Consumers Don’t Want Bugs with Berries, Making Insecticides Necessary

Japanese beetles are often present in blueberry fields and are collected along with the berries at harvest. Because of zero consumer tolerance for bugs in blueberry products, insecticides are necessary to remove the beetles from the blueberry fields before harvest.

“The Japanese beetle, Popillia japonica Newman, is an invasive pest of fruit and vegetable crops, turfgrass, and ornamentals in eastern and central North America. … During the adult emergence period of June to September in Michigan beetles can be observed feeding and mating in clusters on host plants.”

“Much of the food industry maintains a zero tolerance standard for insect contamination at pack-out, which places added pressure on growers of fruit crops such as cherry, peach, plum, and blueberry that may be harvested when beetles are present. The majority of commercial blueberry producers use over-the-row mechanical harvesters for collecting fruit from their fields. This harvesting method does not effectively discriminate between beetles and berries, so adult Japanese beetles are a significant contamination risk in fields being harvested where Japanese beetle has not been controlled.”

“Color sorting technology has been adopted by many large processors to detect and remove beetles, providing >95% removal. Even with these management components available to help minimize the risk of fruit contamination with adult beetles, conventional insecticides remain the primary approach to in-field management of Japanese beetles in fruit crops.”

Authors: J. Wise¹, C. Vandervoort² and R. Isaacs¹.
Affiliation: ¹Department of Entomology, Michigan State University; ²Pesticide Analytical Laboratory, Michigan State University.
Title: Lethal and sublethal activities in imidacloprid contribute to control of adult Japanese beetle in blueberries.
Publication: Journal of Economic Entomology. 2007. 100(5):1596-1603.

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