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 larvae on blackberries 
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Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:49 am
Posts: 4
Post larvae on blackberries
Hi folks,

My neighbor has a patch of wild blackberries that leap the fence into my yard every summer (NE Portland). I've gotten into the habit of enjoying whatever fruit comes over before trimming the canes back. In past years I've mindlessly brushed off the fruit flies before eating the fruit. But this year I've noticed lots of larvae on the fruit in addition to the flies. I did a Google search and found out about the Spotted Wing Drosophila, whose photos seem to match what I have.

Have I been eating those larvae every year and not noticing, or is this year somehow different? Looking at it another way, when enjoying "free" blackberries around the city, should I be avoiding any where the flies are present?

I'm kind of grossed out now. But the new plan is to cut these down and feed them to my chickens ... I'm hoping that will delight the chickens and prevent the spread of the flies.


Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:57 am

Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:42 pm
Posts: 186
Post Re: larvae on blackberries
I'm noticing people gleaning blackberries around town and I have half a mind to ask them somewhat michievously if they have noticed any larvae in the berries.....but the "wiser" part of me tells me to not ruin their fun......the larvae won't hurt them....and so I say nothing but wish them well.

For years and years this wild blackberry was pest free....It is essentially only the last couple years that a new species of fruit fly has started to put eggs in berries that were not over-ripe....we call it the spotted wing drosophilia.

You are not likely to see the larvae though, in the fruit, until the fruit is somewhat past maximum is there but you won't notice it until the berries really get quite least that is what I see in my backyard.

There are answers for it.....and extensive discussions about it in past threads on this forum....

My basic answer for your question is to use that very dumb maxim (but wondering if it isn't true): "What you don't know won't hurt you." I have found no one anywhere to tell me the larvae are a problem if you eat them.

My personal response is this: Now that I know about it, though, I don't feel like eating the blackberries as much as I did before....but I am harvestting them and freezing them.....because as a "psychological" problem only.....I don't mind eating the blackberries once I know the larvae are already dead.

Drying them also works....if you want to make a fruit leather.

Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:49 pm

Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:49 am
Posts: 4
Post Re: larvae on blackberries
Thanks for the reply -- that makes a lot of sense. I too have lost much of my appetite for blackberries now, but the chickens have been enjoying them. I guess I'll reassess both the prevalence of the flies and my feeling about possibly eating the larvae next season.

Thu Sep 15, 2011 1:15 pm

Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 11:28 pm
Posts: 485
Location: Willamette Valley near Scio
Post Re: larvae on blackberries
The larvae are merely a source of fruit-fed protein. Good for the human body!

I once ate a ton of cherries before my spouse told me they were loaded with maggots. Didn't know it and they tasted good anyway! I figured "how bad could cherry fed meat be, anyway?" :lol:

Fri Sep 16, 2011 2:31 pm

Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:18 am
Posts: 1
Post Re: larvae on blackberries
As much as I love blackberries, I'm not so sure I'll be eating them anymore "in the wild." I know it's a psychological thing (at least that's what I keep telling myself now), but still, the word "larvae" evokes a visceral reaction in me. I would think a good washing would take care of the larvae, though. Some things are better left unknown, or as they say, "ignorance is bliss."

Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:29 am

Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:38 am
Posts: 2
Post Re: larvae on blackberries
The larvae probably would get inside. Some of my blueberries have tiny caterpillars coming out of them, I just discard any that have holes in them, a gentle squeeze of the damaged ones makes them shoot out of the tiny hole that has been made.


Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:41 am

Joined: Mon May 10, 2004 1:00 pm
Posts: 203
Location: SE Portland
Post Re: larvae on blackberries
Simple, graphic description that is not going to diminish anyone's visceral reaction. I'm choosing to view it like a cartoon, seeing a little grinning face on the launched larva...

Thu Nov 24, 2011 11:42 am
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