I often troll Freecycle Big Island, a wonderful local online recycling community moderated by Sonia Martinez through Yahoo Groups, to pickup freebies for my garden and to disperse my reusable items to fellow treasure-seekers. Today I spotted someone’s request for old pantyhose to be used as fruit fly control, which intrigued me.
I never liked washing out pantyhose, let alone wearing them for the, ahem, pun intended, brief time I worked in the corporate world. And in Hawai'i, whoever wears them must have to work at an extremely unpleasant place. So let’s make this official – wearing pantyhose in Hawai'i is hereby declared a serious crime requiring aggressive rehab, unless innocently worn by a vegetable that doesn’t know any better.
That said, I think, perhaps, here is some advice with real legs.
Call your local University of Hawaii Cooperative Extension office (UH CTAHR) and talk to the UH Master Gardeners – the numbers are listed on the lower right hand column of this blog. First, they can help you identify your particular fruit fly – Melon, Mediterranean, Oriental or Solanaceous. Then they can recommend effective steps for control. There are different traps, baits, and lures depending on the species. UH master gardeners are collecting data on fruit fly infestation and control and are currently providing free information to the public; they also have low-cost lures and traps available. Click here for “How-to” pdfs you can download from Hawaii Areawide Fruit Fly Pest Management Program (HAW-FLYPM). Navigate to UNI-FLY-VERSITY, 'Take Home' Material.
Here’s another successful tip. One master gardener I know swears by the mosquito netting he buys from the local army surplus store - he drapes an insect-proof tent over his container-grown tomatoes.
Hawaii Island Master Gardeners will have a fruit fly information display in their booth at the Puna Sustainability Fair in Pahoa Village on Saturday, May 9, 8 am to 5 pm. Check it out if you’re in the area.