FLESH-EATING maggots and extreme heat cause olive oil prices to rocket.

Growers have named 2014 as the worst year for olives in 15 years, dubbing it a ‘black year’ for production.

A bottle of olive oil could now cost more than a bottle of expensive wine, as prices from producers have increased by more than 100% since the same time last year.

The International Olive Council (IOC) said production will hit its lowest level in 15 years and supply was down by almost a third.

Insects such as the olive fruit fly – whose maggots hatch deep within the olive before gnawing their way out – and starlings have damaged vast swathes of crops.

An exceptionally warm May and June also affected the blooming of trees at a time when moisture is vitally important to the development of the olive.

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