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fruit flies and burning

 
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Has anyone here had experience with burning around the base of fruit trees to help control fruit flies?

I ask, because I've discovered several fruit trees on my property, pear, peach, apple, sumac, asian dogwood, raspberries and blackberries, and more. But we lost ALL the fruit to flies this year before it even got ripe. The property was unmanaged for 5 years before we bought it, so its not like it was being sprayed with pestacides either.

Mosquitoes, fruit flies, and biting gnats are aweful at their various times of the year, partially due to very wet clay soil im guessing. So I am considering clearing the ferns and blackberries away from the fruit trees, and burning around the bases in a controlled manner to kill any over wintering fly larvae. Would this work?  Is there a better option? Again, there is just such a population of these flies that there arent nearly enough predators to come close to keeping up.

Any suggestions welcome! (Apparently there are some beetles too, but not nearly as many as the flies)
PXL_20210911_172842498.jpg
dogwood berry, eaten
dogwood berry, eaten
PXL_20210911_172849350.jpg
beetle on berry
beetle on berry
 
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ive been experiencing an invasion of--uhh --I want to call them fruit flies, but under a magnifier they are a little bit different. but they seem to multiply like fruit flies, anyway ive been trying to control them with soap--just dish soap and water. but I have not yet completely controlled them. there must be millions of them.  the first frost can't come soon enough.
around fruit trees its good practice to cut the grass short and pick up and remove from the are any and all fallen or rotting fruit.
 
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I have been doing battle with fruit flies for years. There are many abandoned farmsteads around here. That is an ideal condition for fruit flies to multiply. Nature hates vacuum. As soon as fruits aren't harvested, there will be creatures to feast on the fruit. In this region, the Mediterranean fruit fly and the olive fruit fly are particularly bad.

You have to find a way of cutting the life-cycle: fruit fly > eggs > larvae > pupa > fruit fly.

Picking up fallen fruit under the trees usually isn't enough because the larvae often leave the fruits before they are ripe. Once they are in the ground they become pupas to turn into fruit flies the following year.

I have tried to pick the fruits before the larvae hedge, however, that's time consuming. It would be easier to destroy/pick all fruits before they are big enough for the flies to lay there eggs, but that means you won't have any fruit for 2 to 3 years because the pupas can hedge even after 2 or 3 years.

Hanging traps in the trees will catch some, but not all fruit flies. Usually, you use bottles with little holes painted yellow and filled with something to attract the flies. I dilute marmite, some use urine, my neighbor uses the water in which he cooks his codfish.

In Japan, farmers use little paper bags to protect the fruits, but that's time consuming. You could also use a thin fabric or very fine netting to cover the whole tree. I have tried spaying the fruits with a solution of water and clay to cover the fruits with a clay layer before the fruit flies deposit their eggs. It seemed to help a little, but in the end, many fruits had larvae after all. It can also help to harvest the fruits before they are ripe and let them ripe in boxes. That too seems to help provided one can chose the right moment. Selecting fruit trees that bear fruit early in the year, before the fruit flies are active, can also help.

If you can't catch the flies or dispose of the fruits with larvae, you can try to do something about the pupas in the soil. It's recommended to till the soil so that the pupas are buried too deep to reach the surface. That's tricky because you risk damaging the roots. I'm in the process of building a chicken tractor low enough to fit under the fruit trees. Hopefully, the chickens will find the larvae or pupas in the soil.

I haven't heard about burning. I would be worried about damaging the fruit trees. The fire would have to be strong enough for the heat to destroy the pupas or larvae in the soil, which you don't really know how deep they are.

Wonder if there are any other ideas.

Edit: covering the ground below the trees with plastic sheeting is another way of preventing the larvae from entering the soil. The plastic sheeting has to be big enough because the larvae can "jump" one to two feet. If the larvae can't enter the soil, they first bent and and then release their body so that the spring action makes them jump here and there.
 
Aj Richardson
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I decided to start with some yeast traps. Will see how it goes. Theres already some mosquitoes in one of them, and 2 fruitflies in another, and I put them out last night. Might need to hang them to get more fruit flies.
 
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