Carrot Fly

Psila rosae

Carrot Fly, Carrot Rust Fly, Carrot Root Fly

profile iconChamaepsila rosae, wortelvliegen
by Rasbak (CC BY-SA 3.0)
1 of 4
Two Psila rosae carrot fly on a wooden background
profile iconChamaepsila rosae, wortelvliegen
by Rasbak (CC BY-SA 3.0)
1 of 4
The carrot fly larvae cause damage to carrot roots and related root crops, for example, parsley, celery and parsnip. Feeding behaviour of larvae causes the top growth of the plant to wilt and discolour as the plant root is unable to take up sufficient nutrients and water.
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Traits

Carrot fly can cause damage to plant leaves and roots, which can lead to the death of the plant.

Appearance

Active from mid-spring to late autumn. The adult is a tiny winged black fly which rarely flies above 60cm from the ground and lays eggs onto the soil surface. The larvae are thin maggots, creamy-yellow with a black dot at each end of their bodies and are 7 to 9mm in length. The pupa stage occurs in summer and overwinter. Generally, there are two generations per year.

Symptoms

Top growth of susceptible crop may begin to wilt or stunted growth of young plants. The Carrot and related crops, roots have fine tunnels bored into them, damaging the tissue and causing it to brown and ultimately become soft.

Activity

Diurnal

Personality

Order

Diptera

Family

Psilidae

Metamorphosis

Complete

Distribution

Asia, Europe and North America

Biological treatment

As the Carrot fly is a low flyer, erecting a barrier around the crop will prevent it from being able to fly into the area. Using a fine horticultural crop mesh or fleece over the crop and the loose sides dug into the soil, will protect the crop from the Carrot fly. Another way to deter carrot fly is to sow thinly. This removes the necessity to thin the crop, minimising the scent released and deters carrot fly. Choose to grow a variety of carrot resistant to carrot fly. Yearly crop rotation so over-wintering pupa does not hatch to a suitable crop. Likewise, sowing seeds later in the year (from June onwards) will allow you to avoid the first generation of pests, minimising damage to the crop.

Chemical treatment

Check availability with your local garden centre

Attracts

Repels

Companion planting of strong scented plants to detract from the smell of the carrot crop. For example Marigolds, chives, rosemary and sage.
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Knowledge and advice

Search our ever-growing knowledge base to find plants and information. Find out about pests and diseases you should be keeping an eye out for. Watch How to videos or follow step by step guides for tasks in the garden. Free download for your phone or tablet.
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