Greece’s production of olive oil is expected to fall this season as a result of fruit fly infection in trees, reports Olive Oil Times.

The world’s third largest olive oil producer beat production forecasts last year with almost 350,000 tonnes of output, with drought having minimal effects and practically no fruit fly invasion degrading both the quality and the quantity of olive oil, the 21 September report said.

However, this season’s harvest was expected to be lower mainly due to the production cycle of the olive trees, and the olive fruit fly making its presence felt in many areas of the country.

“The lack of the usual heat waves that hit Greece every summer and that would render the fly inactive, combined with the unnaturally high levels of rain, enabled the pest to reproduce and threaten the forthcoming production,” Olive Oil Times said. “A single female fruit fly can deliver about 200 eggs and, after a month, the new flies emerge with half of them being females able to make 200 more eggs. They exponentially increase their presence and it becomes hard to contain them if they start hatching.”

In the Lakonia area, for example, producers only expected to reach 40% of last year’s production of around 25,000 tonnes of olive oil.

While in the Aetolia-Acarnania region in central Greece, many olive groves were infected by the fly, the report added.