Carrot root fly poses a significant threat to carrots, parsnips and even celery. Its larvae can swiftly devastate seedlings and tunnel through the roots of the mature plants, leaving behind unsightly brown trails and holes. Although completely eradicating the root fly is near impossible, you can use several methods to stop them from taking hold and destroying your crop.
Using a fleece as a protective barrier stands as one of the most effective methods for controlling carrot root fly, particularly during their peak activity periods in April, May, July, and August. However, it’s crucial to support the fleece adequately to prevent it from inadvertently smothering the foliage. Should the need arise to remove the fleece, for example thinning seedlings or harvesting, opt for evening hours when the root flies are less active.
Another approach involves elevating your carrot beds, either by using tall raised beds or barrels. Alternatively, erecting vertical barriers, such as fine netting, can deter the root fly, as these pests tend to hover closer to the ground during flight.
Companion planting, particularly with aromatic companions like onions or leeks, can effectively mask the scent of carrots and their foliage. Experimenting with companion planting techniques, such as growing carrots alongside onions in a square foot bed. This has yielded positive results in my own experience.
Using a combination of all three methods, fleece protection, vertical barriers, and companion planting, you create a formidable defense against carrot root fly infestations and hopefully stop this pest in it’s tracks.
In regions where carrot root fly poses a persistent threat, exploring resistant varieties such as Flyaway, Ibiza, Parano and Resistafly can offer an additional layer of defense. Although these varieties aren’t completely resistant to the root fly, they are less susceptible than other varieties.