Emergence of blueberry maggot flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) from mulches and soil at various depths


Renkema, J.M., Lynch, D.H., Cutler, G.C., MacKenzie, K., Walde, S.J. (2012). Emergence of blueberry maggot flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) from mulches and soil at various depths. Environmental Entomology, [online] 41(2), 370-376. http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/EN11200


Control of blueberry maggot, Rhagoletis mendax Curran, typically is achieved with insecticides targeting adult flies before females oviposit in ripening fruit. Management strategies targeting other life stages have received less attention. We tested effects of compost or pine needle mulches on emergence of blueberry maggot flies under laboratory and field conditions. Few flies emerged from pupae that were buried under 20 cm of pine needles in all experiments, but burial in 20 cm of compost did not always result in low fly emergence. Burial of pupae in 5 cm of compost or pine needles did not reduce fly emergence compared with 1 cm in soil. Low emergence with increased mulch depth appeared to be primarily because of failure of flies to ascend to the surface after they exited puparia. Low emergence also was associated with high moisture levels causing rotten, discolored pupae, particularly in the laboratory in compost. No flies emerged from pupae buried in 1 cm of pine needles in the field. In this case no flies exited puparia, likely because high temperatures (>30°C) at the surface killed pupae. Thus, mulch application under highbush blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) after maggots drop from berries can reduce emergence success of flies from buried pupae, but the level of control will depend on mulch depth and may vary with rainfall and temperature. © 2012 Entomological Society of America.

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