The Q&A Archives: gooseberries

Question: I have gooseberries that are getting lil brown spots on the berries and other small brown like scales on the outside of the berries. Are these safe to eat. and I also have some kind of a white coccoan on the underside of leaves. I have been picking them off and mashing the leaves and there is something inside of that coccooan.

Answer: I can't tell from your description but the fruit may be infested with a sawfly maggot. The adult is a small yellowish fly, about 0.33 inch long, with smoky bands across the wings. The maggots are white, cylindrical, and tapered at the head. The maggots develop inside and feed in the berry, making them inedible. Infested fruit often drop prematurely, but others remain on the bush. Infested berries show a discolored area where the egg was inserted. Infested fruits often turn red before they drop. I'd pick a few of the fruits with brown spots and cut them open. If you find worm like pests, pick and destroy all the affected fruits.

The cocoons are probably caterpillars. I would pick them off before they hatch and start feeding on the leaves of your gooseberry plants.

Best wishes with the crop!

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