Carrot fly and how to deal with it
A carrot fly chases a gardener, on a plot of which delicious and, most importantly, fragrant carrots are planted. After all, it is the aroma of carrots that attracts the carrot fly. In this material we will try to explain in as much detail as possible when and in what cases the carrot fly is activated and, of course, how to deal with it in the most environmentally friendly way. To understand how to once and for all, or even for a long time to drive a carrot fly off a site or to prevent it from appearing at all, you still need to know what this pest is, in other words, to know its biology, lifestyle, and addiction.
Description of the carrot fly and its larvae
In fact, scolding a carrot fly, we can say we do it in vain, because it is not she who harms, but her larvae that hatch from eggs laid by the female. And if the female carrot flies, although indirectly, are nevertheless harmful, then the males are completely safe for your garden. The laying of eggs by a carrot fly, contrary to popular belief, occurs literally at all phases of its development, and not at any particular moment.
Externally, the carrot fly is a relatively long, usually reaching half a centimeter, insect, often black. The wings of the fly are transparent, but the larvae hatching from eggs laid by the fly have a light yellow color and sometimes even shimmer in the sun, like beads. Larvae do not have a distinct head, they do not have distinct legs, the length of the body can fluctuate and reach a centimeter or be equal to its half, but on average it is about 0.8 centimeters. The most interesting thing is that the larvae are relatively winter-hardy; they winter quite well in the roots of carrots, having climbed deeper into them and are there for the entire period of storage of root crops without dying.
During the warm season, carrot flies usually give two generations. The very first generation of young carrot flies usually appears early in the spring, and the second generation of flies flies out at the end of summer, closer to early September, although it can fly out a few days ahead of schedule.
Typically, a carrot fly takes a long time to lay a target for laying eggs, which is why it’s just that it will never lay the ovipositor on loose soil (therefore, you need to loosen the soil more often). It usually places eggs on the root necks of carrot plants. Subsequently, larvae emerge from the eggs, which, without losing a minute, immediately bite into the root crop of carrots and begin to gnaw on it for quite long strokes.
It is very simple to notice that the carrot plant is affected by a pest, that is, the larvae of a carrot fly: in such a root crop, leaf blades usually acquire a completely aloe-violet color, and after a couple of days they turn yellow. If you do not take any measures and just watch the affected plants, then quite a bit of time will pass and the root crop will begin to dry out, followed by its complete death. It is clear that such a root crop is no longer suitable for either processing or storage.
Carrot Fly Prevention
Gardeners unanimously argue that for carrot plants, especially in summer cottages, where we only visit from time to time, carrot flies, or rather its voracious larvae, are almost the most dangerous enemy and must be fought with, without fail, and quite often literally all possible tricks and methods are used for this.
To begin, let's talk about the prevention of the appearance of carrot flies on the site and try to reduce losses from its life without the use of chemicals. Let's start with the main thing - with crop rotation, but you should also not delay carrots with crops, waiting until the years of the carrot fly begin. As soon as the snow has melted and the soil is ready for sowing carrots, boldly sow it, and then, when the carrot fly flies out, the carrot plants will already be strong enough. As for root crops, which are intended for storage and, therefore, should be sown later, it is necessary to sow them on the site in the last days of May and until mid-June.
About crop rotation: it is strongly recommended that carrots be returned to their original place no earlier than three years after they grew on this site earlier, and if there was a significant invasion of carrot-fly larvae, wait another year and sow it to its original place no earlier than four of the year.
So that the carrot fly “doesn’t get” to the crops, try to plant the carrots on small hills, a kind of mounds, in places where the wind will blow the crops well from all sides. Be sure to choose a place that is well-warmed up, open to the sun, the hesitating larvae will simply dry the sun or the carrot fly, knowing that this can happen, will simply bypass such an area.
Choose the soil for planting carrots as light and nutritious as possible. It is quite permissible to mix the soil and river sand in equal proportions; on nutritious and loose soil, the root crop of carrots will actively develop, grow denser and its walls will be “too tough” for the larvae of the carrot fly. But the introduction of fresh manure, when preparing the soil for sowing carrots, is completely undesirable, so you can only aggravate the situation. What to do to those who have already brought organic matter to the site? In this case, they can only tolerate and sow carrots in this place the next year.
