Fruit flies (Bactrocera cucurbitae, Dacus spp and Ceratitis capitata)
Fruit flies are important pests of watermelons and other cucurbits. They are about 4-7 mm long, they pierce the fruits and lay eggs in fruits. The fruit fly maggots feed inside the fruit causing sunken, discoloured patches, distortions and open cracks. These cracks serve as entry points for fungi and bacteria, causing fruit rot.
- Avoid continuous cultivation of watermelons or cucurbits at the same place since this may lead to fruit fly outbreaks.
- Destroy all infested fruit
- Spray with a pyrethrum solution in the evenings after the bees are mostly back in their hives (after 6 pm). There is a product commercially available called Flower-DS(r) made of natural pyrethrum and acceptable in organic certified systems.
Precautions: Be careful to spray late in the evening, follow the spraying instructions. Wear masks and skin protection. All insect poisons are also poisonous to humans even if coming from natural sources.
Frequency of spraying: start shortly after beginning of flowering, and repeat approx every 5 days or according to counts.
- Frequent applications of neem can keep fruit fly attack to a minimum. For more information on Neem click here