worms in cherries

Asked October 11, 2018, 1:01 PM EDT

Hello, While growing up wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy back when, I heard that firm-flesh cherries do not get worms, only soft-flesh ones do. Over the years I have indeed NEVER seen a worm in either the Lambert cherries from my own tree, or in those firm-flesh ones that I bought in the market; but I have seen many times worms in soft-flesh cherries from the tree in my parents' garden. Is that just a coincidence, or do firm-flesh cherries really get no worms. Thank you! Erna

Jackson County Oregon insect issues fruit trees cherry trees

1 Response

Cherry fruits may be attacked by two different kinds of flies: The Western Cherry Fruit Fly and the much smaller Spotted Wing Drosophila. The worms you see are the larvae of these insects. SWD are invasive pests of soft-skinned fruits; they damage fruit prior to harvest and before it is fully ripe. The adult SWD are about the same size as nuisance fruit flies which fly around ripe and over-ripe fruits. The worms from SWD are much smaller than those from Western cherry fruit fly. If the worms are from SWD, the suggestion is to harvest daily, perhaps a little bit earlier than usual, and then to either eat or process them immediately; if needed, you can freeze the fruit as soon as harvested, and then make preserves or syrup at a later date. Your trees may not have been subjected to the invasion of these pests. The fruit you see in stores is most likely from orchards that have pest management strategies in place.

Here are a couple of publications you may find useful.

http://flathead.msuextension.org/documents/ag/yard-garden/Spray%20schedule%20for%20Cherries%20-%20WSU.pdf

http://www.canr.msu.edu/news/spotted_wing_drosophila_a_serious_pest_for_the_home_gardener

Hope this helps!