Fruit flies (Ceratitis spp., Bactrocera spp., Dacus spp.)
Fruit fly females lay eggs under the epidermis of the fruit. After emerging from eggs maggots generally move to the core to feed, but they may also feed on the walls of the fruit. This causes secondary rot and premature fruit fall. An infested fruit usually has a small dimple where the female fly deposited an egg. As the maggot matures inside the fruit, the fruits turn red prematurely, becoming soft and rotten.
Soft spots can often be seen where the maggot has fed on the fruit. When infested fruit is picked, the cap usually separates from the fruit because the maggot has eaten the core. Fruit may drop from the plant. Maggots remain in peppers until fully grown (from 2 to 3 weeks). At this time the maggot leaves the pepper, drops to the soil to pupate. Yield losses can be considerable. One maggot can destroy an entire fruit.
- Plough and harrow before planting. This exposes pupae in the soil to natural enemies and desiccation.
- Monitor fruit flies to determine when they arrive in the crop. Check the crop regularly and use bait traps.
- Collect and destroy damaged fruit.