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When invasive pests disrupt IPM - responding to gall wasp outbreak in highbush blueberries
The western region of Michigan is a prime location for production of highbush blueberries, with over 22,000 acres of this crop being produced for the fresh, frozen, and processed food markets. Due to the market expectation for perfect fruit, growers employ intensive IPM programs to prevent economic loss from insects, with primary focus on those that directly reduce yields and contaminate harvested fruit. High quality blueberries are achieved through a combination of cultural controls, monitoring, biological control, and insecticides. Implementation of blueberry IPM programs focused on blueberry maggot, fruitworms, and Japanese beetle led to a significant reduction in insecticide use during the early part of this century, but arrival of spotted-wing Drosophila caused a disruption of established IPM programs with many unintended consequences. This presentation will discuss some of those changes that happened to berry IPM programs over the last decade, and how research, extension, and grower communities have responded. As an example, I will highlight our work to address blueberry stem gall wasp, a native insect that has become more abundant over the past decade and the multi-disciplinary team that has been seeking solutions to this pest.

Apr 21, 2021 12:30 PM in Central Time (US and Canada)

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Rufus Isaacs
Professor and Extension Specialist @Michigan State University
Dr. Isaacs is a Professor and Extension Specialist at Michigan State University where he leads the Berry Crops Entomology laboratory in the Department of Entomology (College of Agriculture & Natural Resources). His research and extension program develops information on how to manage insects that influence berry farms and vineyards. Michigan is a major producer of berry crops and grapes and the entomological issues that affect these industries have been addressed by Dr. Isaacs and his team for the past two decades, with a focus on insect pest management and pollinator management to support farm profitability. In recent years, they have focused on blueberry stem gall wasp and spotted wing Drosophila to identify the most effective chemical controls, and to explore biological and cultural controls.