From any point of view, both pests and diseases are a real headache for the farmer. Whether at intensive levels with large hectares of land or at the level of a family garden, we will always have an insect, fungus, bacteria or virus nearby that tries to annoy production. Today, we unveil a real nuisance for many fruit trees, the fruit fly.
CHARACTERISTICS, PREVENTION AND ELIMINATION OF THE FRUIT FLY
One thing must be clear from the first moment, and that is that the fruit fly is different from the common fly . If we go to scientific names, the first is Drosophila melanogaster or Ceratitis capitata , and the second, the fly that is everywhere, is the Domestica M usca .
¿ Drosophila melanogaster? ¿ But it is not also capitata Ceratitis ? Well yes and no. They are two totally different species but they have received, over the years, the same name. In the case of Ceratitis capitata, it has originally been known as the Mediterranean fruit fly , as it is mainly found in that geographical area. However, over time its name has derived from the fruit mocha . On the other hand, Drosophila melanogaster is originally the vinegar fly , but it is also commonly known as the fruit fly . Anyway … for tastes …
Well, it doesn’t matter! That will not alter the purpose of this article, since if we were to be “fussy” we could not count on the olive fly ( Bactrocera oleae), another dipteran but from a different family.
CERATITIS CAPITATA, L TO FRUIT FLY
Because of the area where I live, when they tell me about the fruit fly, I think of ceratitis capitata ( Tephritidae family ), but that is up to everyone depending on where it comes from. Especially also because this insect is the one that has the most participation in agriculture. The other, Drosophila melanogaster, is very present in genetics and has saved us (and will save us) from many problems related to human diseases.
Do you want a shock of humility? Well, about 75% of our genes that are related to human diseases, have their counterpart in the vinegar fly. If one day we cure Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or other serious diseases, give thanks to a fly, among others.
Returning to the issue of the fruit fly in crops, it is classified as an important pest, since it is widespread in many geographical areas and affects a wide variety of crops. Let’s see them.
CROPS AFFECTED BY THIS PEST
- Citrus (orange and mandarin trees, especially)
The problem comes when we carry out adequate agricultural work, felling, watering and fertilizing correctly, and at the last minute, when the fruit is ripening, we notice pitting and rots that make commercial sale impossible. Even at home garden levels, it is not funny to open an orange, for example, and find larvae of the fruit fly .
Another problem that also makes matters worse is that such bites are a gateway for fungal diseases.
THE DAMAGE CAUSED BY THE PLAGUE
The beginning of the “work” is carried out by the female, nailing the fruit with her stylet and laying her eggs. The surface around the bite turns black and rots. This reveals to the farmer the area where it has been nailed and makes its sale to the consumer useless (let’s be logical, I would not take it in a supermarket).
When the larvae are born, they excavate galleries inside the fruit, so that little by little the fruit decomposes and ends up falling to the ground. From here on, a tip: in the time when the fruit fly is present, it is necessary to collect the fruits that are on the ground, as it is a source of spread to other healthy fruits.
HOW TO FIGHT THE FRUIT FLY
INTEGRATED CONTROL, TRAPS
A technique that we like a lot and that can be a good technique to control or minimize the damage of some pests are traps. A totally ecological, practical and durable method. We will only have to hang 1 trap on average every 2 or 3 trees (depending on the pest and its population) and fill it with some attractive liquid (be it pheromones, vinegar, old wine, etc.). When the heat increases, it will be a source of entry for the fruit fly, which will be trapped inside.
On the market there are many types, more expensive or cheaper (plastic with greater or less resistance), even with powders that contain pheromones. It is a good alternative, although we can also make homemade preparations with bottles of water, on which we will make small holes for the fly to enter, and we will fill the container with an attractive product. Vinegar diluted with water works.
Even if what we want is to no longer manipulate the container once we hang it from the tree, in stores where plant protection material is sold there are 1.5 L containers with the attractant included for € 3. It’s worth it if we don’t want to spread our hands.
There are plenty of active ingredients on the market that are effective against fruit flies. We go back to business as usual, to do things right, his thing is to search a database (like the one offered by the ministry of agriculture of each country) to find the effective active material according to the crop. It has its logic since it is not the same to treat an orange tree with a fruit fly than a peach tree. They can be different active materials and different security terms.