Game Changer! A New Fruit Fly Puts Northern Michigan’s Orchards at Risk.

Anne-Marie Oomen Writer & Teacher
Anne-Marie Oomen
Writer & Teacher

A new, particularly dangerous species of fruit fly has invaded Northwest Lower Michigan. Not the ordinary fruit fly that loves overripe and rotting fruit, this one cuts through the skin on young, healthy fruit to lay its eggs, ruining whole crops. Known as the spotted wing drosophila or SWD, this bug is threatening the entire soft-fruit industry of our region.

For this story, Michigan poet, playwright and memoirist, Anne-Marie Oomen explores what this invasion means to the iconic cherry crop of the Grand Traverse Region. Anne-Marie interviews Dr. Nikki Rothwell, IPM Educator and Coordinator of MSU’s Northwest Michigan Horticulture Research Center.

Nikki Rothwell, Ph.D. IPM Educator Coordinator of MSU's Horticulture Research Station Leelanau County
Nikki Rothwell, Ph.D.
IPM Educator
Coordinator of MSU’s Horticulture Research Station
Leelanau County

Without a doubt, Nikki says, this little beast is a real game changer for the region’s fruit growers. A great deal of work needs to be done to understand SWD and combat it. And the industry needs to move quickly because the threat is growing.

To read Anne-Marie’s feature-length essay about SWD and what it means to our region, look for the May 26th issue of the Glen Arbor Sun.

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