Two 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.
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:
- 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.)
- 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
I 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.