The blueberry gall midge, Dasineura oxycoccana Johnson, is a serious pest of rabbiteye blueberries in Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi, and a potential pest of southern and northern highbush blueberries. Its damage has been observed with increasing frequency in highbush blueberry plantings in the Great Lakes region, including in Wisconsin and in Michigan. Unlike in rabbiteye blueberry plantings, where blueberry gall midge primarily damages flowering buds, it is found to damage only the vegetative shoots of northern highbush blueberry. In this study, farms throughout Michigan were surveyed for the presence of blueberry gall midge and it was found in 43 of 46 sampled farms in 11 counties. From 2009–2011, several monitoring techniques, including yellow sticky traps, emergence traps, observational sampling, and vegetative shoot dissections were used to determine the ecology of this species in blueberry fields in southwest Michigan. Emergence traps were most useful in early detection of blueberry gall midge in April, and observational sampling for damage symptoms and vegetative shoot dissections revealed multiple population peaks throughout July and August. Infestation was detected in vegetative shoot tips in all parts of the bushes, with initial infestation greatest at the base of bushes. Degree day accumulations until first midge detection and peak infestation suggest some potential for predicting key events in the pest's phenology. This information about the distribution and timing of infestation will be useful in developing management strategies for blueberry gall midge infestation.
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Vol. 41 • No. 3