Blueberry Insect Pests
Arthropods pests of blueberries can inflict severe production losses to growers by lowering yield, reducing quality, and shortening the life of a stand. Although more than 300 insect species have been reported on blueberries, the most damaging pests are those which attack the buds, destroy the fruit, or threaten survival of the plant.
Maintaining a clean, healthy stand of blueberry bushes is one of the most effective ways to insure good control of arthropod pests. Weedy fields and field margins provide shelter and overwintering sites for some pests, and dead canes or dying bushes can serve as breeding grounds for others. Cultivation may kill insects that pupate under dead leaves or near the soil surface, and a good program of fertilization and water management keeps plants vigorous and better able to tolerate small amounts of injury.
In addition to clean cultural practices, a successful blueberry grower also needs a carefully planned strategy for applying pesticides. The effectiveness of control operations is influenced not only by the types of chemicals used, but also by the method and timing of their application.
In general, there are eight time periods throughout the year when it may be appropriate to use pesticides to suppress diseases or arthropods on blueberries. The following synopsis describes which pests can be controlled during each period, how to estimate optimal timing for treatments, and what other management options should be considered. Although a different spectrum of pests can be controlled during each interval, growers do have a little flexibility in the management of some minor pests (such as scales). A few pests may require multiple applications, but individual fields should rarely need treatment during more then three or four time periods during the year.
Key arthropod pests of blueberries
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