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European Cherry Fruit Fly

Adult European Cherry Fruit Fly. Photo Credit: USDA APHIS

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Common Name: European Cherry Fruit Fly
Scientific Name: Rhagoletis cerasi
Origin: Eurasia


Adult flies are mostly black with yellow to orange heads and a large, yellow dot on their back. Tiger-like markings on its wings distinguish them from similar, native species. Larvae can be found in developing cherries while pupae develop a few centimeters underground beneath cherry trees.


This species is an agricultural pest and can be found in cherry orchards, favoring sweet cherry trees. The European cherry fruit fly also utilizes invasive honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.) as hosts and can be found in invaded areas such as forests and meadows.


The European cherry fruit fly has the potential to drastically reduce the yields of cherry orchards, resulting in up to 100% crop loss if left unmanaged. Damage is caused by larval feeding.


Prevention is the current best management practice and people are advised to obey quarantines set up in infested areas. Integrated pest management strategies are being implemented within infested areas.


The most obvious symptom of an infestation is the presence of adult flies, though their short lifespan of 2-4 weeks limits the detection window. Larvae-infested cherries develop dark, soft spots and mature larvae leave behind visible exit holes.

Regional Distribution

Locally Common

The European Cherry Fruit Fly has been found on sweet cherry trees along the Niagara River. This was the first U.S. detection of this species and has resulted in a quarantine of parts of Niagara County.

WNY PRISM Priority

Tier 3 – Containment

NYS Invasive Species Tiers Chart – Tier Definitions


The European cherry fruit fly was likely introduced from Europe on infested cherries and has since spread with the movement of infested cherries.

Additional Resources:

Cornell Cooperative Extension: Fact Sheet

USDA APHIS: Fact Sheet

USDA-APHIS Species Profile

Michigan State University: Fact Sheet