Cherries infested with worms? Here is the trick to detect them before consuming them

The cherry tree is a perennial fruit tree with deciduous foliage. Its fruits, with a taste that is both sweet and tangy, are pulpy and rich in vitamin C. Cherries can be eaten fresh or used in the preparation of jams, syrups or desserts. The harvest takes place between April and June. On the other hand, certain parasites can spoil the harvest, and also make the cherries unfit for consumption. These are white worms that are found near the core of the fruit. Find out how to know if your cherries contain worms or not.

The white worms found in cherries are just the larvae of certain flies that attack cherry trees. The laying of these flies takes place between May and July, at the time of the coloring of the fruits. To avoid consuming a cherry infected with worms, it is important to first check its appearance, in order to know if it contains a worm or not.

Ver blanc dans la cerise

White worm in the cherry. Source: spm

Harvesting and tasting cherries can be spoiled by small worms. These are only the larvae of two flies: one called Rhagoletis cerasi, and another, smaller, called Drosophila suzukii or cherry fruit fly. Between May and July, these midges fly around cherry trees and feed on their sweet secretions, especially during hours of full sun. They pierce the skin of cherries and lay their eggs there. Female Rhagoletis cerasi lay their eggs approximately 10 days after their first flight, especially when the weather is hot. Eggs are laid under the skin of red cherries. The larvae appear after 10 days, and feed on the pulp of cherries. As for the females of Drosophila suzuki, they lay their eggs in ripe, healthy cherries.

The varieties of late or mid-late cherries are the most attacked by white grubs. Early varieties, on the other hand, mature before the flies begin their first flight, and remain intact .

Cherries infected with these pests quickly rot . And for good reason, when flies pierce their skin to lay their eggs, several bacteria and fungi infiltrate the skin of these fruits, which then become unfit for consumption.

Note that if the Rhagoletis cerasi fly only attacks cherry trees, Drosophila suzukii rather targets all fruits which have soft pulp. This includes cherries, but also tomatoes, strawberries, plums, grapes or raspberries.

Ver blanc dans la cerise

Harvest cherries with bright red color. Source: spm

To find out if a cherry has been infested by a worm, all you have to do is to check its appearance. If it is firm to the touch and smooth, without moldy areas, with a green stem, it means that the cherry is healthy . On the other hand, do not eat cherries if they have brown spots or if they are soft or very ripe.

To avoid the appearance of worms in cherries, it is advisable to plant early varieties such as Napoleon or pigeon hearts, so that they reach maturity, even before the first flight of the flies. Also, do not plant near your cherry trees fragrant plants which may attract flies, such as thorns -barberries or honeysuckles.

To avoid attracting the flies responsible for the appearance of worms, it is also important to eliminate from your cherry tree, all over-ripe fruits. In winter, try to clean and hoe the soil, that is to say the move, especially under the foliage of your tree, in order to dig up the pupae of flies and thus reduce the number of the latter which could appear in the spring. You can also install, from the beginning of April, ecological traps to get rid of these flies. To do this, install sticky yellow panels. The fly, attracted by this color, will easily stick to this trap and leave your cherry tree alone. Note that there are also pheromone traps, which consist of glue-covered strips or small huts that enclose a pheromone capsule that diffuses through the air. This eco-friendly trap is very effective in capturing insects that lay their eggs in fruit. Note that fruit infected with worms should be discarded and not added to the compost, as the larvae, or maggots, continue to grow in the fruit, even when it is falls to the ground.

That said, checking the appearance of the cherries before tasting them is important. This allows you to recognize whether or not your red fruits have been infected by white grubs.

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