British Columbia: Worms In My Raspberries

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by akimbo, Jul 7, 2015.

  1. akimbo

    akimbo Active Member

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    Picked my raspberries and noticed a small white larva about 4mm long on one of the berries. Removed it, noticed another and another, then realized that they were emerging from within the berry itself. No sooner did I think I had removed them all when more would emerge. What a nightmare. Had to toss all the berries--after all my hard work of developing this berry patch over the past 5 years. Any ideas? How to treat? Thanks for your thoughts.
     
  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  3. akimbo

    akimbo Active Member

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  4. akimbo

    akimbo Active Member

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  5. vitog

    vitog Contributor 10 Years

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    Yes, Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) larvae are very common in raspberries in the Lower Mainland; so I assume that they have arrived in Victoria as well. There is not much that you can do about them except pick the raspberries before they get very ripe and clean up all dropped and damaged fruit. This means that you have to pick every day during the hot weather that has been prevalent lately. Infested berries will feel soft; they should be placed in a separate container with a tight fitting lid. Just leave the container in the sun during the day and the larvae will cook. Here in Burnaby damaged ripe raspberries are usually loaded with picnic beetles; so they also go into the container with the SWD larvae. I just use a 4 litre plastic ice cream bucket. After accumulating rotting fruit for a few days, the gases of decomposition will kill the SWD larvae and picnic beetles in the bucket; so you don't even need the heat of the sun.
     
  6. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    It is so sad. And the bug, Spotted Wing Drosophila, native to Southeast Asia and apparently brought from there with the soft fruit imports, first noticed in BC in 2009, is fast spreading. How many people, farms, gardens are going to be affected! How much fresh fruit straight from the garden or local farm, how much work and effort wasted!
    Those who first came with the idea of importing fruit, that can be grown locally, from other parts of the world should be held responsible for this disaster.

    It looks like, though, it is great for our ill conceived economy (understood in terms of the production and consumption of goods and services ). More poisons (pesticides) have to be produced, packaged, distributed, sold, bought, used, their plastic packaging discarded* . . . In the meantime we will continue buying cherries or other soft fruit shipped (on transpacific vessels fueled by fossil fuels** that, too, have to be extracted, transported, processed, distributed . . .) from China, nicely packaged, pound by pound, in rigid plastic containers, that in turn have to be produced, distributed, sold, and that are finally disposed and transported to the garbage depots, from there to landfill sites, may be incinerated, producing toxic fumes that contribute to air pollution and make people sick, so medical and pharmaceutical industry may benefit, too, . . . it goes on and on . . .

    How many jobs that creates! Never mind global warming caused by those mindless activities, the ill conceived economy is growing and so are the incomes of the few who benefit from that! Collective insanity is growing too.

    What would happen to that economy if every community was growing their own food, if every village, town and city was surrounded by the green belt of small farms and gardens? - May be the true economy, understood as the careful management of available resources, where the health and happiness of many matters more than the greed of a few, could emerge in its place?

    * see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plastic_pollution
    approximately eight million metric tonnes of waste plastic that enter the earth's ocean every year - see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plastic_recycling

    ** Due to its low cost, most large cargo vessels are powered by bunker fuel also known as Heavy Fuel Oil which contains higher sulphur levels than diesel. This level of pollution is accelerating: with bunker fuel consumption at 278 million tonnes per year in 2001, it is projected to be at 500 million tonnes per year in 2020. see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cargo_ship#Controversies
     
  7. akimbo

    akimbo Active Member

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    Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I picked all the berries and put them in a sealed plastic bag which is cooking in the heat. Broke my heart thanks to our thriving global economy. Now I wonder if the escaped SWD will overwinter in the soil. Maybe a nice cold winter will kill them.
     
  8. akimbo

    akimbo Active Member

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    Thanks for your thoughts. What's it going to take for us to learn to grow and consume local food. For crying out loud, why do we import lettuce from China?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 23, 2015
  9. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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  10. akimbo

    akimbo Active Member

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    In the house I've had good luck catching fruit flies with apple cider vinegar in a jar covered with saran wrap, poked with holes. So far, three days of two similar traps near my raspberries and not a single fruit fly caught.
     
