Monitoring and distribution of blueberry gall midge, Dasineura oxycoccana, in rabbiteye blueberries in Florida

E.M. Rhodes, N. Benda, O.E. Liburd
Blueberry gall midge (BGM), Dasineura oxycoccana Johnson, is a major pest of blueberries in the southeastern United States. BGM larvae infest both leaf buds and flower buds of rabbiteye blueberries (Vaccinium virgatum Ait.), whereas leaf buds are mainly infested in southern highbush (V. corymbosum L. × V. darrowii Camp. Interspecific hybrids). Larval feeding injury to flower buds in rabbiteye can cause up to 80% yield loss if infestation is high and bushes are left untreated. In addition, leaf bud injury can reduce yield the following season. Effective monitoring is essential to ensure that insecticides are applied prior to oviposition by newly emerged adults. Our previous research has shown that bucket emergence traps and clear panel traps are effective monitoring tools. However, the panel trap is not practical for use by growers and the bucket trap needs to be placed properly to accurately monitor midge emergence. The objectives of this study were to 1) determine if a clear sticky sheet would provide a practical and effective alternative to the panel trap, 2) to determine at what height the clear sticky sheets should be hung, and 3) to determine at what distance from the bushes the majority of midges pupate. Clear sticky sheets performed as well as panel traps, with the lowest sheet height capturing the most midges. Most (78%) of the gall midge larvae pupate within 48 cm of blueberry plants. Therefore, clear sticky sheets are an effective and practical tool for monitoring blueberry gall midge and should be hung with their bottom edge ~5 cm from the ground. If bucket traps are used, they should be placed as close to blueberry bushes as possible to ensure accurate emergence monitoring.
Rhodes, E.M., Benda, N. and Liburd, O.E. (2017). Monitoring and distribution of blueberry gall midge, Dasineura oxycoccana, in rabbiteye blueberries in Florida. Acta Hortic. 1180, 305-312
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2017.1180.41
Dasineura oxycoccana, blueberry gall midge, Vaccinium, monitoring, traps

Acta Horticulturae