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Harvest Carrots & Avoid Sawfly Infestations

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Carrot pests ruining your crop?

If so, carrot sawfly may have found your garden. While these flying insects can be great pollinators carrot family plants, their larvae can destroy the same crops. So that means this insect can be carrot pests. And they can be problematic for cilantro and dill as well. Worst of all, they can do some serious damage to your carrot root crops.

Carrot Pests didn't get to this crop!

Although leaving carrots in the ground to sweeten after a first freeze sounds great, getting them out earlier is a good idea if you have a sawfly pest!

Sawfly carrot pests can be difficult keep out of crops…

Carrot sawfly adults are tiny flying wasp insects that look more like black ants than true flies. And, they look a lot like many other tiny, black wasps.

But to be clear, I’m no entomologist, so I won’t even begin to try to tell you exactly what they look like. Still, I do know what their larvae’s damage looks like because I’ve had to deal with it.

Unfortunately, when even one tiny wasp makes its way to the crop, the larvae may thrive. And those wasps are small and sneaky little buggers!

How can you try to stop carrot sawfly issues?

If you’re concerned you have a carrot sawfly infestation, pull your crops asap. And if you can’t do it right away, pull them before winter. That’s because the larvae can overwinter in the carrots in the ground. consider pulling them before winter just to be sure you don’t accidentally over-winter the pest.

If you do have an infestation, don’t plan to plant any carrot family¬†plants in that area for a few years. That’s because this may help you break the lifecycle of the pest. So when you don’t have their food source growing, the pests (usually) won’t come.

In urban areas, it may be tough to keep them out.

Think about it: if a neighbor has overwintered the pest insect in (say) their parsely bed, when the adults emerge and smell your delicious carrots growing, they’ll be on those suckers like flies on, well, um, carrots in this case.

So, when you do replant carrots (in previously infested soil or not), try covering your freshly seeded crops with horticultural fleece. That’s because this may keep the flying adults out. But remember they’re tiny little flying ladies, so it can be tough to keep them out even with fleece.

Can I eat sawfly infested carrots?

Yes, you can eat carrots with sawfly larvae damage. But, it may mean cutting out lots of damaged portions of the crop.

Are there other carrot pests of concern?

Definitely! In fact, wireworms are one of the worst. As well, rats, voles and rabbits can be too. So if you’d like more help with your carrot pests, sign up to be notified about our online learning programs so we can help!

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