Re-tooling IPM programs to combat new invasive insect pests

Controlling new invasive pests in blueberries and raspberries may require redesigning current IPM programs

Editor’s note: This article is from the archives of the MSU Crop Advisory Team Alerts. Check the label of any pesticide referenced to ensure your use is included.

The 2010 discovery of the Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) (Drosophila suzukii) and the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) (Halyomorpha halys) in Michigan’s fruit growing region will disrupt current Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for blueberries and raspberries. The addition of these pests to the “key pest” list is one way in which these pests alter IPM programs. The key to success when dealing with a key pest is understanding identification methods, lifecycle and susceptibility to pesticides.

IPM programs are knowledge-based tools requiring precise information on pest biology and site-specific environmental information. This information is often supplied by IPM scouts and Extension specialists. To develop an effective IPM program, growers need to learn how to identify and scout for these new pests. MSU Extension, will provide growers with knowledge and training to successfully modify their IPM programs to manage these pests. A rigorous pest scouting program allows for early detection and effective control measures against these insects. Growers with smaller farms will benefit the most if they conduct their own IPM scouting.

Current IPM programs are designed to optimize the efficacy and efficiency of insecticides against well known pest complexes. Blueberries have relatively few insecticides available for pest control. These include insect growth regulators (IGRs), neonicotinoids, pyrethroids and organophosphates (OP). According to MSU entomologist Rufus Isaacs, growers in Michigan have already implemented IPM programs to control pests like blueberry maggots and Japanese beetles, which occur near or at harvest time, using some of these insecticides. Because the SWD also occurs at harvest time, existing pest control programs can provide some level of protection against this pest. Since pyrethroids and OP insecticides have restrictions on their use near harvest time, we will need to identify insecticides that fit well into current IPM programs and learn to optimize their performance.

The brown marmorated stink bug has not been found yet in blueberries or other small fruit crops in Michigan. But, according to information published by Celeste Welty from Ohio State University small fruit crops are among its major hosts (See Growers need to be aware of the serious potential threat that the BMSB represents for Michigan’s small fruit industries.

Because of the complexity of this challenge, MSU Extension will be offering workshops teaching growers to identify, monitor and control these new pests. Workshops will include classroom, laboratory and hands-on field training. Training materials with training notes for further review will be provided in both English and Spanish. For information on upcoming workshops please contact Carlos García, at 616-260-0671, or email,

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