I posted this on another forum, but I think it would be more useful here. I will summarize first, then the details follow. I have not done this method. The plan is to do so this year for most of my fruits. This is a good time to think about bagging fruit, because it is best done when they are very small, preferably smaller than a dime.
Bagging fruits on the tree - for multiple types of fruits - has been shown to reduce disease and insect infestation significantly. In some other countries, such as China and Japan, bagging fruits is a tradition that goes back for generations. It was also done in France in the 19th century.
Bagging is very cheap.
Bagging is very easy, maybe a little tedious. From what I read, it’s easy to bag a large number of fruits very quickly. Some people staple them in place, others just cut a notch in the middle of the zip-lock-type zipper and seal around the stem. I have not done it yet, so I don’t know for certain.
No toxic chemicals.
Most likely works better for larger fruits like apples, figs, pears (maybe). Somewhere I read that for peaches, bagging can promote rot. I might try anyway, maybe with paper bags. I also read that in China, peaches do get bagged with opaque paper, which prevents them from developing color. Cherries would be way too tedious. I don’t know about plums, or pawpaws. My plums have been free of disease, and the only pest species is the neighbor’s kids. If I do get any set on pawpaw, I want to try bagging them.
Most fruits do not get sunburned or “cook” in the bags.
Bags protect from multiple types of insects and diseases.
Sources of information
From the Hawaii link -
“This practice first came to Hawaii with the early Japanese immigrants and in the 1920’s Oahu farmers employed school children to wrap figs.” Paging down to the section on figs, “Thought to be the first fruit wrapped in Hawaii, the practice of protecting figs from bird and insect damage was lost as itinerate labor moved on to steady jobs in the pineapple and sugar fields of the 1930’s.”
From the first 100 bagged figs, undamaged fruit = 94 and damaged = 6. Damage may have been due to rats that eat through the bags. From the unbagged figs, 86 were damaged from birds. The author could not tell if the fruit was stung by insects, because birds ate those fruits.
Having the figs in bags appeared to cause earlier ripening, as well as less bird and insect damage.
I have not done this before, but plan to this year at fruit thinning time, for apples, pears, some figs, and maybe some others. Some of my fig varieties spoil due to ripening in my cool coastal climate’s rainy season / chilly fall, so I am interested in seeing whether bags promote earlier ripening and also protect from rain. Bird protection would also be good, if it works.
Currently I have polyethylene zipper type sandwich bags, that I prepared for this winter. With a pair of scissors and a box of generic bags, I quickly made a big pile of fruit bags. As described in the linked articles, I cut small corners off the bags, for drainage, then open the bag and cut off the flaps for short stems. From most of the articles I read, the cut corners are not a problem for insect entry. In fact, some people use bags with open bottoms.
This is how mine look.
This method might be worth trying, for those who are obsessively pampering their fruits. Like me.