Can You Eat Carrots That Have Had Carrot Fly?

Carrot fly can be a frustrating pest for those of us that enjoy growing carrots in our backyards. If your carrot crops fall foul of these pests, are the carrots still safe to consume, or should you find another use for them or discard them?

Carrots that have had carrot fly are safe to eat if the damage is not too severe. The affected part can be cut off, and the remainder of the carrot is safe to eat. Wash the carrots well after removing the damaged areas. Cook the carrots to kill any possible bacteria rather than eat them raw.

Carrot flies are a common pest in home gardens, but you may even find one in your store-bought carrots or a carrot displaying typical damage from carrot fly larvae! As unpleasant as this may be, is it safe to eat? Our intention is to give you all the information regarding concerns about eating carrots that have had carrot fly and other uses for these carrots.

Can You Eat Carrots Damaged By Carrot Fly?

If you find carrots in your garden that have been damaged by carrot fly, you may be wondering if they’re still safe to eat.

The good news with carrot fly is that as long as the damage is limited to the outside of the carrot, it should be perfectly fine to eat. Just be sure to wash the carrot thoroughly before consuming it.

However, if the larvae damage is more severe and has penetrated the flesh of the carrot, it’s best to find another way to use the carrots or throw them out rather than take a risk and eat the carrots yourself.

Carrot fly larvae do not pose a health risk themselves, but the damage they cause to the carrots can result in bacteria and fungi infecting the carrot, which may cause some stomach issues if ingested. Also, damaged carrots won’t taste as good as fresh, unblemished ones!

If you are growing your own carrots and would like to find out more about carrot flies, the damage they do to the carrots, and how to stop these pests, you can read our article “Why Do My Carrots Have Holes In Them?” which covers this topic.

What Damage Does Carrot Fly Cause To Carrots?

The carrot fly is a serious pest to carrots, causing extensive damage to the roots. The female carrot fly seeks out carrots by flying close to the ground to detect the carrots by smell.

When she finds a suitable patch of carrots, the female fly lays her eggs on the crown of the plant or on the ground surrounding the plants.

When the carrot fly larvae have hatched from the eggs, they burrow below the soil surface to get to the carrot root and burrow into the roots of the plant.

If the carrots are young, the infestation can cause the root to become deformed and stunted. If the carrot root is already fairly large, it won’t cause deformity but will cause root damage.

The larvae feed on the carrot root as they burrow into the carrot, causing it to become soft and mushy. The carrot’s soft, damaged, mushy flesh around the larvae burrow is like an open wound, making the carrot root susceptible to fungal infections and diseases.

When the carrots have been damaged in this way, the damage is generally visible on the outside, making the carrots unmarketable and reducing the overall yield of the carrot crop.

While this damage may be visual, the question of whether the carrot is still safe to eat remains.

Are Carrot Flies Toxic For Humans?

Most experts will tell you that insects are a good source of protein, but let’s face it, not many modern people relish the thought of biting into a juicy carrot fly larva!

Some experts say that carrot flies are perfectly safe for humans to eat, while others claim that they can cause food poisoning. The truth about carrot fly larvae is probably somewhere between these two extreme views.

The larvae are unlikely to be toxic to humans, but the wounds they cause in the carrot root can become a breeding ground for bacteria in the soil, which can harm people.

If you’re considering eating carrots that have been infested with carrot flies, it’s probably best to take the safest route by taking the necessary precautions to remove the larvae and the damage they caused to the carrot. After all, there’s no need to take unnecessary risks when it comes to your health.

How Should You Prepare Carrots To Eat After Carrot Fly Damage?

If you’re lucky enough to have the carrot flies bypass your carrot crop, then you can simply wash them and enjoy them any way you like. However, if carrot fly has damaged your carrots, there are a few things you should do before eating them.

First, cut off any damaged or discolored parts of the carrot. These areas may potentially contain bacteria that can make you sick. Besides the bacterial issue, the area damaged by the larvae becomes mushy and unpleasant to eat.

Next, wash the carrots thoroughly under clean running water. This step will help remove any dirt or debris that may be on the surface of the carrot.

Finally, cook the carrots before eating them. Cooking the carrots will kill any bacteria that may be present on the surface of the carrot.

So there you have it! If your carrots have been affected by carrot fly, it is still possible to eat them if you follow these steps before enjoying them.

Can You Give Carrots Damaged By Carrot Fly To Pets?

If you have carrots that carrot fly has damaged, you may not want to eat them yourself, but are they suitable to be given to your pets?

Our pets and homestead animals are like part of the family, so we do not want to give them any food that can cause potential harm.

Carrots with this type of damage are suitable to be given to pets and other animals that typically eat carrots. This means you do not have to let the damaged carrots go to waste if you are unwilling to eat them.

Chickens will love the carrots if you chop them up, or you can leave them whole and let the chickens pick the larvae from the carrots if they are still inside the roots.

Carrots should not be given to rabbits in large quantities, but you can give the damaged carrots to your rabbits as a treat.

Horses will also enjoy these carrots, whether damaged by carrot fly or not. If there are any larvae still in the carrots, they will pose no danger to the horses.

Goats and sheep are other animals that you can feed the damaged carrots. Make sure to chop the carrots into bite-sized chunks to prevent the goats or sheep from choking on the full carrot.

So, even if you don’t want to eat the damaged carrots, you can find other ways to use them by offering them as a treat to your pets that like eating carrots. So go ahead and let them enjoy the deliciousness of carrots that the carrot fly has damaged!

If you do not have pets that consume carrots, there are other ways of using the damaged carrots that will benefit your garden.

Can You Use Carrots With Carrot Fly For Worm Composting?

If you are not willing to eat carrots damaged by carrot fly, there are other options for how you can use them without throwing them away.

If your carrot crop has been invaded by these carrot fly pests and caused damage to some or all of your carrots, you can compost them in various ways.

If you have a worm composter, then an ideal way to use your carrot fly-damaged carrots is to feed the carrots to your compost worms.

To prepare the carrots for your worm composter, you must cut the carrots into smaller pieces for the worms to process faster.

As part of your process of cutting up the carrots, discard the sections of the carrot root that have the most damage or that still contain carrot fly larvae.

The rest of the carrots can be safely given to your composting worms, and they will transform the damaged carrots into valuable fertilizer for your garden.

If you do not have a worm composter, you can toss the damaged carrots into your normal compost pile. If you use the hot composting method, the heat will destroy the carrot fly larvae in the carrots, killing the next generation of adult carrot flies.


So, can you eat carrots that have had carrot fly? The answer is yes! While the sight of little white larvae on your carrots may be unappealing, they pose no threat to your health.

It is safe to clean the carrots that have had carrot fly and use the carrots in your kitchen. If you cannot bring yourself to eat the carrots, there are other methods of using them, so they do not go to waste.

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Wanna know more about carrots and carrot pests? These articles may interest you:

Why Do My Carrots Have Holes In Them?

Are Hairy Carrots Safe To Eat?

Why Are My Carrot Tops Wilting?

Are Blue Carrots Poisonous?

How Long Does It Take To Grow Carrots From Carrot Tops?

Anat Goldberg

Hi! My name is Anat and I have lived all my life in the countryside. I grew on a farm in Northern Italy and from an early age, I took care of the animals on the farm and the family garden. Over the years I have developed a growing passion for organic cultivation and pest control.

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