Pests are detrimental to strawberry and blueberry crops. Not only will they destroy the crop, but they will also harm your profits. Here are 10 pests to watch out for.
1. Strawberry bud weevil
Strawberry bud weevils are reddish brown and are about 1/10 to 1/8 inches long. The female bud weevils chew holes in the strawberry buds to lay eggs and clip off the stems, according to the University of Minnesota Extension. To manage these pests, the Extension recommends removing weeds near the strawberry crops and consider using insecticides as well as monitoring when temperatures reach 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Strawberry sap beetle
According to the University of Florida IFAS Extension, sap beetles are approximately 3.2 mm long and 6.4 mm wide, are oval shaped and are usually black or brown. Adult sap beetles attack strawberries and larvae burrow inside the berries that then feed on it. To control the sap beetles, IFAS Extension recommends avoiding planting strawberries next to woody areas and picking strawberries before they become overripe.
3. Strawberry thrips
Thrips range from 1 to 4 millimeters in length but only less than 2 percent of thrip species are considered pests, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension. The Extension recommends controlling thrips by predatory mites and insects and UV-reflective mulch. Chemical control is also another option.
4. Lygus bug
Adult lygus bugs are about 6 mm and are long and oval. Coloring ranges from green to brown and have reddish brown markings on their wings. They damage strawberry crops by puncturing individual seeds and are a cause of irregular shaped strawberries. The University of California IPM Program recommends that growers spray insecticides when the nymphs are at their youngest and can also use parasitic wasps to control lygus bugs.
Spittlebugs are about 3 mm long and are wedge-shaped and grayish brown, according to the Pacific Northwest Insect Management Handbook. The spittlebug nymphs nestle into the spittle and when they feed, they cause twisting of leaves and shortening of stems of fruit spurs, the handbook mentioned. To control them, growers can cut old leaves after final harvest.
1. Blueberry Tip Borer
This brown pest has orange marks on each front wig and a silver spot along the hind margin. The wing span is 9.5mm to 14.5mm and bores into the canes 5 cm to 15 cm from the tip, according to extension.org. To control these pests, growers should prune infected shoots and spray insecticides.
2. Blueberry Maggot
The blueberry maggot is about 3 to 4 mm in length and is mostly black with a white spot at the tip and a white stripe along each side, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension. Female blueberry maggots lay eggs into the berry. To control the maggots, IFAS recommends trapping flies by using sticky traps that are placed near the fruit in the shade.
Aphids can deform blueberry crops. In size, they are about 1.8 to 2.6 mm and color varies from yellow to light green to dark green, according to the Washington State University Whatcom County Extension. To manage aphids, it’s important to spray insecticides to the undersides of leaves and growing tips but avoiding the blooms, according to the Pacific Northwest Insect Management Handbook.
4. Blueberry Bud Mite
The blueberry bud mite is cigar shaped, about 200 microns long, transparent and colorless to whitish, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension. These pests do remain in the confines of the bud and they feed on the epidermal region of the leaf, floral parts and the developing fruit. To control the pest, the University of Florida IFAS Extension recommends pruning and removing infected branches and post-harvest application of acaricides.
5. Spotted Wing Drosophila
The spotted wing drosophila is a fruit fly that damages both blueberry and strawberry crops. According to the University of California IPM program, adults are about 1/16 to 1/8 inch long with red eyes, a pale brown thorax and abdomen with black stripes. They attach to ripening and damaged fruit. The female lays eggs under the skin of the fruit.