Research: Essential Oils as Repellents for Fruit Flies on Blueberries
A huge thank you to the MN Department of Agriculture AGRI Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant and Dr. Thaddeus McCamant, Specialty Crops Instructor, Central Lakes College, Staples
Taste testing summary
We offered cups with blueberry samples from each test area to participants and asked them to taste the berries and give each cup a rating of great to poor. All of the test areas berries were given random ratings without any pattern of one or more of the products being rated lower. And no one mentioned a bad taste. This leads us to believe that all of the products are neutral in flavor. Thank you to all of our guests who participated in the past two years!
We divided the area into 4 different test plots. Each received a different application of an essential oil and/or commercial product. All products were approved for organic production.
In 2017, research showed lavender oil repelled flies better than peppermint.
In 2018, we learned clean picking without dropped berries on the ground or ripe berries left on the bush was even better than any of the products: Lavender oil, a commercial product with Rosemary, Geraniol, and Peppermint oils, and a commercial repellent.
So…we will continue with our current plan of using essential oils and inviting all guests to pick cleanly with any overripe/waste berries being fed to the chickens!
Mason Bee Research
Lori Bergmark, a local beekeeper, will be testing mason bee houses on our farm. In nature, mason bees nest in hollow plant stems and insect holes, but they will nest in man-made bee houses if you give them the right-sized holes in wood blocks or hollow tubes. The females live for about 6 weeks from mid-April to June. They are "solitary" meaning that every female works alone. She spends her day visiting flowers no more than 300 feet away, bringing pollen back to the nest where she packs the pollen into a ball and lays an egg on it. After laying the egg, she builds a
mud wall (hence the mason bee name) and starts the process again, laying about 6-10 eggs per hole. Mason bees are amazing pollinators and with abundant pollen from our blueberry flowers and easy access to mud in our ponds, we hope the mason bees find our farm the perfect nesting spot. Come check out the mason bee houses when you pick blueberries this year!