The plum curculio, Conotrachelus nenuphar (Herbst), is a well known pest in apple and peach orchards, but it also is capable of having an economic impact in highbush blueberries. Host phenology and plum curculio oviposition patterns were determined on four highbush blueberry cultivars differing in fruit maturation period. Numbers of oviposition scars were higher on early- (‘Weymouth’) and mid-season (‘Duke’ and ‘Bluecrop’) blueberries than on late-season ‘Elliott’ in 2001, 2002, and 2003. In 2002, eggs were first present on the three earliest cultivars 21 d before those on ‘Elliott’, whereas eggs were found on ‘Elliott’ >40 d after the last sample with eggs for the other three cultivars. The pattern of host phenology and infestation levels suggested that plum curculio oviposition synchronizes well with the availability of suitable fruit for oviposition on early and mid-season cultivars compared with a late-season cultivar of highbush blueberries. The implications of a transition to use of reduced-risk insecticides are discussed in relation to plum curculio management.
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Vol. 97 • No. 6