Recently I planted some strawberry plants, and 9 out of 10 times something is eating the red strawberries before I can pick them. Sometimes the "bites" will look like they cut 1/4 of the strawberry out from stem to end, and other times it will look like it took a big bite and left just a little bit of strawberry near the stem. It happens regardless if the strawberry is hanging in the air (about 1 foot from the ground) or lying on the ground. They don't touch the leaves or the green strawberries. But they seem to know the second that a strawberry turns red. Lately I only had 2 strawberries that were mostly white and days away from turning ripe - but whatever it is must have turned desperate because it chewed on them, too. The plants are in my fenced in backyard and I never see any animals or enough bugs around to eat an entire ~2 inch strawberry overnight. I recently moved here to northeastern Massachusetts, so I am also not familiar with the local pests. Does anyone have any ideas what may be the culprit, or how to figure out what it is? If it involves putting anything around/on the plants, I'd like to use something organic.
If it's bites out of only ripe or almost ripe strawberries, it's probably critters, not say cutworms or insects. Lots of birds and other critters like strawberries. Best thing to do is netting. The same netting is sold sometimes as deer netting or bird netting in big rolls at any garden store. It's very thin black netting. I put up wire hoops at front, back, and middle of my strawberry patch, put the netting over the frames and staked/ weighted it down all around the edges. Seems to be working - last year without it, I never got to eat a single strawberry.
When I was about 10 years old my grandmother had a strawberry patch. She had a fence around the patch to keep the geese in. The patch was about 30 ft by 60 ft with a 4 ft tall pig wire type fence. Geese will eat anything but strawberries. They eat every weed, every blade of grass and every bugs but they will not eat strawberry plants or strawberries. You have to feed the geese and that is a lot less work than trying to weed the strawberry patch and keep the bugs out. If birds come to try and eat berries the geese will run them off. You do not have to put down plastic, straw or nets either.
But won't those flat-footed birds step on the strawberries? Sorry, couldn't resist. It's actually very interesting. Wish I had a farm to try it. Not sure that I could eat the geese, but maybe I would just keep girls and eat the eggs.
DH brought home a couple of goose eggs from the Amish market this spring at Easter time. They were delicious and the kids loved the HUGE eggs! I blew them out for coloring, but we never got around to doing it The empty whole eggs are still safely nestled away so I guess we'll save them for next year.
In Mass? Slugs!! I have just about given up on my strawberry plants. I'm growing them for slugs. They do wait until they turn a nice red too. I just bought sluggo so we'll see. I've tried everything else.
I have had the exact problem. I have gone to a lot of trouble to mulch, put straw down. I have bird netting on posts so it is not the birds. I have found rabbits in the patch. Do they eat strawberries?
"One day seeds will be more valuable than gold! Brigham Young