Fruit flies (Bactrocera cucurbitae, Dacus spp., Ceratitis capitata)
Fruit flies are the most serious insect pests on zucchini/squash with the ability to totally wipe out any marketable fruit.
Fruit flies 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.
- Frequent applications of neem can keep fruit fly attack to a minimum.
For more information on Neem click here.
- Avoid continuous cultivation of cucurbits at the same place since this may lead to fruit fly outbreaks.
- Destroy all infested fruit.
- In small plots, wrap individual fruits or bag them with newspaper or paper bags to prevent fruit flies from laying eggs into the fruits. Wrapping or bagging should be started shortly after fruit set.
- 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", made of natural pyrethrum and acceptable in organic certified systems (see Hygrotech Company, contact-addresses below).
- 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.