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Managing Mummy Berry and Spotted Wings in Blueberries

by Jennifer Miller — last modified Feb 13, 2014 02:05 PM

Plump, juicy blueberries are a nutritious and tasty treat, well loved by children and adults, alike. Two pests also find these berries to be a great food source, thus creating challenges for farmers.

Earlier this week, NCAP hosted a blueberry workshop for 60 growers from the Pacific Northwest, focused on managing pests with alternatives to pesticides.

Farmers extracted spotted wing Drosophila larvae from fruit, discussed ways to prevent attack from mummies, and honed their pruning skills.

People at Blueberry Workshop 2

Blueberry growers get an up close look at spotted wing Drosophila larvae, with assistance from OSU research and extension entomologist Amy Dreves.

Mummy berry is a fungal disease that turns juicy, tasty blueberries into shriveled, hard mummies. In years with wet springs, some growers have lost more than half of their crop. It is a challenge to adequately manage mummy berry on any farm and especially on organic operations.

NCAP, together with Oregon State University (OSU) researchers and two collaborating organic blueberry growers, recently launched field trials to improve cultural controls for this devastating disease. The workshop focused on sanitation, mulching and weed management practices. OSU extension plant pathology specialist Jay Pscheidt and graduate student Jade Florence shared their work. Check out NCAP’s video to learn more about mummy berry and scouting methods or visit Jade’s blog.

People at Blueberry Workshop

Jade Florence presenting her research.

Blueberry growers in the Pacific Northwest are also facing a relatively new pest, spotted wing Drosophila (SWD), to the region. Amy Dreves, research and extension entomologist at OSU, shared her research on developing monitoring traps for spotted wings and demonstrated the larva extraction method. She also discussed a 12-point management plan.

The day concluded with pruning methods for the different types of blueberry cultivars by Wei Yang, berry crops extension agent with OSU. Regular pruning improves plant vigor and airflow through the canopy, important for managing both mummy berry and spotted wings.

NCAP is pleased to be working with OSU and organic blueberry growers to develop preventative methods for managing mummy berry that can benefit all growers.