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Lycoriella auripila These are your mushrooms enemies.
The adults are small flies with clear wings and dark bodies, except H. pygmaea which is light brown. The larvae are generally thread-like maggots.
These maggots make relatively dry tunnels in the mushrooms. Pinheads less than 7mm across may be hollowed out entirely and do not develop. Pinhheads 7 – 20mm across are partially hollowed and become brown, leathery and stunted. Developed mushrooms are not affected seriously; they are attacked by larger maggots only and damage is usually confined to the base of the stem, which is normally cut off when packing.
They also cause deterioration of the compost and reduction in mycelium and pinhead development. The tunnels made by P.heteroneura maggots are filled with semi-liquid mycelium tissue and become infested with plant parasitic nematodes. The adults are also carriers of mites and competing fungi and bacteria. H.pygmaea maggots feed on mycelium and seriously reduce mushroom production; they also gather in swarms at the base of the stem or between stem and cap, causing black blemishes on the gills. M.halterata maggots feed exclusively on mycelium and have to be present in very large numbers to reduce the crop; the adults are carriers of competing fungi and mites.
When and where: The flies deposit their eggs in the compost. The maggots initially feed on compost, then on mycelium and the mushrooms in various stages of development. The maggots of L.auripilla do not react to light, but respond positively to moisture, coming to the surface when water is applied to the casing layer. They also cause more damage under dry conditions because of the high water content of the mushrooms. H.pygmaea maggots feed largely near the surface of the casing material layer and ten on the mushrooms. They react positively to light and often migrate to the surface in large numbers; this leads to the spread of infestation by various means. P.heteroneura maggots also live in the casing layer and are largely saprophytic M.halterata maggots are negatively phototropic and are seldom seen near the surface.
Control of mushroom flies. Mushroom flies can be controlled by a combination of procedures.
Light trapping can help to trap and indicate peaks of activity and to reduce the adult population. “Vastrappers”, sticky fly paper is very good at catching the adults. Compost must be allowed to reach the correct temperatures. Casing must also be pasteurized thoroughly.
Contact 082 393 1616, for LarvaeStop which is a non toxic preparation that controls the larval stage of these enemies. This is used as a drench for the compost and casing material as well as in any other substrate for growing mushrooms.
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