Fruit fly decimates area olive crops

A recent increase in fruit flies has area olive growers seeing pits. Literally.

Glen Ellen resident Joshua Rymer has a small crop of olive trees on his property, which he grows and harvests as a hobby. But this year, there won’t be any olives to harvest.

The olive fruit fly, which has been in the Valley for more than 10 years, decimated Rymer’s olive crop.

The fly, Rymer said, lays eggs in the young olive in the summer period and those eggs and pupae eat the olives, destroying the flesh from the inside out.

“We looked around in October when the olives were ripening, then in the beginning of November, and you can see how deformed they’ve become,” Rymer said, adding he will have to pick the entire crop and dispose of it. “If you leave it (an infested tree) in place, it becomes home for next year’s fly infestation.”

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