How to Manage Pests

UC Pest Management Guidelines


Vinegar Flies

Scientific names: Drosophila melanogaster, D. simulans, and other species

(Reviewed 6/06, updated 4/14)

In this Guideline:

Description of the Pests

Various species of Drosophila are known as vinegar or pomace flies. Adults are small, yellowish flies and are commonly attracted to fermenting fruit of all kinds. Populations build up as the fruit harvest season progresses. The 0.25-inch-long maggot-shaped larva can be found in cull and damaged fruit in the vineyards. Oblong pupae occur wherever larvae are found and have a forked breathing tube at one end. The life cycle in summer is only 7 to 8 days, with the adult laying 700 to 800 eggs in a 20- to 30-day life span.


Vinegar fly is a problem of damaged or cracked fruit. Eggs are laid in damaged or exposed fleshy tissue and larvae feed on the berries. The primary damage by this pest, however, is the sour rot organisms that it vectors from bunch to bunch in the vineyard.


The key to controlling vinegar fly is to reduce the incidence of summer bunch rot. Good fertilizer and irrigation management and use of gibberellins (Thompson Seedless only) may reduce the number of tight bunches, thus decreasing the incidence of bunch rot. Good sanitation practices in storage or processing plants are helpful in reducing populations of this pest. Preharvest treatments are not effective; pyrethrin materials are used postharvest to kill adult flies. In table grapes, note the presence of vinegar flies at harvest as an indicator of bunch rot diseases.

Common name Amount per acre** R.E.I.‡ P.H.I.‡
(example trade name)   (hours) (days)

  Calculate impact of pesticide on air quality
The following are ranked with the pesticides having the greatest IPM value listed first—the most effective and least harmful to natural enemies, honey bees, and the environment are at the top of the table. When choosing a pesticide, consider information relating to air and water quality, resistance management, and the pesticide's properties and application timing. Not all registered pesticides are listed. Always read the label of the product being used.
  (Pyrenone Crop Spray) Label rates 12 NA
  COMMENTS: Spray containers with 1 pt/150 gal water and as needed. Apply to fruit in field, storage, or processing plants.
  (Pyganic EC5.0II) 4.5–18.0 fl oz 12 0
  COMMENTS: To protect honey bees, apply only during late evening, night, or early morning when bees are not present.
  (Delegate WG) 3–5 oz 4 7
  COMMENTS: A stomach poison; most effective when ingested. Do not apply more than 19.5 oz/acre per crop per year or make applications less than 4 days apart. To protect honey bees, apply only during late evening, night, or early morning when bees are not present.
  (Entrust)# 1.25–2.5 oz 4 7
  (Success) 4–8 fl oz 4 7
  COMMENTS: Do not apply more than 7.5 oz/acre per crop per year. Labeled for the control of spotted wing drosophila. To protect honey bees, apply only during late evening, night, or early morning when bees are not present.
** Apply with enough water to provide complete coverage.
1 Rotate chemicals with a different mode-of-action Group number, and do not use products with the same mode-of-action Group number more than twice per season to help prevent the development of resistance. For example, the organophosphates have a Group number of 1B; chemicals with a 1B Group number should be alternated with chemicals that have a Group number other than 1B. Mode-of-action group numbers are assigned by IRAC (Insecticide Resistance Action Committee). For additional information, see their Web site at
Restricted entry interval (R.E.I.) is the number of hours (unless otherwise noted) from treatment until the treated area can be safely entered without protective clothing. Preharvest interval (P.H.I.) is the number of days from treatment to harvest. In some cases the R.E.I. exceeds the P.H.I. The longer of two intervals is the minimum time that must elapse before harvest.
NA Not applicable.



[UC Peer Reviewed]

UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Grape
UC ANR Publication 3448

Insects and Mites

W. J. Bentley, UC IPM Program, Kearney Agricultural Research Center, Parlier
L. G. Varela, UC IPM Program, Sonoma County
F. G. Zalom, Entomology, UC Davis
R. J. Smith, UC Cooperative Extension, Sonoma County
A. H. Purcell, Environmental Science, Policy and Management, UC Berkeley
P. A. Phillips, UC IPM Program, Ventura County
D. R. Haviland, UC IPM Program, Kern County
K. M. Daane, Kearney Agricultural Research Center, Parlier
M. C. Battany, UC Cooperative Extension, San Luis Obispo County
Acknowledgment for contributions to Insects and Mites:
J. Granett, Entomology, UC Davis

Top of page

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
All contents copyright © 2014 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

For noncommercial purposes only, any Web site may link directly to this page. FOR ALL OTHER USES or more information, read Legal Notices. Unfortunately, we cannot provide individual solutions to specific pest problems. See our Home page, or in the U.S., contact your local Cooperative Extension office for assistance.

Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

Accessibility   /PMG/r302301611.html revised: May 19, 2014. Contact webmaster.