The last thing you want when you bite into a piece of fruit is to be confronted by a maggot - or worse, half of one - but more of us will soon be in danger with the arrival on these shores of a particularly nasty fruit fly.

The spotted wing drosophila has already made its way to France and experts predict it will reach the UK soon.

The likelihood of it hitting the UK was "very high", claimed Dr Michelle Fountain, an entomologist at horticultural research body East Malling Research Association.

"We're obviously not very far from France and it could be windborne or find a route to the UK through French fruit packhouses close to the farms," she said.

UK fruit crops are already subject to attack from the common fruit fly, which targets rotting and fermented fruit, but the threat from drosophila was far greater, claimed Fountain.

"The trouble with this species is it'll lay its eggs when the fruit is actually ripening, so obviously that has massive consequences for the fruit," she said. "There could be punnets with larvae in, and you might not know they are there."

Fruit attacked by the fly, which is endemic in Asia and only arrived in Europe in 2009, is quickly spoiled as the female bores through the fruit skin to lay eggs and the larvae burrow their way through the fruit flesh before hatching.

The fly tended to have a "massive impact" on grower practices in affected countries, said Fountain, as they had to spray crops with pesticides more frequently. This, in turn, had disrupted the normal harvesting cycle, because growers had to wait a certain amount of time before fruit that had been sprayed could be harvested.

Damage to strawberry, stone, bush and cane fruit crops has been recorded in other countries. Fountain warned that apples and pears could also be adversely ­affected, although it was less likely.

East Malling Research is urging UK growers to ­monitor for any signs of drosophila infestation.