I have eggplant borer (Leucinodes orbonalis) in my eggplants for the third
year running. I have tried spraying regularly with pyrethrum this year
which has reduced the rate of infestation but not eliminated it. Without
spraying I get about 10% edible fruit, with spraying about 50%. I have
searched the internet and it seems there is no cut and dried solution. One
of the problems is that the eggs are layed by moths continuously through the
growing season and the grubs are only vulnerable for a short time to contact
toxins before they burrow into the fruit and vanish. I prefer not to use
systemic insecticides and it isn't clear that they are completely effective
either. I don't need 100% effectiveness but only 50% is too much waste for
My next method of control (next year) is to grow my eggplants in net cages
to keep the moths off them. Before I go to this trouble does anybody have
experience of the problem who can offer a practical solution that is better
Maybe exclusion bags. You can buy exclusion bags, or maybe use paper bags
(or make some bags from nylon fabric).
Do the plants continue to flower while other fruit are growing? If so, you
will presumably need bees to fertilise the flowers. Exclusion bags would
allow this - net cages wouldn't.
That's a good idea to follow up. It is unclear to me exactly when in the
cycle of flowering and fruiting the grubs enter. They seem to go into a
hole they drill in the formed fruit but some sources say to look for them on
wilted flowers and stalks as they attack the young flowers. I haven't seen
any flower damage. So maybe once fruit sets a quick squirt of pyrethrum
before bagging would do the trick.
I had thought that I would have to hand pollinate, we are talking about 50
flowers not 500. But the bags are worth a go. I might do some of each and
see how it turns out.
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