We know that fruit flies are a significant pest because they lay their eggs in ripe or nearly ripe fruits where their larvae or maggots then develop. Even though the time between egg laying and harvest might only be a small number of days, this is still enough time for the eggs to hatch and the larvae to cause extensive damage.
It is also often reported that fruit fly control is difficult or that a crop that had never previously been affected is found to be heavily infested when harvested.
Fruit flies can be controlled in both residential and commerical settings, but there are a few factors that can make it challenging at times.
Challenge one – knowing when fruit flies are active
Unlike pests that bite or chew plants, the presence of fruit flies is not always obvious. The first time you know of fruit flies are affecting your crop might be the time you cut open or harvest a piece of infested fruit by which time it is too late. Those developing larvae are also protected from predators and many chemicals that might be used.
Therefore, it is important to get control measures in place early in the season.
Challenge two – a wide host range
Fruit flies usually only affect fruit that is approaching maturity. Fruit that is starting to develop some colour or becoming soft is the most likely to be affected. Adult fruit flies will be active in warmer weather as long as there is moisture available.
However, unlike many other pests, fruit flies can affect a wide range of fruits. This means that a problem can develop in an early season crop such as summerfruit and then move onto other hosts such as tomatoes, pomefruit or citrus.
Therefore, it is important to control fruit flies throughout the year and in all the crops you might grow.
Challenge three – pest movement
Adult fruit flies are capable of flight and will move between properties and crops in search of food. Fruit flies will also disperse from refuges such as unmanaged or roadside trees, even if they have a good source of food. This means that even though you are doing your best to manage fruit fly risks on your property it is possible for fruit flies to move in and cause you problems.
Therefore, the most effective fruit fly management will be an area-wide approach that covers multiple backyards or orchards. Partnering in fruit fly management with neighbours and adjoining properties will give the best result for everyone.
Because of these challenges it is important to understand how to manage fruit flies on your property or in your back yard and have a committed approach throughout the year.Fruit Fly Control for Gardeners Fruit Fly Control for Producers