Monitor pear fruit development for midge damage throughout spring. If the midge has been a problem in previous seasons decide if control measures are likely to be needed at the beginning of the season. When choosing control options you can minimise harm to non-target animals by starting with the methods in the non-pesticide control section. If this is not sufficient to reduce the damage to acceptable levels then you may choose to use pesticides. Within this group the shorter persistence pesticides (that are usually certified for organic growing) are likely to be less damaging to non-target wildlife than those with longer persistence and/or systemic action.
- Look for infested fruitlets and remove them before the larvae complete their feeding and enter the soil to pupate
- The midge larvae enter the soil when fully grown, where possible hoeing the soil around the base of the tree during dry weather in June and July, may reduce survival of the pupae
- Severity of infestation varies from year to year, in some years very few pears will be affected in others a majority of the crop can be lost. It may be possible to tolerate some crop losses.
- Encourage predators and other natural enemies in the garden such as birds, hedgehogs and ground beetles
On trees small enough to be sprayed thoroughly, contact insecticides may have some effect if used when the blossom is at the white bud stage (before flowering). This may reduce the number of adult flies and reduce the number of eggs that are laid
- Organic sprays, such as natural pyrethrum (e.g. Bug Clear Gun for Fruit & Veg, Neudorff Bug Free Bug and Larvae Killer), fatty acids (e.g. Solabiol Bug Free, Doff Greenfly & Blackfly Killer) or plant oils (e.g. Vitax Plant Guard Pest & Disease Control, Bug Clear for Fruit and Veg) These pesticides have a very short persistence and so may require reapplication to keep pear fruit midge numbers in check. Plant oil and fatty acid products are less likely to affect larger insects such as ladybird adults.
- More persistent contact-action insecticides include the synthetic pyrethroids lambda-cyhalothrin (e.g. Westland Resolva Bug Killer), deltamethrin (e.g. Provanto Ultimate Fruit & Vegetable Bug Killer, Provanto Sprayday Greenfly Killer)
Follow label instructions when using pesticides. On edible plants make sure the food plant is listed on the label and follow instructions on maximum number of applications, spray interval and harvest interval. Plants in flower should not be sprayed due to the danger to bees and other pollinating insects.
Inclusion of a pesticide product does not indicate a recommendation or endorsement by RHS Gardening Advice. It is a list of products currently available to the home gardener.
Pesticides for gardeners (pdf document)