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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Chemical Biology of Insect and Plant Signaling Systems

Location: Chemistry Research Unit

Title: Blueberry gall midge: A major insect pest of blueberries in the southeastern United States

Authors
item Liburd, Oscar -
item Sarzynski, Erin -
item BENDA, NICOLE
item Rhodes, Elena -
item Sampson, Blair -

Submitted to: Extension Publications
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: June 20, 2013
Publication Date: June 20, 2013
Repository URL: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in458
Citation: Liburd, O.E., Sarzynski, E.M., Benda, N.D., Rhodes, E.M., Sampson, B.J. 2013. Blueberry gall midge: A major insect pest of blueberries in the southeastern United States. Extension Publications. University of Florida IFAS Extension ENY-825.

Interpretive Summary: Blueberry gall midge (BGM) (Dasineura oxycoccana: Ceccidomyidae) is a major pest of blueberries in the southeast United States, and becoming an increasing problem in the northern US, Nova Scotia, and Europe. These tiny flies are only 3mm long, smaller than the average mosquito. A single female can lay as many as 20 eggs in the mid- to inner scales of blueberry flower and leaf buds. Eggs hatch in a few days and larvae develop inside the protective bud. Larval feeding destroys the bud and causes it to drop. Larvae pupate in the soil. BGM emerge from pupation in early spring when rabbiteye blueberry flower buds begin to form, but after southern high bush have already bloomed. This may explain the lower level of BGM impact to the southern high bush. Monitoring is important for effective timing of pesticide application, since only the adults are vulnerable to these sprays. The recent identification of the BGM sex pheromone may lead to improved detection. Scientists from the University of Florida and Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology in Gainesville, Florida have evaluated monitoring techniques include bud samples, emergence traps, and panel traps. They have also found that parasitoids can provide as much as 40% control of BGM. Integrated pest management strategies will allow growers to maximize these tools for effective control of BGM.

Technical Abstract: Blueberry gall midge (BGM) (Dasineura oxycoccana: Ceccidomyidae) is a major pest of blueberries in the southeast United States. Larvae attack leaf and flower buds, causing up to 80% yield loss. Eggs hatch in a few days and larvae develop inside the protective bud. Larval feeding destroys the bud and causes it to drop. Larvae pupate in the soil. BGM require 134 degree days to emerge from pupation in the laboratory, and milder winters in the field generally lead to earlier emergence. Monitoring is important for effective control of this pest, where only the adults are vulnerable to foliar pesticide application. Effective monitoring techniques include bud samples, emergence traps, and panel traps. The recent identification of the BGM sex pheromone may lead to improved detection. Parasitoids can provide as much as 40% control of BGM. Integrated pest management strategies will allow growers to maximize monitoring, biological and chemical controls, and other tools for effective control of BGM.

Last Modified: 9/29/2014
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