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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Strawberry sap beetle (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae) distribution in New York and differential movement in two types of habitat

Authors
item Loughner, R. L. - CORNELL UNIVESITY
item Loeb, G. L. - CORNELL UNIVERSITY
item Turechek, William

Submitted to: Journal of Entomological Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 15, 2007
Publication Date: October 1, 2007
Citation: Loughner, R., Loeb, G., Turechek, W. 2007. Strawberry sap beetle (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae) distribution in New York and differential movement in two types of habitat. Journal of Entomological Science. 42:603-609

Interpretive Summary: Strawberry sap beetle adults feed on ripening strawberry fruit and larvae contaminate marketable berries. It has been unclear whether increasing reports of SSB damage represent dispersal of the beetle to new locations, outbreaks of existing populations at certain sites, or greater grower awareness of the pest. To quantify SSB distribution in New York, whole wheat bread dough baited traps were placed in each of 37 different strawberry fields for one week across 14 randomly selected farms over a period of 20 days in June 2002. The beetles were found at all of the 14 farms sampled, indicating widespread presence of strawberry sap beetle in New York and that the beetles fly (disperse) much more readily than previously thought, showing they are capable of moving within a short period of time to other potential food sources within a farm. This information is useful to strawberry growers in New York because it has alerted them to the extent of the problem of this serious pest.

Technical Abstract: Strawberry sap beetle (SSB) Stelidota geminata (Say) adults feed on ripening strawberry fruit and larvae contaminate marketable berries. It has been unclear whether increasing reports of SSB damage represent dispersal of the beetle to new locations, outbreaks of existing populations at certain sites, or greater grower awareness of the pest. To quantify SSB distribution in New York, whole wheat bread dough baited traps were placed in each of 37 different strawberry fields for one week across 14 randomly selected farms over a period of 20 days in June 2002. SSB were present in all 37 fields sampled, however there was no clear link between beetle capture and specific cultural practices or habitats surrounding the strawberry fields. To evaluate the potential of beetles to move to habitats outside strawberry, marked SSB were released in strawberry and a fallow field to compare movement of adults in different habitats. At each site attractive bread dough baited traps were placed at five distances up to 6.62 m from the release point and the number of marked beetles in traps counted after 24 h. The pattern of beetle capture with distance from the release point did not differ with habitat. Captures of SSB in traps as well as direct observation during the study show the beetles do fly in the field. In summary, SSB is widely distributed across New York and is capable of moving between habitats within a farm, although it was perceived to be a pest in some locations and not in others, despite its presence at all farms. While colonization of farms may contribute to an increase in SSB problems, survey results suggest that high populations in specific locations are probably more related to other factors, possibly including habitat surrounding strawberry fields.

Last Modified: 11/21/2014
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