly can lay hundreds of eggs, and a new generation can be completed in less than two weeks. Thus, millions of flies can be present soon after the introduction of just a few into a field. This makes spotted wing drosophila very difficult to control, and frequently repeated insecticide sprays (1 to 2 times per week) may be needed to prevent infestations once the insect is present in a field.

Spotted winged drosophila can successfully overwinter in Maine, although it may not build up to damaging levels until late in the summer. Keeping fields clean of over-ripe and rotten fruit can reduce the incidence of this insect. Good pruning to keep plants open can also reduce drosophila populations, because they prefer a shady, humid environment. Covering small plantings with a fine screen mesh can provide a barrier to keep the flies away from developing fruit. The mesh size must be no larger than one millimeter to be effective.

Traps for spotted wing drosophila are easy to make and may catch lots of the flies, but they may not be effective in keeping all flies out of the fruit. A red plastic 16 to 18-ounce cup with a lid and about 20 holes, 1/8” in diameter, drilled up near the rim will make a good trap. Leave one side of the cup with no holes so that liquid can be poured in and out. Bait the trap with about 4 ounces of apple cider vinegar and place it near the planting in a cool, shady area just a foot or so off the ground. Empty and re-bait the trap weekly, but do not pour the old bait on the ground near the trap. Traps are mostly used to monitor for the presence of spotted wing drosophila. Other species will also be attracted to the bait, so you must be able to properly identify the species. Several fact sheets are available online to help with identification. Using traps to control the flies has not proven highly effective or practical. Traps need to be placed no more than 20 feet apart within each plant row in order to catch enough flies to reduce injury to the fruit.

Insecticides that can provide control of drosophila include spinosad, pyrethrum, and malathion. If you choose to use an insecticide, look for a product that contains one of these ingredients and is approved for use on the crop you are trying to protect. Follow all product label instructions and precautions. Applications should begin when spotted wing drosophila is known to be active in the vicinity and the fruit has started to color. Spraying once weekly may provide adequate control, but tightening the spray schedule to every 3 to 5 days may be necessary under heavy infestations.

For information on identifying spotted wing drosophila and making your own monitoring traps, visit Penn State’s Spotted Wing Drosophila website.

Image Description: Male and Female spotted wing drosophila

Image Description: Spotted Wing Drosophila Trap


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Home and Garden IPM from Cooperative Extension
491 College Avenue
Orono, ME 04469-5741
Phone: 207.581.3880 or 1.800.287.0279 (in Maine)E-mail:
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469