GALL MIDGES, CONTARINIA AGRIMONIAE FELT AND DASINEURA SPP. (DIPTERA: CECIDOMYIIDAE), ASSOCIATED WITH BLACKBERRY FLOWER INJURIES AND NUBBINS

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  • 1 Southern Piedmont Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blackstone, VA 23824

Larvae of Contarinia agrimoniae Felt, a gall midge, were discovered during 1986 in blossoms of blackberry cultivars and wild-growing plants that had a history of poor fruit set and `nubbin' formation (Stiles, Semtner, and Reed, 1996). Other species damage blackberries in Europe, but the only North American recognition of Rubus flower bud infestation was with Dasineura rubiflorae Felt during 1886 (Gagne, 1989). During 1995 we found larvae of a Dasineura spp. in damaged buds at two, widely separated, commercial, North Carolina, blackberry sites. It is not known if the latter insects are different from the species that was collected during 1886. Midge larvae probably overwinter in soil under affected plants so we sprayed diazinon on the soil surface before bloom to kill larvae or interfere with pupation and reduce crop injuries. Infested `Shawnee' and `Cheyenne' buds were ≈100% more numerous among controls than diazinon-treated plots. Numbers of larvae varied among infested buds; 83 were observed in one bud from a nontreated `Cheyenne' plot.

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