By the way, about sowing: too thickened crops are also in the hands of a carrot fly and there is no need to say that soon you will thin all these thickets. The fact is that the thicker the crops initially, the more populating them with pests will be as active as possible. A carrot fly will see such a massive plantation and lay the maximum number of eggs, infecting almost all plants. If you initially sow carrots less often, then the pest in this area will be less (and sometimes very significant).
Speaking of thinning: Do not delay with this procedure and wait until the pulled-out root vegetables can already be eaten, thereby inhibiting the growth of the rest. When thinning carrot crops, do not skimp, leave two or even three centimeters of free space between each plant, it is especially important to do this when carrot plants already form a couple or three leaves. When thinning, remove all weeds, do not be content with the allegedly tearing off the top of the weed, and okay, try to pull it out of the soil completely, otherwise in a day it will restore a third of its vegetative mass, and in a couple of days it will be the same as it was before you cut it off.
Watering carrots, in order to avoid attracting carrot flies to it, you need to do it quite rarely and remember: no sprinkling, do not turn the air by sprinkling into perfumes with the aroma of carrots, which immediately flies carrot flies. Watering is needed moderate, always in combination with natural moisture, that is, precipitation, so that the soil does not dry out, but also does not look like a swamp.
When laying the beds do not forget about cultural compatibilityfor example, beds with carrots are very reasonable to alternate with beds occupied with ordinary green onions (garlic). The fact is that the feathers of green onions very actively emit volatile, which the carrot fly does not like at all, and the aroma of carrots repels the onion fly. Of course, this does not mean at all that by planting these two crops on the site, you can completely forget about the onion fly and carrot, but the number of these pests can actually be reduced significantly. Remember that the maximum deterrent effect gives spring garlic, but not winter, it is important.
We go further - mulching carrot cropsIt can also scare off a carrot fly. Peat crumb is suitable as mulch, it needs very little, only about three hundred grams per square meter of soil. Biologically, the fly does not at all favor the soil that contains peat, so the number of eggs laid in it can be significantly reduced.
By the way, we were completely overlooked presowing preparation of carrot seedsForgive us readers. Usually, about a couple of weeks before sowing carrot seeds in the ground, it is necessary to soak them for two hours in ordinary warm water (warm - this means that the water should be warmed up to room temperature, it is not advisable to warm it above), fine if it is thawed or rain. When two hours pass, the carrot seeds must be laid out on a dry and clean cloth, which should be wrapped in a plastic bag with the required holes so that air enters there.
This bag should be put on the refrigerator door for about a week. Immediately before sowing, a bag of seeds needs to be opened, taken out of our seeds and dried for a couple of hours on a dry napkin in order to gain flowability. Why did we do this? In order to at least partially repel a carrot smell typical and very attractive for a carrot fly and accelerate seed germination. After this, the seeds can be safely sown on the garden bed.
Folk measures to combat the carrot fly
So, if prevention didn’t help, and the fly doesn’t want to part with the world, then we first start up a light and environmentally friendly weapon - a popular means of struggle.
Method one: you need to take 100 g of tobacco dust (it is now sold everywhere) and dilute it in 100 grams of rain or melt water with 50 grams of slaked lime pre-diluted in it (if there is no slaked lime, then wood ash can be used in the same amount). The resulting mixture must be applied to the soil, in the aisles, where carrots grow. Usually, 8-9 g of this mixture is needed per square meter of the plot (it is better not to increase the dose). The treatment of carrot plants affected by a carrot fly with this mixture is preferably carried out two or three times with an interval of ten days.
Second option: you need to take three kilograms of tomato tops and chop it all very finely, then - put in a pan or barrel of a suitable size and pour cool boiling water to the top. The resulting broth should be kept without touching for about two days. Next, the resulting mixture needs to be filtered, add 20 g of liquid (preferably antibacterial) or a half-piece of laundry soap to it and spray the mixture over a bed with carrot plantings.