  11. vitog

    vitog Contributor 10 Years

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    What size are the holes in the Saran Wrap? SWD fruit flies are significantly larger than the usual fruit flies that have been around for years.
     
  12. akimbo

    akimbo Active Member

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    Yes, I wondered about that. I didn't want to make the holes too large, i.e. I didn't want to create a feeder for the darn things, but I'm going to make the holes bigger now.
     
  13. akimbo

    akimbo Active Member

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    Persistence

    Vitog you are right, the holes have to be bigger. Am starting to catch a few more, but they are crafty devils. Harder to catch than the regular fruit flies I have in the house. Meanwhile I'm still finding the larvae in the raspberries and continue to pick and bag the fruit. I made the mistake of putting the first bag in the garbage. Now I'm leaving the bags in the sun to bake. Am wondering if they will also infect my blueberries and plums.
     
  14. vitog

    vitog Contributor 10 Years

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    SWD can go after just about any small fruit, including blueberries. I have several kinds of plums, and they have never been bothered by SWD. Sweet cherries, on the other hand, get severely infested.
     
  15. akimbo

    akimbo Active Member

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    Well, FWIW, I'll be talking to my MP about banning the importation of Asian fruit.
     
  16. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    It is a very right thing to do.
     
  17. Cameron Critchlow

    Cameron Critchlow New Member

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    My hero.

    Ignoring the fact we can preserve enough food to feed us through the winter here...
    What in a higher power's name is the meaning behind purchasing PRODUCE from foreign countries IN THE SUMMER? Here in such a fertile land...

    Are you worried about how bland and unimaginative your home cuisine is becoming?
    Try... SEASONAL!
    Magic!

    Are you worried about the impact of your plastic bags?
    Try dumping your engine oil on your driveway and cleaning that up. Not fun? Why are you asking huge ships to use the stuff to get you dragon fruit for your little concrete picnic?

    I come from the okanogan. Most of the valley is as rich agricultural land as one could hope for... But apples from Mexico are a necessity because we need to build houses on beautiful farm land...

    Anyway, keep being a beautiful human being.
     
  18. akimbo

    akimbo Active Member

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    I hear you Cameron. Got some fruit without larva in the early raspberry season, but now my raspberry patch is infested with the Asian fruit fly. Reminder to folks out there with the same problem: It's important to pick all the infected fruit including those on the ground and discard it to prevent recurrence next year. Freeze it, bury it deep, or drown them. Having practiced that now for 4 years, it has not prevented recurrence in my patch, but the earliest pickings in the season appeared larva-free.
     
  19. vitog

    vitog Contributor 10 Years

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    Akimbo, over the last two years I've noticed a considerable and welcome reduction in the number of SWD fruit flies showing up in my cherries and raspberries. I used to see clouds of these around ripe raspberries. Now, I only see them occasionally. They still lay their eggs in the ripe fruit, but not all of the raspberries are affected. The early part of this year's crop was not affected at all, which seems to have been your experience as well. I don't know if this is just a local phenomenon or a generally occurring one. Perhaps a local predator has discovered SWD fruit flies as a new food source. Anyway, I hope that this is a trend that continues. I wish that the Picnic Beetles were going the same way, but no such luck.

    Thinking about the broader picture, perhaps the reduction in fruit fly numbers is part of the global decline in insect populations that has been in the news lately. Mosquito populations also seem to be down in this part of Burnaby, along with their predators. It's been years since I've seen a swallow or a bat around here, and many songbirds are less prevalent. Crows seem to be the only bird that is thriving.
     
  20. akimbo

    akimbo Active Member

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    I'm in Victoria. It's been a weird year. All the leaves on the deciduous trees were decimated by the winter-moth larva. There was barely a leaf remaining on our fruit trees. The oaks and chestnuts suffered too. Amazing that the fruit trees were able to put out a second flush of leaves, but we have not a single pear or plum on 6 trees, but a few apples on one of three apple trees. I'm now picking raspberries just to destroy them.
     

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