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Unidentified cherry pest

I have a mature sweet cherry tree which produces large amounts of fruit every year but this year I am having to discard at least half of the fruit as it has been attacked by a pest I have not come across before.  The symptoms are a pinprick size hole in the cherry which after a couple of days causes the surrounding area to turn brown with eventual rotting.  I have tried cutting a few open but there is nothing that is apparent to the naked eye.  I am sure it is coincidental but every other year multitudes of blackbirds, starlings and wood pigeons descend on the tree but they are almost totally absent this year, it is almost that they know there is something wrong with the fruit.

Can anyone suggest what is causing this?

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  • I had a look at the symptoms for all of these but they don't match the problem I have with this year's fruit.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 78,336

    European Cherry Fruitfly? http://www.mdpi.com/2075-4450/3/4/956/htm

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 78,336

    Another thought - Harlequin ladybirds?  If they damage grapes maybe they also damage cherries?

    I know the article says they eat fruit in the autumn when there are fewer aphids about, but ... http://www.arkive.org/harlequin-ladybird/harmonia-axyridis/

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • Many thanks, it is definitely European Cherry Fuitfly.  I can't find any references to it being recorded in the UK, is it something that is notifiable?  The pinprick holes are where the pest emerges so presumably perfect fruit should be checked in case there is a maggot still inside.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 78,336

    Don't know if it's notifiable - this is interesting https://secure.fera.defra.gov.uk/phiw/riskRegister/plant-health/documents/rhagoletisCingulataPRAsummary.pdf

    I think I would email DEFRA https://www.gov.uk/pests-and-diseases-in-fruit-and-vegetables and see what they have to say on the matter.

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • I reported it and was contacted today by the Animal and Plant Health Agency; they are sending someone around to take samples on Thursday.  I'll give an update when I know more.

  • Had some damaged cherries this year found this happened over night just before they are properly ripe after  two nights got fed up with more damage so removed rest of cherries they are nearly ready have enjoyed a good few. I suspected mice but have no hard evidence of the culprut ,very keen bird feeder just next door?best way of ripening anyone apart from leave on tree?

    regards kev

  • put some cherries in syrup today.had a few bruised ones left over. so put these in a covered ramekin with left over syrup early this morning. Just had a look with view to snack O dear!! maggot has a emerged  from a pin prick hole now visible.Is this the dreaded ECF?? I wonder and how much extra protein have I eaten in the passed !!?

    bush tucker Kev.

  • Had the visit this afternoon from the Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate.  It was something the inspector had not seen before.  She took an infected cherry away for lab analysis but said it was more likely a positive id could be made if I could locate a live maggot and she would come back if I could provide one. 

    She was interested that someone else had experienced the same symptoms and had seen a live maggot.  I am based in Bournemouth, where are you located Kev?

    I subsequently had success in locating some live maggots from the intact cherries.  They are very difficult to find and locate as they are very small, much smaller than the maggots I am used to getting in raspberries and blackberries.  When the cherry is cut they seem to quickly bury themselves in the flesh so I found that pitting the stone out first was not the best way to see them, much more likely to see them by cutting the cherry with the stone in.  I have 3 in a specimen pot but very good close vision is needed to see them with the naked eye, they are almost transparent.  I definitely will not be eating any more of the cherries this year.

     

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 78,336

    It's a shame that you can't eat the cherries and very worrying for the UK's cherry farmers - the work of the Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate is fascinating and so important.

    Please keep us informed.

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







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