Monday, 25 January 2016

Organic Approach to Pest Control - Part I Fruit fly




As gardeners we will always have to deal with pests. As Oliver Wendell Holmes said "On every stem, on every leaf, and at the root of everything that grew, was a professional specialist in the shape of grub, caterpillar, aphis, or other expert, whose business it was to devour that particular part." 

Over the coming months there will be posts written about an organic approach to attacking some common garden pests. The first post is about the fruit fly.

Let us look at one common pest - the fruit flyThere are some sound husbandry measures that can assist in this pest's limitation. One way is to always remove spent fruit that has fallen on the ground. By leaving them on the ground, this is a sure fire way for enabling pests to breed up. If there are fruit or vegetables that have been infected, prompt removal is the way to go - sometimes you might notice that a tomato has been 'stung' by fruit fly, best to bin that before the grub can munch its way through the fruit and mature, only to start the dastardly cycle again. 

You may have read of some home remedies for fruit fly traps. These products are designed to attract, trap and and in some cases, kill the little fellas by drowning or some other means.  It might be best to try a few different methods and perhaps you will jag one that works effectively for you. Some to perhaps give a go are:

  1. Apple cider vinegar (it has to be apple cider vinegar) is a great attractant for fruit flies as they cannot resist the smell of fermentation. You will need to add an over-ripe piece of fruit (a strawberry works well, lets face it they spoil so quickly) into about 1/2 cup of vinegar into a jar. Add a couple of drops of dish washing liquid (this alters the surface tension of the water). Make a funnel out of cardboard and tape it securely to the jar and the idea is that the fruit fly get into the jar but very few can actually make it back out.
  2. Another lure type of trap is with some very over-ripe fruit, placed into a glass jar and covered with plastic wrap secured with a rubber band and little holes punched into the wrap with a toothpick. The fruit fly get in but can't seem to make their way out again - you can either freeze the jar holus bolus or submerge in soapy water to drown them.
  3. Or if you are the type not to quite finish a bottle of red wine, just leave this outside where the flies are (of course rain and/or watering is not good at this point) and the flies will flock and die a very 'merry' death!
Some commercial products that you can use in conjunction with your home-made traps (or purchased commercial ones):
  1. Eco-naturalure Fruit Fly Bait - a concentrate containing protein and sugar bait, plus spinosad insecticide for control of fruit fly - this can be placed in a bottle in conjunction with the vinegar/fruit/wine lures mentioned above.
  2. Wild May Fruit Fly Attractant which is a liquid bait concentrate containing essential oils, that attract and drown fruit fly - these you can also use in a homemade wet trap or a commercially purchased one.
Or there are some commercial products that are sticky (Go Natural Insectrap) that have a pheromone attractant and once the flies land, that's it folks, they are stuck forever........ the added bonus with these ones is that you also catch citrus gall wasp, whitefly and aphid!

To see another post about the fruit fly visit here where you will see yet another method to attract fruit fly.


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