Blueberry Tip Borer

5/25/2011 12:44:06 AM

Blueberry tip borer larva exposed by breaking stem open. Photo courtesy of Rufus Isaacs, Michigan State University Entomology.

Blueberry shoot with leaves turning brown from the tip end as a result of blueberry tip borer infestation. Photo courtesy of Mark Longstroth, Michigan State University Entomology.

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Blueberry tip borers are mostly brown, but each front wing has orange marks near the tip and a silver spot along the hind margin. They have wingspans of .37 inches (9.5 mm) to .57 inches (14.5 mm) and they lay eggs on lower surface of leaves and bore into the canes 2 inches (5 cm) to 6 inches (15 cm) from the tip.


  • Overwinter as larvae in the hollow blueberry canes where they feed during the summer.
  • Larvae are slender, light pink caterpillars.
  • The young larvae tunnel into the shoot near the eggs and feed inside the plant tissue.


  • Check for a small pinhole where the larva entered the stem.


  • A small pinhole can be seen where the larva entered the stem.
  • The internal feeding causes the stem to wilt and the leaves to dry up beginning at the tips.
  • Monitoring for the onset of this symptom can be used to identify the egg-laying period.
  • Larvae continue developing into fall and pupate inside the stem.


  • Standard fruitworm controls usually prevent tip borer infestation.
  • Pruning infested shoots can help suppress populations.
  • Two chemical sprays, one applied at petal fall and the other at first cover, control this pest.
  • Contact your local Cooperative Extension Service for control recommendations.

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