Organically Controlling Cherry Fruit Flies: Identifying the Insect First
Cherry fruit flies look like ordinary houseflies. They are black in color and have yellow margins on their thorax with two white bands on their abdomen. It is the yellow and white additional coloration that helps you differentiate between the two annoying insects.
Organically Controlling Cherry Fruit Flies: Signs and Monitoring
Cherries, pears and plum tree fruit will be small or disfigured if you have cherry fruit flies. You will also likely see premature fruit drop and rotten flesh on some of your fruit if you have this pest. The rotten flesh indicates the cherry fruit fly maggots are feeding within the fruit, as they tend to do before dropping to the ground.
You need to monitor the population level of this pest, to see how severe your cherry fruit fly infestation actually is for your particular fruit trees. Since it is hard to tell if you have them unless you happen to see the fly around the fruit or notice rotten flesh after they have already started their attack, you need some outside assistance with accurately monitoring this pest.
Organically Controlling Cherry Fruit Flies by Monitoring Them First
Sticky red balls or pheromone traps are used by gardeners to get a more accurate idea of how bad the infestation is of these particular insects. As they land on the sticky ball, red in color to appear ‘fruit-like,’ the fly becomes a casualty of the pest war between you and them.
They may escape the sticky trap, but they will undoubtedly leave behind some evidence they were there, possibly a wing or other body part, so you will get some idea of how bad the problem is by seeing how many cover each sticky ball.
What Time of Year Does Cherry Fruit Flies Appear?
Early June is when you will see Cherry fruit flies. But they will only suck the sap between 7 to 10 days then they will start laying eggs in your developing fruit. They make small slits and slide in to deposit the eggs that way. The maggots they produce are small and either yellow or white in color. Another characteristic of the maggots will be the dark hooks on their mouths.
Organically Controlling Cherry Fruit Flies: Pupation Process
After the maggots have fed inside your cherry, pear or plum fruit, they drop down to the ground to undergo a 6-month pupation process. They seek to go as deep as 2 to 3-inches deep in the soil beneath the fruit tree. The pupae overwinter in the soil and emerge in June the next year to begin the process all over again.
Organic Remedies for Cherry Fruit Flies
If you desire to pit insect against insect to get rid of your Cherry fruit flies just bring in some Braconid wasps. That will result in the wasps taking on the flies and you know who will win that war! If you don’t care to be a casualty in that battle, you will want to get four more of those sticky red balls (per tree). Hang them on your perimeter trees, about shoulder-height.
You can also mix up a control trap that consists of 1 part molasses to every 9 parts of water. Add some yeast to the mixture contained in wide-mouth jars. Allow fermentation to occur and after that bubbling diminishes just hang the jars on the trees, as you did the sticky red balls. You need to remove bad fruit as quickly as you find it and destroy it by putting it in water, which will kill the maggots. Otherwise, they don’t die.
Related ‘Organically Controlling’ Articles:
Controlling Apple Maggots
Controlling Aphids on Fruits
“The Gardener’s A-Z Guide to Growing Food Organically” by Tanya L.K. Denckla