The spotted wing drosophila, first detected in California in 2008, has become a major insect pest in caneberries and sweet cherries, causing commercial crop losses. Managing it is challenging because it has many other hosts, including riparian and backyard fruit plantings, and it increases rapidly, with generations overlapping one another. In our study we monitored trap captures in two parts of the San Joaquin Valley, within sweet cherry orchards and in nearby locations. Captures of adult flies showed two main periods of activity — spring and fall — and low captures in the winter (except for citrus and evergreen riparian areas) and summer. On many occasions during the year, trap captures were higher outside of the cherry orchards than within them. Additionally, early in the season, when decisions about control programs are being made, the sex ratio of captured flies in cherries was strongly female-biased. The results suggest that during the weeks leading up to harvest growers should experiment by placing traps in different environments surrounding their orchards to determine SWD activity and potential pest pressure locally, and monitor for both male and female flies.