Blueberry gall midge, Dasineura oxycoccana (Johnson), is a key pest of blueberries in Florida. As a larva, this insect feeds in developing flower and leaf buds. Management of D. oxycoccana relies principally on chemical insecticides; however, efficacy is limited because D. oxycoccana is sheltered within the plant during most of its life cycle. Natural enemies, particularly parasitoids, may play an important role in regulating D. oxycoccana populations. To determine the seasonal dynamics and parasitism rates of eulophid and platygastrid wasps parasitizing D. oxycoccana larvae, we sampled D. oxycoccana larvae by collecting infested blueberry leaf buds from a minimally-managed farm in north central Florida. Midge larvae were examined under a microscope to determine parasitism status of host instars. Parasitism rates ranged from 25 to 40% over the 3-yr study. Percent parasitization was significantly higher in third instars than first or second instars. Midge larvae in the centers of leaf buds were significantly less likely to be parasitized than larvae in outer layers of leaf buds. Thirty-seven percent of midge larvae had been parasitized multiple times, suggesting these parasitoids do not discriminate between parasitized and unparasitized hosts. Implications for pesticide use in relation to the conservation of natural enemies and management of D. oxycoccana populations are discussed.
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Vol. 42 • No. 3