Have you ever been out in the countryside taking your kids on a berry picking day out?
I really enjoy these days exploring the outdoors and eating all sorts of edible berries and I’m sure like most people on these excursions we always end up eating more berries than we actually put in the basket to take home.
Imagine the shock when you get home and inspect the berries you have managed to harvest and bring home and you notice there is an infestation of tiny bugs on your mulberries, Oh no I have been eating bugs all day and allowing my kids to eat them is the thought that immediately comes to mind (paraphrasing).
Then the worrying starts, are these bugs poisonous? Have these bugs given my kids worms in their stomach? Do I have to phone a doctor? or are these bugs harmless and just an extra dose of protein into their diet.
No one even noticed the bugs whilst they were eating them all day so if I just don’t tell anyone there won’t be any panic. After this initially horrifying realization, I did some research and this is what I discovered…
The tiny bugs on mulberries could be one of 300 different species that have been known to feast on mulberries. If you have eaten them they will probably be harmless and a simple boost of protein. I’d recommend holding your mulberry harvest underwater and the bugs should swim to the top to avoid drowning.
For my full mulberry growing guide Click Here.
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How to get rid of bugs from a mulberry harvest
If anyone has actually picked a lot of mulberries you will be aware that it is quite common to notice that there are bugs living on/in your mulberries.
This is the process I use to get the bugs out of my harvest and I would recommend everyone should do this even if you haven’t noticed any bugs because they are probably just hiding.
What you don’t want to do is give your berries a rinse with water as this is a waste of time and will basically achieve nothing.
All you have to do is fill up a sink or bowl with water and add some vinegar then empty your berries into it, I hold any floating berries under water for maximum effect.
What will happen is any bugs that are on your harvest will leave the berries and float to the surface of the water to stop themselves drowning.
I will repeat this process two or three times to make sure I get all of the bugs out of the berries.
The final part of the process I use is to gently rinse the berries under cold water as this will remove any of the vinegar mixture off of them and leave your mulberries tasting great and bug-free.
For the best way to encourage kids to eat leafy greens Click Here.
What Bugs infest mulberries
Mulberries are super tasty and unfortunately, the bugs agree, there are actually over 300 insects that have been known to infest mulberries although some are more common than others.
- Mealybugs – Mealybugs are a tiny insect that is grayish/ pink in color and appear to be coated in a waxy white material, natural predators should normally control them but if they don’t you will need to address the situation yourself.
- Scale – Scales are tiny armored insects and you will hardly notice them as they appear as tiny bumps on your bush, they will only become more apparent if there is a large scale infestation.
- Thrips – There are different kinds of thrips, some will be beneficial by eating plant-destroying bugs on your plants whilst others will puncture your plants and suck up the contents which is bad news if you get an infestation of this kind.
- Fruit Fly – If you come across any small worm-like bugs on your mulberries they are most likely fruit fly larvae as they commonly infest thin-skinned fruits such as mulberries.
There are many other bugs that might infest mulberries as they are so tasty. Whilst 99% of bugs will be harmless if you eat them, a full-on bug infestation of your plants is bad news and you should take action to get rid of them.
Telltale signs your mulberry bush has a bug infestation
There is a good chance that If your mulberry bush has a bug infestation you won’t even notice it until it gets really bad.
You should definitely be inspecting your mulberry bush for bugs on a regular basis as the sooner you spot a bug infestation, the easier it will be to get rid of them.
When you are inspecting your mulberry bush you should pay special attention to the underside of leaves and the stem of your plant as this is where most of the tiny little bugs will live on your mulberry bush.
If you notice that your mulberry bush is starting to look droopy and generally unhealthy this could be a sign that your bush is suffering from a bug infestation.
Other signs that could mean a bug infestation would be if you notice any yellowing of the leaves, brown spots or any other sort of discoloration on the leaves of your plant.
If you notice what looks like spider webs starting to appear on your clan this could be a sign of a major infestation similarly if you notice large white areas or a large black areas on the stem or under the leaves this is probably hundreds or thousands of tiny little bugs they are so small they just look like a blob.
Bug control when growing mulberries
I always find that is better if you are able to prevent bugs from infesting your plants rather than using a pesticide to get rid of them when they have already invested your plants and done some damage.
Prevention is better than a cure as they say.
Here are some ideas you can use to stop a bug infestation before it happens and these can also be used to get rid of bugs as they are already infesting your plants…
- Garlic – It’s not only vampires that don’t like garlic, bugs also don’t like garlic. Stick a couple of cloves of garlic in the soil around your plant and this should help prevent bugs from eating your precious plants.
- Beer – I am not the only one who likes beer, slugs and snails also love it so if you are having a problem with slugs and snails leave a container with beer in it and they will be attracted into it.
- Water – Water is the easiest and most practical way to get rid of bugs for most people. What you want to do is spray your plants with water that is powerful enough to get bugs off your plants but at the same time not completely destroy your plans.
- Chilli Pepper – The best method is to mix up a solution from red pepper, dish soap, and water and spray it all over your plant generously to get rid of mites and other small insects. Black pepper, ginger or paprika will also work because they contain capsaicin.
Silkworms live on mulberries
You may find interesting to learn that silkworms will only eat Leaves from the Mulberry Tree.
The food that they prefer to eat is leaves from the white mulberry tree However if they are really hungry he will also eat leaves from the black mulberry tree, however, when you do this they will produce a coarser form of silk.
It takes over 6000 silkworms to make 1kg of silk and unfortunately the silkworms are normally gassed to death at the end so that the silk can be collected from the cocoon which is kind of cruel I think.
Silkworms originally come from China, Unfortunately, silkworms have been completely domesticated and there are none left in the wild they are all bred in captivity for the purpose of making silk.
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