[NAFEX] Cherry Insects

Don Yellman dyellman at earthlink.net
Tue Apr 15 15:39:10 EDT 2003


I live where insects were invented, from whence they subsequently spread 
to the rest of the world, but I have virtually no insect problems on 
sour cherries, and I have grown Northstar, and am currently growing 
Meteor and Montmorency.  Together with Asian pears, it is one of the 
fruits I really don't have to spray at all.

The single insect that can trouble my sour cherries is the cherry fruit 
fly, which shows up as a small, white larvae, usually found when pitting 
the fruit.  This is a single-generation insect with quite a simple 
lifestyle.  It hatches out in damaged cherries left on the tree, drops 
to the ground with the cherries, and burrows into the soil beneath the 
trees to pupate.  I nearly always hoe around under the cherry trees once 
or twice in spring, perhaps not all the way out to the drip line but at 
least until I get tired.  A small motorized tiller would do an even 
better job.  This disturbs the pupae, exposes them to drying, and 
greatly reduces the hatch.  They do not burrow very deeply, and if you 
can hoe 2-3 inches you get them.  In recent years, I have been able to 
nearly eliminate these larvae from the cherries.  The other factor of 
course is to clean the tree of cherries to the extent possible at 
picking time, and discard those that are bird damaged far from the tree.

Do you have other insects bothering your cherries?  If so, they are not 
playing fair.  There should be no need to have to settle for small 
cherries.  I just planted a Balaton and a Danube this spring, and expect 
to deal with the cherry fly the same way on these new cultivars.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

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