Biodegradable, ammonium-baited spheres treated with the neonicotinoid insecticide Provado (imidacloprid) at 2% (AI) were evaluated for controlling blueberry maggot flies, Rhagoletis mendax Curran. Three strategies for sphere deployment in highbush blueberries, Vaccinium corymbosum L., were compared with untreated control plots in 1999 and once again compared against control plots and organophosphate insecticide sprays in 2000. The patterns of sphere deployment were as follows: (1) perimeter deployment in which spheres were hung individually and spaced equally around the perimeter of experimental plots; (2) cluster deployment in which four groups of three spheres were hung in equally spaced perimeter locations of experimental plots; and (3) uniform deployment in which spheres were placed 10 m apart (in a grid-like pattern) within experimental plots. In 1999, there were no significant differences in fruit injury levels based on observed R. mendax oviposition scars and reared larvae among plots containing imidacloprid-treated spheres in perimeter, cluster, and internal-grid patterns. However, all plots containing spheres had significantly lower fruit infestation levels (<2%), compared with unsprayed control plots with no spheres deployed, which had infestation levels (>20%). In 2000, there were no significant differences in fruit injury based on observed R. mendax oviposition scars between plots containing imidacloprid-treated spheres in the three deployment strategies tested and plots that received Guthion (Azinphos-methyl) spray applications. However, significantly fewer R. mendax larvae were reared from berries collected from plots that received two applications of Guthion compared with plots in which imidacloprid-treated spheres were deployed. Irrespective of sphere deployment strategies, all sphere-treated and sprayed plots had significantly lower injury levels (<1.5%), based on numbers of reared larvae compared with berries collected from the control plots (>4.0%). Based on captures of flies on unbaited Pherocon AM boards placed in the center of treatment plots, we observed a suppression of R. mendax in plots containing imidacloprid-treated spheres compared with control plots. The potential of using imidacloprid-treated spheres as a behavioral control integrated pest management tactic for blueberry maggot flies is discussed.
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Vol. 94 • No. 4