Raspberries and SWD question


So with the dreaded SWD arrival two or three years ago, our raspberry harvesting days kind of went away. I'd never sprayed them prior to SWD incidentally. But the difficulty in trying to time sprays so as to do no harm to pollinators (given how they do their dastardly deeds on the blossoms, etc) coupled with my overall lack of enthusiasm for row covering and all that, has me once again inclined to just mow the rows down. (For reds I have Heritage and Caroline)

I'd read somewhere a couple years ago where several large pick your own companies were ripping out all their raspberry plantings in favor of other things until this SWD thing can be answered.

That said, I have a huge black raspberry patch that to me is an unknown variety which I had transplanted from my Sister-in-laws place a couple of years ago. All she could tell me is that they bought them in town at the Shopko store several years ago.

Well, I have these in a more obscure location and just tend to forget about them. In fact I didn't bother to trellis them like I did my reds, and always kind of figured that I'd let them get established and then decide what to do. Well then SWD came along and that more or less "curbed my enthusiasm..." But I happened to walk over there today and low and behold there are somewhere between 48 and 84 million green berries forming!!! If they all turn out I'll need to hire a crew.....

Here's my thing; I've never really sprayed my red raspberries, mainly because I just wasn't wild about the thought of it on drupelet fruit.

So here's the question for the veteran raspberry growers out there... At this stage of development of my black raspberries, is there anything I need to be thinking about if I want to actually use these berries this year? Provided they aren't SWD infected.


No. Even if SWD infected you can still use them for your own purposes. They leave mine alone, as for one they ripen before SWD is here. They like my late blackberries, I still use the blackberries for myself. The worms are so small. I'm trying some other techniques this year, see how it goes.


MSU has a video back from 2011 about SWD and what they were doing to battle it. Things might have changed in 5 years.


I was kind of hoping you'd say you were giving up and going to rip them out. In which case, I'd say, "Send them to me!" :smile: :wink:

Since that's not the case, I'd say to just hope they ripen before the SWD get there for the year. I've been having an absolutely fantastic harvest of red raspberries this past month. Last year, I did have SWD issues later in the summer, and wound up disposing of more berries than made me happy. However, the fall berries were unaffected and provided what seemed like an endless harvest right up through December.

So, if your situation has anything in common with mine, there will be windows before and after those !#@^* arrive. My own clean harest windows on both sides of the SWD season were much longer than the troublesome time period. For me, it was worth keeping the raspberries because growing my own is the only way I'll have any to enjoy. They are simply too expensive to buy 'fresh' here.


I ripped out all my fall bearing varieties, Summer bearers are just in flower now. We've had a late spring, SWD get here middle of August, I hope I'm in the clear.


The summer bearers produce large berries. I like them!
In general I'm finding the need for a trap crop. SWD seem to love my Chester blackberries. I was going to remove them, but they don't touch the raspberries and stay with Chester, so it's staying right where it is!


How will you kill the SWDs on your trap crop?


Well this is all good info. It looks for all the world like these are going to be berries before SWD then, as they're developing fruit like crazy. Meanwhile I have zero going on with either Caroline or Heritage. So if the stars align just right and it all plays out like I'm hoping, we'll miss the SWD on the blacks anyway, and will have a monster harvest.


My Caroline are getting the mow job. I'm not \dealing with that swd stuff anymore. I planted a row of Prelude in that bed so we'll see how they do. I also have blackcaps and some golds..but even the golds get SWD ... you almost have to inspect each fruit before you eat it.. usually if they are full of worms they are all squishy.

In Italy they seem to be releasing predators:


My blackcaps ripen before SWD hits (so far). I tore the rest of my cane fruits and added more blackcaps as a result.


I'm kinda in the same mode I think. I've cut down my Caroline and Heritage each of the last two years, hoping to save the plants by more or less treading water while I awaited a pretty solid solution to the SWD thing. (The wife & I just don't have the constitution to knowingly eat them if infected, although I know many don't have an issue with it at all).

But if I'm going to be cutting them down every year anyway in hopes of eventually being able to have SWD free reds, I may be in for a long wait - might just as well replace them with an earlier/unaffected variety.


I want to try a few products, see what works for me. All organic.


My problem was the berries were spoiled and inedible.


Same here. I don't have any major qualms about swallowing worms or larvae while eating fruit, as long as they aren't poisonous and aren't likely to set up their own population inside me, but SWD infested fruit tastes outright nasty, even if the larvae are tiny things.


The two organic chemicals that have proven effective against SWD are Entrust rotated with Pyganic. I believe the PHI for Entrust is 3 days.

I rotate Delegate with Mustang Max. These are not organic, but have a shorter PHI(1day) than Entrust and keep the SWD under control for a longer period of time. Malithion is very effective and also has a 1 day PHI if you can stand the smell and the fact that its an organophosphate.

Research done in my state concluded that monitoring traps provided no benefit, because by the time the SWD showed up in the trap they had infected the fruit, so its too late to spray. Also the importance of keeping the fruit picked clean every day.


When we first noticed them, it was in very solid nice fruit. I can't recall why we were even checking them so closely, but we actually had opened up a nice firm Caroline berry and in checking with a small led flashlight, after careful observation - in the top inside of the upside down berry we could see the tiniest of movement in what little bit of juice there was. I think the juice was only there because we'd split it open to have a closer look. But it was literally smaller than dental floss. So once we saw the one, we looked at each berry and sure enough...

But no, these berries were far from on the decline in our case.

I just do like the idea of the earlier ripening fruit though. That's also one reason I've decided to not put the Romeo bush cherry in from the Romance series, it's just a much later cherry and just not worth it to me.


Yesterday I saw my first larvae in a red raspberry. I only looked because the berry was a sloppy mess when I picked it. I've had raspberries for maybe ten years, in the same spot. Last year was the first time I did anything like maintenance to the overcrowded tangle...I mowed it to the ground. Over the years the overcrowding and general neglect (except for picking) had caused some problems, and quality yield had suffered. This last Winter and Spring I acquired quite a few new varieties of raspberries and rasp/blackberry hybrids...all very young and small. The blackberry and hybrids are planted near the original raspberries, the new raspberries are not, except for one black raspberry. With all that being said, I wonder if I have brought in some scourge on a nursery plant. Could that even happen with little plants with no fruit? Is it a coincidence that my first two encounters (there was another) with what looked like SWD larvae happened a few months after these plants showed up?


Hey Iowa.Jer, Romeo cherry is actually quite an early ripener from the Romance series. Carmine Jewel ripens first for me, I'm picking them now, Romeo is just a day or a few behind. Cupid is at least a week later, my slowest variety. At least that's how things are working for me in my climate this year.


Good to know Don. I think it's always best to hear first hand intel on this stuff, because all the published information I have read on Romeo has it as a later harvesting date. Here's an example of what Prairie Tech Propagation shows in their literature:

Carmine Jewel: Early harvest: it ripens first in the season, late July-early August.
Crimson Passion: Ripens early to mid-August.
Cupid: Ripens late August-early September.
Juliet: Ready for harvest early-mid August.
Romeo: Ripens late August-early September.
Valentine: Ready for harvest early-mid August.


I would say yes. We all are getting SWD these days. last year was the first year I saw them.