Homespun Traps Help Farmers Battle Flies
Crops of cherries were devastated last year on Kruse farms, and none went to market that year. The flying culprit was the prodigious fruit fly, who is thriving in the warm season
This year Oregon farms are warmer and the mild spring means more bugs, and earlier. Fruit farmers have developed tricks to keep the insects while avoiding their last resort – spraying with pesticide
“I want to (spray) as little as possible. It’s dangerous for me, it’s expensive and it takes time,” said Evan Kruse, manager of the farm. “But at the end of the day, people aren’t going to buy fruit that’s been ruined by an invasive species.
The type of fruit fly invading farms this year is called the spotted wing drosophilia (SWD) and is known for its love of vinegar. So Kruse and other farmers have fashioned a simple trap that can be hung from barbed wire fences, to attract the flies.
After a couple of seasons of getting to know the flies, the farmer’s have fashioned what look like plastic jars, filled with equal parts white wine and vinegar, and strung them around properties. So far, they are doing the job.
On top of minimizing the flies’ presence, larger operations also maintain procedures to keep fruit viable and appealing to customers. Step one is to trap fruit flies. Step two is to wash fruit using a salt solution that cleanses any fruit fly larvae. The last step is using pesticides. Fortunately for farmer and customer, the last step hasn’t been necessary yet this season.