Steps to Take to Prevent a Carrot Fly Infestation

If you sowed carrots earlier in the spring then by now you will probably have to consider thinning carrot seedlings to make sure that each one has enough space to grow. It may also be time to consider direct sowing some carrots outdoors. The best way to ensure a good supply of food crops throughout the year is to do some successional planting. This is a far better idea than choosing to plant a large quantity of carrots that will all be ready at the same time and that you will then have to freeze or preserve in some other way. Successional planting can also allow you to make the most of any gaps in your garden that occur throughout the year and make the most of all your growing space.

By Martin Cooper

Growing carrots is relatively easy as long as you respect their need for a free-draining and obstruction free growing medium. However, for many gardeners, carrot fly can be a problem. It is worth noting that early sown crops are more at risk of an attack. There are certain measures you can take to decrease or even eliminate your chance of suffering an infestation of these destructive little pests:

Choose Varieties Carefully:

There are several carrot varieties on the market that are resistant to carrot fly. If you know there to be a particular problem with this pest where you live then choosing one of these varieties is probably a good idea.

Raise your crop/ Barricade your crop:

Your chance of suffering a carrot fly problem is reduced if you grow your carrots above a certain height. This is because the females fly low to the ground, seeking out places to lay their eggs. By growing above two feet, you may lessen the risk of them laying eggs near your carrots. Creating a high fly-proof barrier of around two feet around your bed area or planting inside a greenhouse or polytunnel will also significantly lessen the risk.

By Karen Blakeman

Companion Planting:

Companion planting is really the best organic defence against pests of all kinds in your garden. Onions and other alliums are the perfect companions for carrots as they will create a strong smell which will mask the smell of the carrots, which is what draws the carrot flies in the first place. Hiding carrots in amongst other crops is a pretty effective way of camouflaging them and making it difficult for carrot flies to find them.

Mesh covering:

If you are really concerned and know carrot flies to be a problem where you live then covering your crops with a fine mesh, held down on all sides, is the only way to prevent the flies from laying their eggs. When you uncover the crops, to thin or to tend to the area, be sure to do so as quickly and efficiently as possible and try to avoid waving the thinned seedlings around or spreading the smell too broadly.

At the end of the day, carrot fly can always be a risk, but take the above measures and the likelihood of an infestation will be far less than it would otherwise have been.