How to Get Rid of Carrot Fly
Also known as Carrot rust fly, carrot fly, or carrot root fly Psila rosae is an incredibly annoying pest to the garden. They don’t physically cause damage as adults, however their larvae feed on the roots of many garden plants.
The Carrot rust fly favors cool and moist conditions. If your soil tends to hold water well it is highly recommended that you utilize yellow sticky cards to identify the severity of a population in your garden.
What Are Carrot Flies?
What Do Carrot Flies Look Like?
As larvae Carrot Rust Flies first appear as colorless maggots which gain a white/yellow coloring over a month.
They are approximately 0.12 mm to 0.25 mm long. They first start boring into roots in the late spring after overwintering. During their pupation period of approximately 25 days they appear brown as they reside near the roots in the soil.
Adults emerge in May-June and measure about 5mm long. They have red eyes, an orange head, slender bodies with a black abdomen and thorax, yellow legs, and dark transparent wings that open to 12.7mm.
Carrot Root Fly Damage
What Do Carrot Flies Eat?
Adult Carrot Rust Flies are attracted to the scent of their host plants. Their main hosts include umbelliferous crops which are those with umbrella shaped lacy flowers.
The most common being carrots, celery, parsley, fennel, coriander, dill, cumin, among many others. While adults have rasping sucking mouths they do not cause any damage in the garden and rather take shelter in hedges.
Within the garden the larvae are the damage causing pests with their rasping chewing mouths. They burrow through the soil to the roots of the host plants where they chew, creating tunnels.
Carrot Fly Larvae
Carrot Rust Fly eggs are tiny measuring only 0.6-0.9 mm long and 0.15 mm wide.
They are laid on the soil surface or just barely under the base/crown of plants in the early spring to late summer. With extremely short life cycles you may have up to three generations a year.
These generations would hatch in the early spring, summer, and fall.
Carrot Fly Prevention
It is also recommended that all crop residue is removed post harvest. Crop rotations can also be used to prevent population build up. During the growing season utilize floating row covers to prevent egg laying and adult presence. Sticky traps can also be used to monitor the population levels as well as capture adult flies.
Carrot Fly Spray
- Dish Soap and Water - 2 tbsp to 1 quart water
- Carrot Fly Vinegar Spray - 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water
- Organic Neem Oil Spray - 1 tsp neem oil and 1/4 tsp dish soap to 1 quart water
- Castile Soap - 1 tbsp to 1 quart water
- Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) - Store bought spray consisiting of natural soil-borne bacteria
- Spinosad Spray - Natural soil bacteria effective in treating several garden pests