This field guide is a tool to aid in the identification of key insect pests, diseases, abiotic disorders and beneficial insects found in blueberry plantings in British Columbia (BC). Also included is a section on important insect pests and diseases that are not present in BC to encourage growers and scouts to be on the look-out for these potential problems.
This guide should be used in combination with the “Berry Production Guide” posted by the BC Ministry of Agriculture and other management resources. Once you have identified the problem, use the “Berry Production Guide” to find detailed information on life cycles, monitoring and management.
General Guidelines for Scouting in Blueberry Fields.
The blueberry scouting begins for mummyberry at bud break (February-March) then weekly from pink tip until end of harvest (April – September).
Regardless of how often the field is monitored, be systematic and concentrate on the key insect pests and diseases which will vary with the crop stage and variety, seasonal variation and field history. Careful monitoring is important so that problems can be detected early and action taken before serious damage occurs.
When sampling, inspect random bushes at several sites throughout the field to get a clear picture of insect pest distribution. Keep records while scouting, so that trends in insect pest populations and disease severity can be determined. This will help in making management decisions and in evaluating the effectiveness of treatments.
Basic sampling includes inspecting branch tips, blossom or berry clusters for insect pests, such as aphids or leafrollers, and any signs of diseases. Inspect stems and plant base for canker diseases or insect pests, such as scale.
When scouting fields, it is helpful to carry some basic tools.
- Flagging tape
- Ziploc-style bags
- Permanent felt pen
- Magnifying lens
- Smart phone equipped with camera
- Field Guide-App
A clipboard with paper or a notepad can be used to take down notes. A pencil is ideal because it will work, even in the rain. Flagging tape should be used to mark any suspicious plants, especially if samples will be sent for virus testing.
Ziploc-style plastic bags are ideal for collecting leaf samples for virus testing or for collecting samples of insects or disease tissues that will be submitted to a diagnostic laboratory.
A permanent felt pen can be used to write on flagging tape and sample bags.
A magnifying hand-lens is essential, especially early in the season when insects such as aphids are small and hidden within the branch tips.
A digital camera can be useful to keep a photographic record to aid a field representative extension person in helping to identify the problem.