Cranberry fruitworm

Particularly troublesome in the eastern U.S., the cranberry fruitworm, Acrobasis vaccinii, affects both cranberries and blueberries. It overwinters in the soil as a fully grown larva and completes development in the spring. Adult moths mate and lay eggs from bloom until late green fruit, usually on unripe fruit. The eggs are very small and difficult to see. Young larvae enter the stem end of the fruit and feed on the flesh. They often web berries together with silk. A Michigan study reports that many parasites attack the cranberry fruitworm. The most common larval parasitoid is Campoletis

Figure 4. Cranberry fruitworm larva.

By C.D. Armstrong. Photo used with permission.

Figure 4. Cranberry fruitworm larva.

By C.D. Armstrong. Photo used with permission.

patsuiketorum (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae); the most common parasitoid recovered from the fruitworm's hibernating structure was Villa

Figure 3. Photo used with permission By C.D. Armstrong. Cranberry fruitworm adult moth.

lateralis (Diptera: Bombyliidae).(Murray et al., 1996) Therefore, maintaining refugia, by enhancing field borders for beneficial insects, and proper sanitation are especially important in controlling this pest. Additionally, eliminating weeds and vegetative litter around plants helps cut down on overwintering protection for fruit-worm cocoons.

The biocontrol Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) can effectively control cranberry fruitworm. Make sure to use a Bt product approved for organic production. The spinosad insecticide Entrust (Dow AgroScience) is registered for use against the cranberry fruitworm and cherry fruitworm on blueberries.

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