Wormy raspberries are simply yucky [UPDATED]Published 10:02am Monday, September 17, 2012 Updated 12:03pm Monday, September 17, 2012
We have had several calls at the extension office about worms in picked raspberries.
They usually show up the refrigerator. We really didn’t have any explanation for this until we got a new reference book that listed raspberry fruit worms in the index.
The problem starts in the early spring when a small 1/7 inch yellowish-brown beetle begins feeding on the flower buds and leaves of the plant during the spring and early summer.
The female lays eggs on the flower buds, flowers or the developing fruit. In only a few days, the eggs hatch and the small cream colored larvae bores into the bud and into the receptacle, the structure that holds the ripening fruit. The larvae make a tunnel in the receptacle next to the berry.
If left alone to grow up, the worm will drop to the ground where they will pupate and hide over the winter to re infect your crop next summer.
So, what should you do if you don’t like protein with your fruit?
Since the beetles finish their development by late July, you can avoid the problem by only planting fall bearing raspberries. Keeping the patch weed free also seems to lessen the chances of fruit worm infestations.
If, however, you want summer berries, keep a close eye on your plants. At the first sight of skeletonization of the foliage in early to mid summer, get out the FLIT, (the proper insecticide).
You may also notice feeding injury on the flower buds. This can not only damage the flower clusters but will reduce the numbers of fruit produced that summer.
If you have had this problem, you will need to apply an insecticide before the berries bloom. This should, at least reduce the incidence of protein laden berries.
If you are planning to plant trees, shrubs or perennials this fall, do try to do it this week.
That way you will be assured of about 6 weeks of frost free weather for the plants to get well established before winter sets in. Of course this is Minnesota, land of unexpected weather changes. If, however, you find a bargain later in the season, you can plant, pot and all, and winter it that way.
Mulch heavily and plan to get it replanted as soon as you can get a spade in the soil next spring.
Newly planted trees and shrubs need extra watering for the first five years after planting to ensure they will live long and prosper. Bev Johnson M.G.
Bev Johnson is a master gardener in Otter Tail County.