Being rather prone to fruit fly in our area we have had most of our tomato and capsicum crops decimated by fruit fly in recent years. Pesticides and sticky insect traps made a small impression but most fruit were still being attacked.
Its not easy to see at first, as they burrow through the fruit skin to lay their eggs which then hatch and turn the insides to mush. So initially there is only a tiny hole to indicate that we had squatters inside our tomatoes.
Then I read that fruit fly only land on the top of the fruit – be it tomato or capsicum so we made some small cloth hats which were tied over the top of the green fruits.
Essentially they are no more than a square of cotton, just large enough to tie over the fruit like a sunhat.
I was eager to see if it adversely affected ripening, but it soon became clear that ripening is an internal chemical reaction that doesn’t require sun rays on the fruit skin to make it happen.
Two weeks later we were harvesting perfect fruit – made doubly satisfying knowing that it didn’t need washing because it had never been sprayed. We washed it anyway to be 100% safe but now feel very happy that we have another Integrated Pest Management technique to add to the armoury.
P.S. before posting this blog I did an internet search to see if anyone else had had the same idea but only found fruit fly bags which require sewing and draw strings to attach. I’d suggest that fruit do not need 100% enclosing – just the top only as we have proved. But, as always, am keen to know your thoughts.
Author: Bob Saunders