In addition, you can use yarrow decoctions (1 kg per bucket of water, the norm is 2-3 square meters of beds) burdock (2 kg per bucket of water, the norm is 1.5-2 square meters of beds) daisies (1.5 kg of tops per bucket of water, the norm per square meter of beds) and wormwood (2 kg of tops per bucket of water, the norm for three square meters of beds). Beats off the aroma, as well as the appetite of the carrot fly decoction garlic (5-6 cloves per liter of water, the norm is 2 square meters of beds) and Luke (a kilogram of feathers per bucket of water, the norm per square meter of beds).
If a simple soaking of onion and garlic may not give the desired effect, then onion and garlic infusion can be prepared according to the recipe, which was used by our grandparents. For example, to prepare a garlic or onion solution, it is necessary to take the unpeeled slices of these plants and cut them finely chopped directly with the peel, and then pour two liters of boiling water over it. After this mixture, you need to let it brew for a day, filter it, and before processing the plants, the carrots must be diluted two times and put in a solution of a half of laundry soap.
Typically, this treatment is most effective when thinning carrot crops, then the smell is leveled as much as possible, the carrot fly does not feel it at all and flies around the site. The most interesting thing is that the effect of such treatments in good weather (if it is not very hot and there is no rain) can last up to a week, which is especially true for summer cottages, where we are not so often.
According to the reviews of gardeners, it has established itself as a protection against carrot flies. coniferous extract. Its action, with a high degree of probability, is based on the same principle - repelling a carrot fly with an unpleasant smell. To make this extract, you need to fill 200 grams of pine needles with a bucket of water at room temperature, again, it is better to rain or melt. Next, the infusion should be allowed to stand for a day, then strain, fill it with a spray bottle and process the beds with carrots.
Remember, whatever infusions or solutions you use, always process carrots in the morning (before five in the morning) or in the evening (after five in the afternoon). One treatment is too little, spend two or three of them. Do not process plants every day, do this at least once a week.
In no case, when thinning plantations of carrots, do not throw plants torn from the ground right at the bed, at this time they exude the most attractive aroma for a carrot fly. Burn unnecessary plants or use them for compost, and some prepare with their help spring, very tasty and healthy, by the way, salads.
In conclusion, folk control measures, with which you can scare off a carrot fly, can be advised in the aisles, when pulling plants, to lay out small parts of tomato or wormwood tops - insects do not like this very much.
Using chemistry to fight a carrot fly
Chemistry for the fight against a carrot fly can be used only in the most extreme case, when it was not possible to scare off the pest using folk remedies, and it did not work out. To eliminate carrot flies during their summer, as well as their larvae, it is only necessary to use insecticides that are allowed in the current season, strictly following the dosages and instructions on the package. You can use insecticides such as Stefesin, Decis and Volaton.
Remember that chemicals are most effective only at air temperatures of 20 degrees and above. Processing should be carried out strictly in calm weather away from a reservoir or apiary, so as not to harm beneficial insects. The optimal periods for treatments are morning hours (from five to seven in the morning) and evening hours (from five to seven in the evening). Try to choose a period when at least for a couple of days after processing the weather station in your region does not predict rainfall in the form of rain.
In addition to harmful chemicals, you can use more gentle biological preparations, for example, Fitoverm, you need to dilute only 10 ml of this drug in five liters of water, so that it is enough to process the plants, spending the amount obtained on 10-12 square meters of beds. Using any drugs, do not forget about personal protective equipment, it should be rubber gloves and a respirator.
Instead of a conclusion
We can give good advice instead of concluding our narrative. I adopted this method of protection against carrot flies from abroad. It is a little more expensive, but no chemistry is needed, and in the end you will save a lot of time.
Biologists noticed that the carrot fly above the soil surface flies rather low, therefore, a small fine-mesh network can be pulled over the plants, which would not interfere with the growth of carrot tops, but also would not allow the laying of eggs. Fences should be forty centimeters high, no more (and also covered by a network). You need to install them around the beds of carrots and tighten with a regular mosquito net. This is an elementary and proven method that does not require almost special costs.
So, we described the rules of planting, and the rules of prevention and sparing control measures, and chemical ones, and even talked about arranging the grid, which, by the way, is easy to remove and carry out any work with soil, including irrigation. You just have to take all this into account and grow a chic crop of carrots. But if you do not understand something, ask questions in the comments, we will answer them!