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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Production Management Research For Horticultural Crops in the Gulf South

Location: Southern Horticultural Research

Title: Cherry Fruitworm, an emerging pest of Mississippi blueberries

item Werle, Christopher
item Stafne, Eric
item Sampson, Blair
item Adamczyk, John

Submitted to: Mississippi Fruit and Nut Blog
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/5/2013
Publication Date: 7/10/2013
Citation: Werle, C.T., Stafne, E., Sampson, B.J., Adamczyk Jr, J.J. 2013. Cherry Fruitworm, an emerging pest of Mississippi blueberries. Mississippi Fruit and Nut Blog. (2)3:2-4.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The cherry fruitworm (CFW) is a univoltine moth, native to the U.S., and whose larvae preferentially infest rosaceous and ericaceous fruits. CFW larvae have been confirmed infesting rabbiteye blueberries in Mississippi, and this typically northern pest’s appearance may represent a new State record. Without careful pest scouting after petal-fall, CFW-induced damage and fruit drop will often go undetected until berry losses become too severe for effective management with insecticides. Scouting therefore is critical for managing CFW populations. Although the small and nocturnal adults of CFW can be elusive, there are excellent pheromone traps available for monitoring the activity of adult males, and by association, the destructive egg-laying females. Females oviposit on the calyx of blueberry fruit, much like cranberry fruitworms do. Upon eclosion, the larvae of CFW bore into fruit. It is at this stage of larval development that environmentally safe Bt insecticides are the most effective against CFW caterpillars. As larvae mature and become larger and more heavily sclerotized, they become harder to kill with Bt. Mature CFW larvae when preparing to pupate avoid ground-based dangers by taking refuge in dead unproductive wood of blueberry bushes and surrounding vegetation. Removing old unproductive canes may reduce overwintering populations of CFWs and hence temper the severity of subsequent spring outbreaks.

Last Modified: 07/26/2017
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