Carrot fly is the enemy of all root vegetables

Carrot fly

Carrot fly (Psila rosae) can cause considerable damage not only to your carrots, but also to other types of root vegetables such as parsley and celery. It is 4 to 5 mm long fly that lays eggs in the soil near root vegetables. Adults do not cause damage, but their larvae can devour plenty of vegetables. Young carrots may die, larger carrots will become deformed and bitter.

How do I know that my vegetables got attacked by the carrot fly?

The carrot fly usually appears in mid-May. Its larvae bite and drill tunnels under the surface of roots causing damage, which can kill young carrots for example. The next generation of larvae appear from the end of July and then again in autumn. Surprisingly, these next generations will not kill your plants, but will deform the roots of carrots and other root vegetables). Carrots become bitter and may even start rotting.

Carrot fly


Stored carrots need to be protected as well

Unfortunately, the fight may not end with the harvest. If you store apparently healthy carrots that had been infested, the larvae will hatch in your cellar and keep devouring. They can cause considerable damage even to stored carrots and they can also attack other healthy types of root vegetables.

How to get rid of the carrot fly

Unfortunately, there is no chemical spray against larvae but there are several ways to limit the damage they cause. Given the fact that the adult carrot fly is not a very good flyer and likes to hide in a shade and overgrown habitats, you should always grow carrots far from shady areas . Don’t grow carrots in the same location each year – in fact, you should grow carrots in a different place every year and only use the same site after 4 to 5 years. You should also get rid of weeds regularly.

What should you do if you already have the carrot fly?…

If you already discovered the carrot fly try using yellow glue boards. Place them above the ground around the carrot bed. A good preventive measure is to use a white non-woven fabric and cover carrots which are still healthy.

Preview photo: Pixabay

Radek Štěpán

Gardening is my hobby, I have a lot of experience and I am happy to share it.


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