If you grow fruit, it is actually your responsibility to actively control fruit fly in your back yard. Fruit flies reproduce ridiculously fast. Given the opportunity, they will lay about 500 eggs! The entire life-cycle from egg to adult can be completed in about a week. This is why fruit flies are the darling of genetics laboratories. |
It is heartbreaking to be nurturing a fruit tree for years, sustained by the anticipation of your first juicy fruit only to have your dream shattered by a tiny, flying bug and its larvae.
Fruit fly is responsible for more bad language from gardeners than any other pest. If you are lucky enough to live in a fruit fly free zone then count your blessings and do your bit to keep it that way. If you live in fruit fly zone, unless you are prepared to put in effort from year to year then a chainsaw may be your best solution. Fruit fly is a pest that needs a community approach; it could be the perfect opportunity to meet your neighbours for a street BBQ so you can plan a coordinated effort.
Fruit fly are an incredibly annoying pest - they can destroy a range of fruit and vegetable crops in a very short space of time.Unfortunately Fruit Fly are very difficult to control using purely organic methods; however you can help keep numbers down, and we will try and give you a few ideas which should help you enjoy the fruits of your labor
Fruit flies overwinter in garden debris, making it necessary to keep your garden area clean. Do not leave rotting fruit or vegetables or plant material in your garden. Just as in the kitchen, a clean garden area will help keep the flies at bay when you're controlling fruit flies.Getting rid of fruit flies in garden areas also involves proper compost bin management. Compost left unattended will attract an overwhelming number of fruit flies. Keep compost aerated/turned and, if possible, contained with a lid or a tarp to reduce the number of flies.
Physical and Cultural Pest Controls
All damaged fruit must be destroyed to break the cycle of infection. Remove any fruit from the tree with dimples or weeping clear sap as this is a sign that eggs have already been laid in the fruit. Destroy the fruit by feeding it to poultry, immersing it in water, or cooking it in a sealed, black plastic bag in the sun. Keep a container handy in the garden to dispose of infected fruit straight away. Getting in early is more effective than picking up rotten fruit from the ground as the maggots may have already left the fruit to pupate.
Ideally it would be best to avoid planting fruit fly prone trees Year-round management will be easier with dwarf or multi-grafted fruit trees. Alternatively you need the skill, time and tools to keep trees under 2.5 m high. A good rule of thumb when pruning stone fruit is that if you can't reach it, cut it off. In areas that have long cold winters fruit fly die off, making control simpler to achieve. In these areas early fruiting trees may miss the onslaught of fruit fly whereas late fruiting trees may be severely affected, due to population numbers increasing, through successive generations. Avoid planting fruits that you rarely eat, as these can become a source of reinfestation. Consider replacing poor quality and overgrown diseased trees with some newer varieties. If you really want to grow stone fruit then dwarf trees or espalier trees will make management easier.
The most effective organic pest control solution for the home gardener is exclusion. This simply involves covering either the individual piece of fruit, fruit clusters or the whole tree. It sounds time consuming but can be surprisingly easy and fast compared to the process of donning protective gear and spraying a chemical control several times through the fruiting season.
You may also seek at the end, some help from pros if the abovementioned controls will not work the way you expect it.
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