Author Topic: Has another foreign pest arrived?  (Read 7262 times)

Beersmith

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Has another foreign pest arrived?
« on: July 12, 2022, 20:54:30 »
A week or so back I was reporting on good soft fruit yields.  Well I have some follow up news

I picked a large basket of cherries, about half the total crop.  They were prolific and looked and tasted superb. I ate about 20 as I picked. I took them home, ate more as a snack with Mrs B, and dropped off a punnet to the family for them and the grandkids.  Without being aware at the time I got a unexpected bit of extra protein.

Two days later I got a call. " Have you checked the cherries?"  The family had stoned the cherries for safety reasons as  the youngest grandson is quite young.  "They are riddled with maggots". And when I checked the rest they were.  Almost every one had small white larvae crawling through the fruit. 

Searching on the internet they seem to be a type of cherry fruit fly possibly drosiphila suzukii.  Close checking reveals tiny holes where the egg was laid.  The crop of course is totally ruined.

They seem to be yet another new pest that only arrived in the UK a few years back but there doesn't seem to be any effective deterrent. Obviously the spread has been rapid and very destructive. The impact on amateur and commercial growers is likely to be severe. It's not clear when it arrived possibly 2012 perhaps as recently as 2018.  I just think it is incredibly sad.

When can we expect the department of the environment to start showing even a basic level of competence and do more to prevent this sort of problem. While they are about it, how about doing something to stop the water companies dumping sewage into our rivers and seas. 

Not mad, just out to mulch!

saddad

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Re: Has another foreign pest arrived?
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2022, 22:40:57 »
Not noticed it here yet... but the "Summer Sun" are showing more mould than I would expect in such a dry season, which may be associated with damage to the skins..

BarriedaleNick

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Re: Has another foreign pest arrived?
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2022, 12:50:06 »
I had an enormous cherry tree in London and every few years we would get literally hundreds of pounds of cherries from it.  Enough for me and all my allotment buddies and then some.
Then one year they all rotted on the tree and they all had maggots - not sure if it was drosiphila suzukii (Spotted wing drosophila) but it seems a good candidate.  Never got a crop again.

https://www.rhs.org.uk/biodiversity/spotted-wing-drosophila
Moved to Portugal - ain't going back!

Vetivert

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Re: Has another foreign pest arrived?
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2022, 16:07:28 »
Very bad luck, it does sound like a SWD infestation. But is it only your cherries that are affected? I would have thought they'd be in all of your other types of soft fruit, too.

Beersmith

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Re: Has another foreign pest arrived?
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2022, 11:14:36 »
Very bad luck, it does sound like a SWD infestation. But is it only your cherries that are affected? I would have thought they'd be in all of your other types of soft fruit, too.

Well surprisingly nothing else seems to have been hit.  The strawberries were pretty much over before the cherries began to ripen.  The gooseberries were fine, as were the blackcurrants, red pink and white currants too.  My plums have some fruit showing tell tale signs of gummy drops that indicates something has got in but that could be the usual plum moth pest. Raspberries (summer fruiting ones) and blackberries fine so far.  The autumn fruiting raspberries haven't yet started to crop in any volumes.

I wonder if the pest found that the large crop of cherries was more attractive than the alternatives?  Like carrots root fly - it can theoretically attack parsnips and other crops but very rarely does so.  Anyway I am just thankful things were not worse.

What was shaping up to be a good season is rapidly going bad.  Yesterday badgers had visited and trashed about half my carrots and the drought is so severe many things are getting very stressed.  As the years go by I'm unable to water as much as I would in the past.  Parts of the strawberry bed are now dead just through lack of moisture.  I'm worried things will be even worse after the next couple of days. It's still in the 20s here but only just.  Predicted to hit 36 by mid afternoon. 
Not mad, just out to mulch!

Vinlander

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Re: Has another foreign pest arrived?
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2022, 14:52:46 »
I've suffered maggoty cherries for at least 3 years - if you wait for Stella to go that delicious deep maroon then not only will they all be maggoted out, the process will be accelerated by ants going in.

The only way to get a clean crop is to pick them as soon as they go past pink - so now I'm reduced to producing cooking cherries - and I'm not keen on cooked fruit.

I might try and find a partner fruit for them so I can make 2-fruit lollies next year (I'm just about to try blending blackcurrants with canned pears - I could freeze them while awaiting real pears but I need them right now).

Even worse, last year I lost 90% of my red grapes to something that looked suspiciously identical - I grow hybrids like  V. viniferea x labrusca - especially for reds ('cos they ripen much earlier for a fuller flavour outdoors) and it may be paranoia but I've been recommending them (and Sable from the shops) on the basis that "they have a unique flavour with an intensity closer to a cherry than a normal grape". They also have thicker skins - and sadly that's one of the things that won't protect them from suzuki moth (ironically I've always hated 2-strokes).

Hope an organic control becomes available - if I have to spray I'm certainly not using any of the modern poisons (mostly nerve agents - I regard anything that hasn't been around for 50+ years as totally untried). But obviously not Lead Arsenate - that was always completely bonkers!

Made myself glum now... Time for a Beer.

Cheers.
With a microholding you always get too much or bugger-all. (I'm fed up calling it an allotment garden - it just encourages the tidy-police).

The simple/complex split is more & more important: Simple fertilisers Poor, complex ones Good. Simple (old) poisons predictable, others (new) the opposite.

 

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