Kootenay Covers

History & Research


Pre-2000 - 2002–Became very frustrated with losing all my cherries to worms every year but didn’t want to spray, so started experimenting with non-poisonous solutions.  Tried traps, picking all cherries, picking early, tarping ground etc.  The problem just got worse.

2003 – Put nylon netting around a few clumps of cherries.  No worms in them!

2004 - Bagged some branches & tarped the ground.  Excellent results -  no worms in any bagged cherries, and leaves were very healthy.  Decided to cover the whole tree next year.

Spring 2005 - Ordered $500 US (about $600 Canadian) worth of netting & stitched with a treadle machine to make a cover for the sixteen foot diameter tree.  Also tarped ground under tree.

Summer 2005 - Not one cherry was wormy that year; there was also no damage from birds.  Some of the fruit wasn’t picked until August.  Those cherries just got very sweet.  However, the netting started to tear even before it came off the tree.

Fall & Winter 2005-06 - Had a professional patent search done, then applied for provisional patent fall 2005.  Contacted lawyer about completing patent pending in 2006.  Took photos of flies raised from last year’s maggots at 10X and 60X to compare with netting samples.  Corresponded with netting manufacturers all over the world to find a company which could produce good quality netting with the perfect hole size at a reasonable price.  No one had a good enough netting, but one company said they could re-tool and make exactly what I wanted!  Set up website – www.kootenaycovers.com

2006 - Had test bags sewn.  Modified design and had more bags manufactured.  Bagged 9 full trees and some single branches for research.  Picked hundreds of cherries and recorded data,  Excellent results; all properly bagged cherries were worm-free.  Unbagged cherries were wormy.

Fall & Winter 2006-07 - Completed and sent off final copy of patent with help of patent lawyer.  Re-designed bags to include straps and velcro for easier installation.  Ordered first large shipment of 12 foot, 14 foot and 16 foot bags.  Applied for registered trade mark,

2008 - Ordered more covers.  Contacted stores and found some willing to try the bags.  Put up posters, gave talks and advertised in newspapers.  Set up business accounts, made receipt books, delivered covers.  Had no free time that year.

2009 - Was busy with day job and preparing for trip to Galapagos, and was burned out from last year so didn’t do much advertising.  However, people from all over North America contacted me for covers, and I was kept busy packing, mailing, and keeping records.

2010 - Redesigned netting with larger holes to keep wasps and birds out of grapes.  Had 12’ and 16’ width strips 244’ long manufactured.

2012 - Produced cherry netting in strips 23’ wide and about 250’ long to cover rows of organic cherries.  It gave 100% protection from cherry flies.

2014 - Spotted wing drosophilia arrived in the area of the covered rows of cherries.  The neighbor’s cherries that were sprayed were wormy but the covered cherries had no worms.

2016 - Added more sizes.  I now have covers for 8’. 10’, 12’, 14’ and 16’ diameter trees, bulk bales 12’ x 100’.  I also have bales of a looser weave designed to keep wasps, birds and moths from grapes and other row crops.  My oldest cover is 15 years old and still very strong.

Marilyn Roberts lives in Mirror Lake, a small community just South of Kaslo, British Columbia.  She has just retired after 38 years teaching Adult Basic Education (English, math, biology, chemistry, physics and computers) for Selkirk College.




This has been an on-going process and I’m always trying to improve the design.  Feedback is very welcome!