olive fly


Italian Food and Flavours


Olive fly control

Well done. Collective praying resulted in a surprise snowfall!! Now if you could all just collectively bring about a good freeze and make it hang around for a while we could be saved!

While I have every faith in your collective powers, I thought it prudent to start making olive-fly traps for olive fly control this summer just in case Mother Nature’s not listening as she should. These are simple and inexpensive to make and if you start now you will be ready for when it is time to hang them in the trees. This is at the end of June because the flies start laying their eggs from July onwards. Depending on weather conditions this egg-laying period can extend as far as October so the traps will need to be inspected, emptied and refilled as necessary during that time.

The basis of the trap is of course to entice them away from the olives BEFORE they lay any eggs, with the lure of a sweet smelling food. Once you see the recipe for the liquid that we put in the traps you’ll see why they just can’t resist! Since last week we looked at the reasoning behind not using insecticides, this is at least a way of lessening the attack.

In the words of Blue Peter, here’s one I made earlier


As you can see it is a very simple concept. Plastic bottle with wire hanger, a 1cm hole punctured or drilled at either side, between two yellow strips of tape because the colour yellow attracts insects (like in your vegetable patch where to help pollination and pest control you can never have too many yellow flowering plants.) Depending on how many olive trees you have you may want to start collecting your plastic bottles now. Remember to keep the lids because this lessens evaporation in those hot summer months.

And that sweet smelling food? Make a delicious mixture of water, ammonia and raw fish…mmmmm. For every 5 litres of water add a litre of ammonia and a couple of flaked up fresh sardines or anchovies. Put about a couple of inches of this mixture in the bottom of your bottles and screw the cap on. Hang one or two in every tree. Ideally they should be at a height of about 1.5 to 2 metres from ground level and on the south or southwest facing sides. If after ten days or so there are hardly any insects in there try repositioning the bottles.  If they get very full of insects or the liquid has evaporated then they will need redoing.


This is the culprit..consider this it’s “wanted” poster.


I hope this article on olive fly control is of use to you. Anything we can do to protect our crops without ruining our world can’t be far wrong.

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