[Market-farming] New Raspberry pest-back again with a vengance

Marlin & Christine Burkholder burkholders at glenecofarm.com
Tue Aug 14 21:45:00 EDT 2012


 

The new no see-um fruit fly which first made an appearance on our Virginia
farm last summer is back again, with a vengeance!  I had considered spraying
an insecticide as the crop started into bloom in July but backed off when I
saw the number and variety of bees and other pollinators on the plants.  I
opted instead to inspect the plants with a magnifying glass in search of the
offending flies to see if I could make a positive identification before
bringing in the bombs.  I never could see anything that looked like the
spotted wing drosophila which I have been suspecting is the culprit.

 

Now the first flush is ripening and at least 90% of the ripe fruit is mushy
soft, crawling with maggots, and unfit to harvest.  If there is no way of
rescuing the remaining unripe fruit there will be no reason to attempt
harvesting any more of the crop.  It looks like we can consider the crop a
100% failure.  I am considering bombing them immediately and waiting a week
or more to begin harvesting.  Anything ripe now or going to ripen within the
next week or two would be given a goodbye kiss.  Does anyone think this has
a chance of working?  Would insecticide hitting the infested berries still
hanging on the vines kill the maggots and help reduce the pest load next
year?  Would I also need to soak the ground under the plants to get maggots
on the fallen berries?  When are the berries being infested?  At bloom or
preripening?

 

The only professional beekeeper still operating in our county happens to be
a next door neighbor.  He is struggling with all the new issues confronting
beekeeping, including "colony collapse disorder" believed to be caused by
environmental poisoning.  I do not wish for my activities to contribute to
his demise!

 

Fall red raspberries have in the past been one of our cornerstone income
generating crops.  Should I attempt a rescue maneuver now or should I write
it off this year and plan to go after it early next season?

 

This thing is hurting us far more than the BMSB invasion that has had
everyone stewing for the past two years!

 

Marlin Burkholder

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