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Insect-damaged blueberries

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Click on the links above to go to the Blueberry Insect Pest Guide home page or the Blueberry Insect Pests home page.

Blueberry maggots, fire ants and leaf-footed bugs, as well as stink bugs can damage blueberries. Click on the links below for information that can help to determine which insect may be damaging your blueberries. Information is provided to help in determining which insect(s) may be causing damage, as well as information on how to manage these insects.

Blueberry maggots are about 3/16 inch long. These insects can be recognized by a distinctive pattern of black bands running diagonally across each wing, white bars on each side of the thorax, a white spot at the posterior tip of the thorax and white lines along the back edge of each abdominal segment. Larvae develop entirely within the blueberry fruit and grow to about 1/2 inch in length. They have tapered, worm-like bodies with no legs, eyes or antennae.

Fire ants are relatively small (.118 inches (3 mm) to .236 inches (6 mm) in length) and are red to reddish brown in color. Although they may feed on ripe fruit, fire ants have only an insignificant impact on blueberry crop yields. They may even increase the amount of marketable fruit because they are natural enemies of other pests, such as cutworms and leafrollers that live or pupate in the soil. Fire ants are regarded as pests primarily because they attack pickers and other agricultural workers who tend the blueberry bushes.

Leaf-footed bugs are often brightly colored with orange or red markings. Nymphs are wingless, although wing pads are apparent. They are relatively large bugs, growing to be 1 inch long. They can damage large green and ripe fruits. In addition, leaf-footed bugs also can raise their young within fruiting clusters.

Stink bugs are often more brightly colored with orange or red markings. Nymphs are wingless, although wing pads are apparent. The degree of damage depends, to some extent, on the developmental stage of the plant when it is injured by stink bugs. Immature fruit and pods punctured by stink bugs become deformed as they develop.

More research-based information to help producers grow and maintain blueberry crops is available at eXtension.
Last Updated: 8/19/2013 1:01:32 PM

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