Carrot fly (Latin name – Psila rosae) is a disaster.
The carrot flies lay eggs in cracks of the soil, near carrots & parsnips. The eggs hatch out into maggots which enter the roots & feed on them. Carrot flies ruin the crop, but the following facts can help you minimise damage:
- Carrot flies are not strong fliers, so a windswept site is an advantage.
- Grow a resistant strain.
- Sow seeds thinly, to avoid having to thin the carrots out, as the fly is attracted by the smell
- Weed & pull carrots on a dry, still evening so the scent of the carrot does not reach the fly
- Use a net to keep the fly off the carrot
- use a vertical barrier, at least 70cm high, of fine mesh or polythene around the crop
- grow carrots in a container or raised bed:
Carrot fly travel close to the ground, and a barrier 2 foot high will interrupt their flight path, forcing the fly to take another route. If carrots are planted in a container at least 2 foot off the ground, the carrot flies will just zoom past the side of the container, and not bother the carrots growing inside.
Choose carrots from the Nantes or Amsterdam groups for containers.
- Nantes are sweet, round carrots that grow to around 6 inches long.
- Amsterdam carrots are small and thin, growing no more than 3 inches long.
Carrot fly ruins carrots, so taking action to avoid the pest is worthwhile.