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   Blueberries
 Home>Crops & Livestock>Crops>Blueberries>

Blueberry Gall Midge

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Blueberry gall midges
are small, delicate, mosquito-like flies about 1/3 inch in length. The species that is common in the southeastern United States is Dasineura oxycoccana.

Facts:

  • The adult stage (during which mating and egg-laying take place) lasts only from two to four days.
  • Eggs are laid (oviposited) between the scales of flower and leaf buds shortly after the buds begin to expand.
  • Dormant buds are not infested.
  • Eggs hatch in two to three days.
  • Because larvae digest plant tissues, they are the plant-damaging stage.
  • There may be from one to nine larvae in a single flower bud.
  • Larvae apparently feed on the developing bud tissues.
  • Larvae develop through three instars, exit buds and drop to the ground after feeding, then pupate and transform into the adult stage.
  • Under laboratory conditions, infested flower buds yielded adults after 12 days.
  • As plants progress to vegetative budding, oviposition also occurs on the new shoot meristems. Infested vegetative buds swell and the outer leaves curl, enfolding feeding larvae inside.
  • Gall midges lay eggs on warm days in late winter, usually after a heavy rainfall. The optimum temperature range for egg laying is between 70 degrees and 80 degrees.

Damage:

  • Immature larvae or maggots feed on the developing floral and leaf buds of blueberries.
  • Some rabbiteye varieties are highly susceptible to both flower and vegetative bud injury.
  • Blueberry gall midge occurs sporadically, but when present they can cause reductions of 20 to 80 percent flower buds/fruit.

Scouting:

  • Emerging adults can be monitored by deploying white inverted bucket traps with sticky transparent tops. A minimum of two traps per acre are required (one on the border of the field and another in the center of the field).
  • Larval numbers can be monitored by collecting buds and holding them at room temperature for 10-16 days until larvae emerge.

Control:

  • It is strongly recommended that farmers begin a pre-bloom insecticide spray program for blueberry gall midge only after the pest has become active on the farm or in nearby fields.
  • Apply legal insecticides for gall midge control when flower buds reach stages 1 and 2; i.e., when swelling buds are starting to show signs of scale separation.
  • Repeat pre-bloom sprays during warm spells.
  • Cease spraying when bloom begins and bees are actively foraging in the field.
  • Contact your local Cooperative Extension Service office for insecticides recommended in your region.

Sources:

Gagné, RJ. 1989. The Plant-feeding Gall Midges of North America. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY. 356
Isaacs, Rufus. Blueberry gall midge. Retrieved 06 July 2010.
Lyrene PM, Payne JA. 1992. Blueberry gall midge; a pest on rabbiteye blueberry in Florida. Proceedings, Florida State Horticulture Society 105: 297-300.
Liburd, Oscar E., Erin M. Sarzynski, Blair J. Sampson and Gerard Krewer. Blueberry Gall Midge: A Major Insect Pest of Blueberries in the Southeastern United States. Retrieved 05 May 2010.
Lyrene PM, Payne JA. 1995. Blueberry gall midge: a new pest of rabbiteye blueberries. Journal of Small Fruit Production.

Last Updated: 8/19/2013 1:14:46 PM

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