The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › spotted wing drosophila

spotted wing drosophila

Jesse S.
user 29709632
Harrison, ME
Post #: 90
A new insect bugaboo, goes after undamaged ripening fruit. They are here in at our place in s. Oxford county- going for the elderberries, grapes. Ideas? I've started clean-picking affected plants to get rid of their food supply, but dang!
A former member
Post #: 126
jon h.
user 18342491
Portland, ME
Post #: 25
My mom was really worried about this affecting our organic blueberry meadow in VT (7 acres, u-pick). They didn't arrive there until about a week or two ago, and once they do they make the fruit get mushy really quickly. Being that she didn't feel there was much you could do, they didn't do anything. A neighboring blueberry meadow sprayed organic something for them often, and I'm not sure they had any different outcome... I'll ask my mom. Regardless, it sounds like the best thing to do in her opinion is to get your fruit picked and frozen when you can and not to worry about it otherwise because there really isn't anything that can be done (not that she is willing to do, anyway- ie pesticide use). Apparently they can only go after soft-skinned fruits and not harder-skinned fruits like apples. But gosh, there are so many delicious fruits they can affect! Maybe we need to get used to the idea of eating the fruit anyway, before it goes mushy (even if their little larvae are invisible in there)?
Jesse S.
user 29709632
Harrison, ME
Post #: 93
These guys have the potential to do untold $$millions of damage to fruit crops here...and now they are certainly affecting my own homestead's yield. It could cause many soft-bodied late summer fruits to be difficult to bring to full ripeness without extreme measures like spraying and trapping or bagging fruit. At least my chickens are happy with the cullings....shnazel!
user 87611852
New Gloucester, ME
Post #: 33
It is not about the money, it is about ecological sustainability. What would you do if these fruit were all you had to rely upon for food? If we or "they" should choose to dump a load of chems to thwart this little insect, yet poison our environment and our civilization as a bi-product-of-doing-business, that would neither be wise, nor ecological. Remember, the environmental patterns of the past are changing at an accelerating pace, for example: my squash finished ripening by the 2nd week of August; and does anyone remember when the Maple trees started to show their colors in the 2nd week of July, here in Maine? They're already dropping some of their leaves.

You must anticipate massive changes; both subtle and radical, but embrace them and make them your own.

As for the drosophila, I would recommend changing the signature that the ripening fruit generate, they use to find their target. What about considering a tea that is made from Tarragon sprayed on the plants? Tastes great on fish.


Greg M.
user 3541854
Acton, ME
Post #: 550
I've read that the protective calyx that covers wineberry fruits keeps this bug from ruining the fruit. Seems as though breeding raspberries with wineberry may be an important way to add protection to this crop going forward.
Jackson B.
Lewiston, ME
Post #: 196

Does anyone have any idea if diatomaceous earth would slow the buggers down? Mechanical not chemical pesticide...

user 87611852
New Gloucester, ME
Post #: 34
My experience with diatomaceous earth (DE) has not produced the results of all the claims. DE is the skeletal remains of microscopic organisms called diatoms. The living organism essentially lives within a glass house, a myriad of intricate and beautiful designs composed of silica, more specifically, silicon dioxide (quartz). There are both fresh water and salt water varieties.

DE is commonly known for its use as a polishing medium in toothpastes and as a filtering medium used for removing particulates from swimming pool water. But, another application for DE is an insecticide; no, not as an insecticide in the classic sense with the use of chemicals and all, but this having the nasty effect on the insect's body as it drags its body over "broken glass", which at a microscopic level, is exactly what it looks like.

However, before you get all excited and decide to grab your hat and rush down to your local, pool supplies company; consider this: DE completely looses it's effectiveness if it gets wet. You will find yourself "puffing" this stuff on your plants -- forever. The other factor is a bit more serious. Remember, DE are composed of microscopic particles of broken glass, and that is exactly what's going to be going into your lungs and eyes. Is it really worth it?

From my experience, I did not notice any significant reduction in negative effects caused by insect populations, after successive DE applications. The biggest success I have had are from natural deterrents like marigolds and tarragon. As for insecticide, I only use pyrethrin and rotenone spray, to treat infestations of tomato hornworms and Japanese beetles, and some others. If you are going to use it, use it responsibly. It is available from Paris Farmer's Union. Call them first, just to make sure you don't go on a "fool's errand".

Tyler O.
Greenbush, ME
Post #: 14
Dennis, If I could suggest an alternative to pyrethrin (potentially harmful to pollinators and other beneficials), and rotenone (harmful to amphibians and aquatic life) it would be neem oil with omri approved potassium silicate as well as and applications of beneficial nematodes in the late spring and late summer/early autumn for the Japanese beatles, I am gonna try milky spore as well, which only affects Japanese beatles but that takes time to establish and may not work at my spot being right on the edge of zone four. For the hornworms, I would recomend a product containing spinosad, like Monterray spray.
user 87611852
New Gloucester, ME
Post #: 35
Hi Tyler and Heather,

Welcome to Meetup. Thanks for the great info.
I am not familiar with using neem oil in combination with potassium silicate. Almost confused it with potassium hydroxide used in making geopolymers!

I checked out your other recommendations and I'm going to try them out -- next year. smile

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