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The Fruit Fly

August 22, 2019

The Fruit Fly

You're successfully growing your fruit tree and proudly observing it's green leaves, and blossoms gradually evolving in to delicious fruit, BUT then you see the tiny fruit flies feasting on your harvest! Luckily, there are ways to remove them from your garden, and prevent them from coming back. Read our quick guide to keeping your fruit trees free of fruit fly infestations with tips and tricks from our nursery team.

To control fruit fly you need to understand their life cycle

Fruit flies burrow into the soil, where they pupate. The brown pupal cases are about 5mm long and look like somewhat elongated hens’ eggs. They become active around the end of Winter, when the weather begins to warm.

Symptoms of fruit fly

These flies lay their eggs in small groups just beneath the skin of the fruit. When the larvae hatch, they often make their way to the centre of the fruit.

Control of fruit fly

Infested fruit must be removed from the ground or from the tree and destroyed by burning or boiling. Maggots will also be killed if the fruit is sealed in a plastic bag and left in the sun for several days. It must NOT be buried as this simply continues the normal life cycle of the insect.

Traps will only kill the adult fly but used in conjunction with sprays is generally effective – you need to remove all infected fruit straight away. If the infestation is extreme, then consider using a mixture of systems to control the fruit flies; fruit fly traps set up with lures and MAT cups work in conjunction to kill the flies.

Spraying can kill eggs and larvae in the fruit. If choosing to use a chemical spray avoid sprays with Fenthion (particularly toxic to birds). Previously, suitable fruit fly baits were a mixture of Maldison and protein (lure) but you need to be careful using Maldison as it is harmful to bees. 

Naturalure™ fruit fly Bait concentrate is a good all in one product to try. Apply per the manufacturer instructions.

Prevention of fruit flies

The most effective way to prevent fruit flies damaging your produce is to use fruit fly or insect proof netting. Such netting can be bought from some specialist garden centres and online retailers. Insect proof netting can be draped over trees and other crops or supported by a frame. Netting needs to be put up after pollination has occurred. This can take a while to do, but will give some of the best control possible.

Bugs for Bugs have some great fruit fly traps and sprays that might help 

Please refer to your 'Care Instruction, particularly the ‘Fruit Fly Baiting’ section.

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