Category Archives: Grow Berries

Eating Raspberries in December

Eating Raspberries in DecemberTwo weeks ago,  I was out in my garden or what is left of it as winter approaches and I saw a few luscious raspberries left on the vines.  They had not frozen in the recent frosts.  So there I was eating raspberries in December!  And they were truly delicious!  One big plus is that as I checked them there was no evidence of insect damage from the the Spotted Wing Drosophila fruit fly.  I am guessing that it has been too cold for it to be here.  Believe it or not the picture above was taken December 6th.

How Is It Possible to be Eating Raspberries in December

One reason that I would be able to be eating raspberries in December is because we have had a beautiful warm autumn.  I think our first night freeze was in the last four weeks near the end of November.  And it wasn’t a very bad frost or we wouldn’t still be getting raspberries!

I planted these raspberries 20 years ago.  I got them from my Dad who still has raspberries growing in his garden and he is almost 86 years old.  He doesn’t remember the name of them or where he got them.  They are ever-bearing raspberries.  That means that they bloom in the spring with the fruit ripening in the early summer.  Then they bloom again in the fall for a second crop.  My father commented that he has given a away a lot of these to friends and acquaintances.  These raspberries are growing in many gardens as a result of my father sharing.  Of course that is one of the fun things about gardening, sharing cuttings or seeds of unique plants that you have planted in your garden.

 

Spotted Wing Drosophila Fruit Fly Trap

What is a spotted wing drosophila fruit fly trap?  In my last post I introduced the spotted wing drosophila fruit fly and how damaging it is.   I included a video actually showing the larvae crawling around in the raspberry.  This is an invasive pest that has been showing up on the East Coast the last few years.  It damages all soft fruits including raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, peaches etc.

I like to garden organically so I didn’t want to use pesticides to get rid of this pest.  It is tricky to use the pesticides because you have got to kill the fruit flies before they lay their eggs.  Sometimes gardeners and farmers aren’t even aware that the spotted wing drosophila is in their neighborhood laying eggs on the “not quite” ripe fruit.

University extensions are recommending this spotted wing drosophila fruit fly trap.  They say to use it and check it often to see if you actually have the fruit fly in your garden or on your farm.  The extensions don’t feel that this trap will eliminate them.  I used this trap last year.  Though I didn’t eliminate the pest I reduced the numbers.  I actually harvested some raspberries that were not infested.

Two recommendations are:

  1. If your raspberries bear in the spring and late summer then you have a much better chance of having raspberries that are not infested in the spring though you should still check the traps to see if you have the SWD(spotted wing drosophila.)
  2. Pick ALL your raspberries even if they are infested and throw them in the trash.  Don’t  let the larvae mature into more fruit flies. Don’t even compost them because they could survive if your compost pile is not very hot.

Making a Spotted Wing Drosophila Fruit Fly Trap

What is a spotted wing drosophila fruit fly trapI made this trap by taking half gallon milk containers and poking holes in the top half of the container.  Then I filled it with an inch of apple cider vinegar and hung them around the raspberries.  I used about 5-6 containers in my small raspberry patch.  I changed the vinegar every week or so and it was full of dead fruit flies.  In the beginning I changed it often but as the summer progressed I changed it less often.  Though this did not eliminate the fruit fly, there were fewer of them and I did get some good raspberries.  I usually check every raspberry now before I save them to make sure that there are no larvae in them.

White Worms Raspberries

Raspberries from my GardenWhite worms raspberries??  Oh no Are you kidding? This is a “bad news” posting about white worms in raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and other soft fruits including blueberries, cherries, plums, plumcots, nectarines and figs. The Spotted Wing Drosophila fruit fly from native Japan is responsible. It is considered an invasive pest in the NW United States since 2009. Now it is also appearing on the East Coast of the US.

Why Are the Raspberries Not Kosher?

I was at a frozen yogurt store and noticed that the fresh raspberries and blackberries were marked “not kosher.” Now why in the world would a fresh fruit not be kosher. So I asked and they said that those fruits had not been checked to see if there were any worms in them. I had no idea that this was even a possibility. So I went home and looked in some of my gorgeous blackberries and sure enough there were white larvae crawling around in them. I was really grossed out because I had been eating these blackberries. Then I decided to check the raspberries and Yikes! The larvae were in the raspberries also. How disgusting and disappointing.

What Are the White Worms in the Raspberries?

Now I needed to find out what are these white worms or larvae and what to do about it. I put in “white worms raspberries” into Google and came up with the Spotted Wing Drosophila Fruit Fly.  This fruit fly is a more serious pest than our regular fruit flies because it attacks unripe and just ripe fruit.  Regular fruit flies attack fruit when it becomes soft and overly ripe.  The female has an ovipositor (which is the egg laying apparatus) that can pierce fruit that isn’t ripe yet.  With regular fruit flies we have an opportunity to pick the fruit before the fruit flies lay eggs in it.  Not so with the Spotted Wing Drosophila.  It lays eggs before we would think of picking the fruit.  For more information see this from the Pennsylvania Extension Service.

Check out this YouTube video to take a look at what these white worms in raspberries look like: