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Fruit Fly in the ACT?

By Bam Bam - 3 March 2010 18

This season, I’ve tried my hand at growing tomatoes. I’m no green thumb but I now have quite a crop. Only problem is that most of the fruit is maggot ridden. I planted a bit late in the season and maybe this has not helped. I’m just wondering if anyone has had a similar problem. I’m also wondering if there is anything that can be done about it. There is still fruit on the way but I’m tempted to just rip the whole lot out and try again next season. They really are disgusting little creatures.

What’s Your opinion?

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18 Responses to
Fruit Fly in the ACT?
andy pandy 3:13 pm 05 Mar 10

We do now have Queensland fruit fly in Canberra (this wasn’t the case until a few years ago, but they are now over wintering and therefore endemic) .
Check a local nurseries to see what the available solutions are. Bear in mind tha the old traps and lures were not a control but an indicator as to when to spray. There are commercially available lures that control populations but I doubt that they are available to the general public.
Clean up all old fruit and place in plastic bags and put the bin ( the maggots pupate under ground so if you can break their lifecycle by not letting this happen then you are on the way to solving the problem.
Hopefully we will have a cold winter that will bring them back under control (heavy frost has become less frequent over the last ten or so years and this has allowed them to take hold).

astrojax 9:01 pm 04 Mar 10

my heritage black russians split, but wow, yum!

Mr_Shab 8:50 pm 04 Mar 10

We don’t have invasive fruit fly in Canberra. We have drosophila – but they will only attack split or rotting fruit. The worst tomato pest we have is harlequin bug – it leaves those hard, whitish spots on your tomatoes.

I’ve seen this happen before – but not for a long time. The big problem has been sudden heavy rains at ripening time. Pretty much every one of my toms split and ended up infested with bugs/maggoty things. Bummer. Just cut out the bad bits and cook with them.

Veggie gardening is like that. Try again next year. Least you don’t have to rely on it for dinner.

Gungahlin Al 6:04 pm 04 Mar 10

Holy moly. Mine get 30 minutes of little drippers twice a week and that’s it. And they are doing OK. Two plants only and they are producing more than we can eat.

proneon 4:43 pm 04 Mar 10

Tomatoes require good daily watering until they fruit, than reduced watering while fruiting to prevent splitting.

Gungahlin Al 4:29 pm 04 Mar 10

Great website thanks PG.
BTW all rainwater tanks here.

trix 1:26 pm 04 Mar 10

You can also get fruit fly bait traps at Bunnings. Stick a few of those near your tomatoes (but not amongst them!) and that should help.

Gungahlin Al, you might as well just wait till the leaves drop off in a few months to prune your cherry. Or if you’re certain you don’t want it any taller, you can prune it now.

Postalgeek 12:19 pm 04 Mar 10

BTW a professional gardener friend believes that plants much prefer rain water to tap water, the theory being that rain draws nitrogen and nutrient particles from the atmosphere, and it lacks the chemicals in tap water. I agree with him, based on empirical evidence if nothing else; you only need to look at how gardens respond to rain to see that there is something in that. So harvest rain water for the vegie patch.

Postalgeek 11:58 am 04 Mar 10

You should be able to prune the leader, but just make sure you bring yourself up to speed on the basics of pruning before hacking away. My wife takes it upon herself to ‘prune’ occasionally, and will leave hideous punji sticks in her wake.

Check out this pdf from COGS

An excellent reference book is The Canberra Gardener, by the Horticultural Society of Canberra. It has sections devoted to kitchen garderns, pruning, and includes some useful planting/harvesting calenders. It also provides some good info on the growing environment of Canberra.

Join COGS or visit their website at Lots of local info, tips and techniques there.

Also join COGS or visit their website at Lots of local info, tips and techniques there.

Gungahlin Al 11:05 am 04 Mar 10

Some good advice here. As someone new to the wonders of vege gardening, would like to see more advice about how and when to do what in the vege and fruit department…
F’rinstance, I have a cherry tree that I planted in spring and is now sending up a high and strong central leader. But in a very small garden I need to keep the fruit tree heights down so they don’t block winter sun into the house and so they can be reached…
Is it OK to chop this leader down now or do I have to wait until winter? Likewise for other fruit tree pruning?

Postalgeek 10:17 am 04 Mar 10

Special G said :

Co-plant basil and other herbs – this helps getting rid of pests.

Wot G said. Plant basil amongst the tommies. They’re meant to be together, from seed to feed. Who said nature’s not romantic? Also cut/pull the flowering heads off basil to stop it going to seed. My wife makes the best basil pesto :-d

Danman, you pretty much got it in one. So the solution is to try and maintain steady patterns, which is why some people grow them in greenhouses. Variation in watering will cause the splitting, and the recent deluges would’ve easily done that. Sun exposure can also contribute. They’re still fine to eat. Just make sure you remove them from the plant as the split fruit is more vulnerable to disease.

jasmine 9:34 am 04 Mar 10

Danman I had the same problem. It occurred after those lovely heavy rains we had so I put it down to just that – a sudden growth spurt. Particularly after a period of dry. But that is an uneducated guess.

The red cherry tomatoes did not have the same problem although the Yellow Pear shaped ones split as well.

Still they are all good for tomato relish.

Danman 8:53 am 04 Mar 10

While we are talking abou ttomatos, can anyone tell me why my heirloom tomatos have grown with crack like fissures, lik ethey have had a growth spurt that has cracked teh skin open because the skin cant keep up with the flesh.

Never had this problem before, but this is a new patch of dirt I have them in (Moved from back yard to front yard)

Special G 8:15 am 04 Mar 10

Co-plant basil and other herbs – this helps getting rid of pests.

miz 10:14 pm 03 Mar 10

Assuming you are growing large tomatoes? Pick em when they just start to change colour and take them indoors to finish ripening. You beat the bugs. (Cherry toms don’t seem to succumb as much – I think because they ripen so fast and there are so many).

Also, don’t have them draping on the ground if you can help it (except it’s probably a bit late to do anything about that now – but there’s always next year . . .).

Hope it helps.

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