Blueberry gall midge
Dasineura oxycoccana (Johnson)
Diptera: Cecidomyiidae

     Blueberry gall midge is a small fly native to North America. In feeds on blueberries and cranberries (Vaccinium spp.) and can be found in most blueberry and cranberry growing regions throughout the southeast, Midwest and west coast. In cranberry growing areas in Massachusetts and Wisconsin it is called cranberry tipworm. Blueberry gall midge has recently been reported on blueberries in the Pacific Northwest. It also appears to have been introduced into Europe where it was identified on blueberries in Italy and England.
     The adult female midge lays eggs in developing blueberry flower and vegetative buds. The larva is the damaging stage, feeding within buds on the meristomatic tissue. Damaged flower buds become necrotic and dry up. These symptoms can easily be confused with frost damage. Feeding in leaf buds causes leaves to grow unevenly resulting in deformed leaves which are crumpled and cupped. Larvae may also kill the vegetative meristem causing excess lateral growth, which produces more vegetative buds and fewer flower buds.


damaged buds


deformed leaves


     Blueberry gall midge is a serious pest of cultivated blueberries in Florida and other blueberry producing states in the Southeast. It feeds on and develops in both rabbiteye (Vaccinium virgatum Aiton) and southern highbush (V. corymbosum V. darrowi hybrids) blueberry plants. Rabbiteye tends to be more susceptible to midge damage, and heavy infestations have jeopardized rabbiteye blueberry production in Florida. In susceptible rabbiteye cultivars, blueberry gall midge can destroy 80 90% of flower buds.


Blueberry Gall Midge Research

Development of monitoring techniques

     Monitoring is an important component of any successful pest management program. Blueberry gall midge is difficult to detect because of its small size and because it spends most of its life cycle in its host plant (larva) or in the soil (pupa).

Objectives:

  1. Develop monitoring techniques for immature stages infesting blueberry flower buds
    [Sarzynski and Liburd 2003; Liburd and Finn 2003]
  2. Develop monitoring techniques for adults
    [Liburd 2006; Roubos and Liburd 2010a]
  3. Calculate temperature-based models for midge development
    [Roubos and Liburd 2010b]

Insecticide evaluation

     Insecticides are the only tools currently available to manage blueberry gall midge. Industry standards include malathion, diazinon, and DelegateTM (spinetoram). New products are needed to replace older chemicals facing restrictions and for use is insecticide rotation to mitigate resistance. Many of the insecticides tested have been classified as reduced-risk.

Objective:

  1. Evaluate the efficacy of reduced-risk insecticides for control of blueberry gall midge larvae infesting blueberry flower buds
    [Liburd 2004]

Biological control

     Little research has been done on biological control of blueberry gall midge and no research has been done on this topic in Florida. This information is needed for developing an integrated control program which would reduce the reliance on insecticides.

Objectives:

  1. Conduct inventory of parasitic Hymenoptera present in Florida blueberry farms
  2. Identify natural enemies attacking blueberry gall midge in Florida
  3. Determine seasonal patterns of blueberry gall midge parasitoids

Blueberry Gall Midge / Cranberry Tipworm Publications

  • Liburd, O.E., and C.R. Roubos. 2010. Blueberry gall midge: a key pest of rabbiteye blueberries. Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society. in press

  • Roubos, C.R., and O.E. Liburd. 2010a. Evaluation of emergence traps for monitoring blueberry gall midge (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) adults and within field distribution of midge infestation. Journal of Economic Entomology. 103: 1258-1267.

  • Roubos, C.R. and O.E. Liburd. 2010b. Pupation and emergence of blueberry gall midge, Dasineura oxycoccana (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae), under varying temperature conditions. Florida Entomologist. 93: 283-290.

  • Liburd, O.E. 2006. Evaluation of monitoring techniques for detecting cranberry tipworm in rabbiteye and southern highbush blueberries. Acta Horticulturae. 715: 503-507.

  • Liburd, O.E., and H.A. Arevalo. 2006. Insects and mites in blueberries. pp. 99-110. In N.F. Childers and P.M. Lyrene [eds.], Blueberries for growers, gardeners, promoters. E.O. Painter Printing Company, Inc., DeLeon Springs, FL.

  • Sampson, B.J., T.A. Reinhart, O.E. Liburd, S.J. Stringer, and J.M. Spiers. 2006. Biology of parasitoids (Hymenoptera) attacking Dasineura oxycoccana and Prodiplosis vaccinii (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) in cultivated blueberries. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 99: 113-120.

  • Dernisky, A.K., R.C. Evans, O.E. Liburd, and K. MacKenzie. 2005. Characterization of early floral damage by cranberry tipworm (Dasineura oxycoccana Johnson) as a precursor to reduced fruit set in rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium ashei Reade). International Journal of Pest Management. 51: 143-148.

  • Liburd, O.E. 2004. The effectiveness of various insecticides to control blueberry gall midge. Berry/Vegetable Times. 4: 2-4.

  • Liburd, O.E. and E. Finn. 2003. Evaluating techniques for detecting blueberry gall midge in southern highbush and rabbiteye blueberry plantings. Dixie Blueberry News. 3: 1-3.

  • Sarzynski, E.M. and O.E. Liburd. 2003. Techniques for monitoring cranberry tipworm (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae in rabbiteye and southern highbush blueberries. Journal of Economic Entomology. 96: 1821-1827.

  • Liburd, O.E. and E. Finn. 2002. The status of blueberry gall midge in the southeastern United States. IFAS EDIS Ext. Pub. ENY-825. University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.

  • Sampson, B.J., S.J. Stringer and J.M. Spiers. 2002. Integrated pest management for Dasineura oxycoccana (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) in blueberry. Environ. Entomol. 31: 339-347.

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