Early harvesting

Fruit flies on fruit

Fruit flies on unpicked fruit

Early harvesting is method that you can use to help prevent adult fruit flies from infesting your crop. It is the practice of picking your fruit and vegetables as early as possible from your garden, even sometimes when it is green. This practice may deny adult flies the opportunity to infest your fruit, depending on fruit fly pressure.

Note that early harvesting can also be achieved by planting early fruiting varieties of fruits and vegetables. These plants tend to bare produce before fruit fly populations increase as the season advances and temperatures increase.



  • Helps break the fruit fly breeding cycle by denying the pest a place to lay its eggs.
  • Relatively easy to do and costs nothing other than your time.
  • Can help you get the crop before the birds do and before it becomes spoiled.


What makes it right for you?

Early harvesting will be right for you if you:

  • Live in a low fruit fly pressure area.
  • Prefer to use organic fruit fly control approaches.
  • Want to help prevent initial fruit fly infestations.
  • Are willing and able to regularly inspect and pick fruit.
  • Grow crops that are suited to being picked early or when green, such as pears
    have a good idea about the times when fruit fly populations tend to increase.


Factors affecting success

  • Usage in combination with other control methods such as sanitation and pruning.
  • Level of fruit fly pressure in the area.
  • Suitability of crop to being harvested early.
  • Regularity of inspection for best time to harvest.



  • Storage of produce while awaiting it to ripen.
  • Development of flavour and taste.


What to do

Pick your fruit and vegetables as early as possible. If you not eat your produce right away, you can store produce in the refrigerator so it lasts longer. Alternatively, you can try picking your home grown produce green and ripen it indoors.

Some fruit and vegetables do ripen if picked green, so it is an option if you are in a fruit fly prone area. Note that produce protected from fruit fly using exclusion and cover sprays can be left to ripen on the tree or plant.


When to do it

Fruit and vegetables should be picked from the garden either just as it begins to ripen, or when green if it can be ripened indoors. Note that fruit fly can still infest green fruit.


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