Thrips monitoring in blueberries

Gary K. England, Elena M. Rhodes, Oscar E. Liburd


Flower thrips belonging to the genus Frankliniella affect both rabbiteye and southern highbush blueberries. Frankliniella bispinosa is one of the most destructive pest of Florida blueberries (Arevalo et al., 2006). These tiny insects with yellowish to orange coloration and fringed wings progress through two actively feeding larval instars and two inactive instars (often called pupae) during their short life cycle of 18 to 22 days. Thrips damage blueberry flowers and developing fruit by the feeding activities of larvae and adults. Oviposition by female adults and the eventual emergence of larvae can also result in significant damage. Monitoring flower thrips populations in commercial blueberry fields can be a strategy to determine if insecticide applications are necessary. One method of monitoring is to place white sticky traps within the canopy of commercial blueberries during the flowering period. It is recommended that four traps per acre with two in the interior and two on the border portions of the planting. Check traps once per week to determine if the population is approaching the treatment threshold. A more labor intensive method is to collect 20 blueberry flowers per acre and count the thrips present. Studies sponsored by IPM Florida were conducted in commercial blueberry fields in spring 2006 and 2007 to evaluate monitoring methods. The data indicated differences in thrips counts in various commercial blueberry cultivars evaluated in the trial, with ‘Emerald’ having highest counts on sticky traps.

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283