Wasps eating strawberries

lateriserSeptember 8, 2012

Howdy, Howdy from the Commonwealth,

My Seascape strawberries are currently planted using the hill system and irrigated when necessary. They are producing beautiful berries, but almost everyone is destroyed by yellow jackets or wasps. Because strawberries ripen quickly, spraying them with insecticide probably is not an option. I tried grape juice bottle traps, which got filled to the brim with wasps and yellow jackets, but my strawberries still get attacked. What can I do?

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ltilton

Try row covers.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 1:41PM
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glenn_10 zone 4b/5a NewBrunswick,Can.

They are really bad this time of year.My only suggetion is to make more bottle traps,make as many as you can.It has worked for wasps as well as ants for me.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 1:57PM
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alan haigh

In the past I've had good results with traps but this year my figs are getting shredded in spite of the traps. Funny because I'm in the East coast.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 6:21AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I've got wasps eating apples, figs, pears, late peaches, late plums. I don't even want to pick my figs, there are so many wasps its scary. All the later rain has caused major splitting and a food fest for them.

Scott

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 5:20PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

I am dismayed at how many wasps are on my fruit this year too. I got a GOOD sting while picking pears off the ground and it hurt for weeks. I left them to rot; same goes for peaches and plums on the ground. I thought it was because of all the fires across Colorado this summer. We have had so many unusual insects and many more of the usual. Maybe it's just that way everywhere.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 8:23PM
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beeman_gardener(5)

We suffered for years with wasps. Found the answer. Get those wasp traps that they get into and can't get out off.
Use apple juice, get them out really early in the spring, and clean them out regularly. That's when the queen wasps emerge, want to feed before starting nest building.
We catch a good number every year which reduces the amount of nest sites around, which needless to say reduces the amount of free flying foragers.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 10:46PM
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ltilton

Adult wasps eat nectar and juice, but for most of the year they're fed by the carnivorous larvae, who secrete a syrup to feed the adults who feed them. In the fall, the queen stops laying eggs and there are no more larvae, so the adults have to forage for food for themselves, right at the time there's a lot of ripe and rotting fruit.

This is why wasps are the most trouble now.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 10:10AM
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lateriser

Thanks for the responses. Beeman, how successful have your traps been at catching the queens in the spring? Is there some sort of location technique that you use. As it is, some juice traps will get filled immediately for me, but others will remain empty. At this point, with another 5-6 weeks till frost, I am considering dusting the strawberries with Sevin. I realize I couldn't pick strawberries for 10-14 days, but I am barely picking anything now. Would a dusting of Sevin be carried back to the nest and kill the nest, or at least the bees that eat the fruit? The honey bees around my house seem to leave strawberry flowers alone, so I am not too worried about them.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 12:54PM
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ltilton

Why use Sevin when there are more selective and less toxic insecticides?

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 5:08PM
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lateriser

ltilton, I am planning on using Sevin because it is a dust that attaches onto the wasps and will be carried back to the nest and kill the nest. If you have any other recommendations, please let me know. I am loosing about 80% of my strawberry crop right now. From the sound of it, I am not the only one under heavy wasp pressure.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 7:32PM
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beeman_gardener(5)

Why not track them back to source, then kill the nest. Wasps do not fly far, find one, shake flour on it, then watch it until you find the nest.
Use a wasp bomb and your troubles should be over.
Sevin is really nasty stuff, and the risk to you is serious.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 8:21PM
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alan haigh

The flour idea is interesting, the sevin caution may be over blown. Personally I'll trust the label for my own eating- just wash the fruit well. I'm cautious enough not to serve recently treated fruit to children. I'm just not sure that it will be carried in quantities back to the nest adequate for the purpose- I also don't think the use is on the label. For strawberries you could use bridal fabric- what is it? Tule?

The most interesting thing is how widespread this problem is this year in regions of different weather. Here it doesn't seem there are more wasps than usual but just that they are more destructive. At least I'm getting SOME of my figs although I can't wait for them to reach perfection.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 6:39AM
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beeman_gardener(5)

There are so many variables for the foraging of wasps, such an early start to the season has played havoc with all our insects.
Bumble bees for instance, started early even got to nest building, then those late frosts which took out the blossoms killed off a lot of nest sites, same with the wasps. Then the extra dry damaged a great many caterpillars, and dried up a lot of the nectar sources. I know my honey crop is nearly half of normal.
Now the season is extending into fall and they're getting desperate.
Someone did suggest row fabric, which I think would really cure the problem. Held off the fruit with wire hoops, would also extend the season, great idea.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 9:12AM
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mrsg47(7)

Tulle is the wedding fabric. It is fine white netting, very fine and wasps could not get through. I have only seed one wasp all summer/now fall and that was yesterday. It was looking at my new 'Caroline' raspberries.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 8:08PM
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mrsg47(7)

Tulle is the wedding fabric. It is fine white netting, very fine and wasps could not get through. I have only seed one wasp all summer/now fall and that was yesterday. It was looking at my new 'Caroline' raspberries.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 8:09PM
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shazaam(NC 7B)

Tulle is a great suggestion for an insect barrier, or you could also go with something like Agribon's AG-15 lightweight row covers. For strawberries, that really does seem like the easiest solution.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 10:50AM
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alan haigh

The problem with floating row covers is they greatly reduce air flow and strawberries tend to rot. I figure the tulle might provide better ventillation.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 10:58AM
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ltilton

I've used tulle a lot, with success, mostly against Japanese beetles.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 12:15PM
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shazaam(NC 7B)

That's a very good point, harvestman. Tulle would probably be the better choice for airflow, and I'm pleasantly surprised at how affordable it is. I found a 108" wide, 50 yard roll online at Paper Mart for $44.52, and their shipping is very reasonable.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 12:41PM
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