Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Fruit Fly Fable

Once upon a time, there was a middle aged married couple who bought a block of land in the country. They dreamed of growing their own food, so one of the first things they did was plant lots and lots of fruit trees: citrus, stone fruit, figs, quince, apples and pears and lots of other fruit trees besides.
For three years they tended and nurtured their fruit trees, anticipating the fruit the trees would bear in the fourth year. The fourth year dawned, and sure enough, their fruit trees groaned with fruit. The couple was beside themselves and couldn’t wait to eat their lovely home grown fruit.
However, they didn’t do anything to prevent fruit fly, mainly because they didn’t realise what a menace it could be. Things went well until one day, they noticed peaches and plums going rotten and falling to the ground. It was a massive fruit fly infestation. It was, however, too late to do anything. So the married couple harvested the fruit, but instead of eating it, they put the fruit, kilos and kilos of it into big plastic bags to cook in the sun, and hopefully kill off the fruit fly.
In the fifth year, the married couple was determined not to let the same thing happen again. The man found an organic fruit fly spray and sprayed religiously. The woman made funny looking fruit fly traps filled with a cocktail of vegemite, sugar, vanilla essence and (ahem) urine.
They were happy to find that their fruit was fine, and they ate heaps of plums, peaches, figs and nectarines during the summer. The married couple congratulated themselves. “Seems we got on top of that one,” they said to each other.
Just as summer turned to autumn, though, the married couple took their children away for a few days. When they came back, they found the lemons that they had left on the bench before they went away were buzzing with - you guessed it - fruit fly. A quick check of the orchard found fly blown lemons, figs, feijoa and guavas. Again, they had to throw away a lot of fruit they had carefully nurtured, and again they were very sad.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Never, never, never let your guard down against fruit fly. They are the enemy.



miss*R said...

hi, I followed you from down-to-earth.. how do you make fruit fly traps? I think I had them in my lemons last year.. damn. also, when is the time to put them out? My grandpa used the old glass ones but I have no idea what he mixed to put in them

laughing at the urine.. I have my husband piddling on the citrus.. apparently very good for the trees!

Paola said...

Hi miss*R, Thanks for dropping by Spades and Spoons. I think I'll write a post on Fruit Fly traps in the next few days, as I am planning on making a few more. I've been putting these out since the beginning of November as with fruit fly, by the time you realise you have them, it's too late. Unfortunately, we got a bit complacent and stopped topping up the brew.
My husband and son are both regular citrus tree piddlers too...hee,hee.

miss*R said...

thanks tons! will watch for the post.
I wish I had been older when I wandered the vegie patch with my grandpa but I was 10 when they died.

Lynn said...

This is my first time visiting. I'm enjoying reading about your gardening and orchard-growing efforts. We are also in the throes of planting lots of fruit trees. A few years ago we planted lemon, apple, two peaches, a couple plums, a pear, some grape vines. And just this year my husband added 5 cherries, 2 almonds, 2 nectarines, 2 oranges . . . I may be leaving something out. But we have high hopes of having lots of fruit in the near future, too. Yesterday I discovered some curled up leaves on one peach tree, which may be an indication of the dreaded "peach curl" -- some kind of bacteria that affects the tree and kills off the fruit for that year :( I guess it's pretty common here in California. So we shall see. Anyway, it is nice to "meet" you :) and I wish you best of luck in all your growing and preserving of produce!

Paola said...

Hi Lynn, Thanks for dropping by the blog and leaving a comment! Peach leaf curl...yes, that's another thing we get here. I think we spray Bordeaux mixture for that in the late winter. Hope you don't get fruit fly though!