[permaculture] cherry fruit fly, gentle methods of eradicating?

dwoodard at becon.org dwoodard at becon.org
Thu Jul 5 01:34:11 EDT 2007

The cherry fruit fly is closely related to the apple fruit fly or railroad
worm which evolved from it and first came to notice in the 1860's
according to my reading.

Many people have reported fair success controlling the apple fruit fly
with traps, using red spheres about apple size coated with tree
tanglefoot. I think that ready made spheres are commercially available, or
anything similar can be used. Two are three spheres are suspended around
the edge of a full sized apple tree as I recall.

I suspect that something similar would be useful for cherries. You might
try the fake apples to begin with; perhaps putting them out as soon as the
cherries start developing.

There are I believe, traps with sticky surface for monitoring cherry fruit
flies. I'm not sure whtehr they use pheromeones or cherry scent. You might
use one or a feww of these if you can get them cheaply enough.  Fruit
grower supply houses or organic grower supply houses might be sources.
Extension agents might supply information.

If you use lures depending entirely on scent you might want to put them a
little way away from your cherry tree.

Doug Woodard
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

> Hi there. I have a lovely, robust cherry tree that produces lovely,
> robust cherries. (I think they're Rainiers.) The problem is, if I don't
> pick them time, the cherry fruit fly larvae make a mess of them. I'm
> probably going to cut them all in half and extract the worms before I
> freeze them.
> Now, I've been reading about the cherry fruit fly, and there some
> interesting aspects of their lifecycle that I thought I might be able to
> capitalise on in a permaculture sort of way. First of all, the adults
> feed on aphid honeydew (among other things), which suggests to me that
> if I discouraged the legions of aphids and the ants in my tree, that
> would possibly reduce the food supply for the flies. Also, they pupate
> in the soil, which suggests that I should remove all rotting windfalls.
> (I would love to invite some chickens and quail into my garden to eat
> the cherries, but I don't have that luxury in a townhouse complex.)
> Thirdly, I've heard of a modern commercial spray that uses spinosad, a
> metabolite from the bacterium Saccharopolyspora spinosa. They've had
> fantastic success in Washington -- about 95% success rate in orchards in
> which there was a 1:1 cherry/worm ratio. Unfortunately spinosad is
> highly toxic to bees. Poop.
> I'm wondering if any of you folks have suggestions, comments, cautions
> regarding my problem? I'm encouraged by people's success with spinosad,
> but at the same time I don't want to kill any pollinators or upset the
> balance of pests/predators. (Speaking of predators, my tree is crawling
> with ladybug larvae, which is encouraging.) How about fly-discouraging
> plants underneath the tree?
> I live in a region in BC which is similar in climate to the dry orchard
> regions of Washington and Oregon.
> Thanks in advance,
> Paul d'Aoust

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