Soft fruits

Controlling strawberry, blueberry, raspberry and cranberry pests

Soft fruits are afflicted by a wide variety of soil-dwelling insects. One thing these insects all have in common is that they are very difficult to control using standard plant protection agents.

Learn here how to control cranberry crop pests using nematodes.

Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries

Damages strawberry roots by larvae of the black vine weevil

Damages strawberry roots by larvae of the black vine weevil

Typical crescent shaped notches cut along leaf margins by adult black vine weevi

Typical crescent shaped notches cut along leaf margins by adult black vine weevils on olive leaves.

The most widespread pests are the black vine weevil (Otiorhynchus sulcatus), the clay coloured beetle (Otiorhynchus singularis), the strawberry root weevil (Otiorhynchus ovatus) and the rough strawberry root weevil (Otiorhynchus rugostriatus). These pests can be found particularly in blueberry, raspberry and strawberry plantations as well as in viniculture – with young olive plantations often ravaged by them, too.

Despite this, all the pests mentioned can be treated effectively using entomopathogenic nematodes of the genus Heterorhabidits. For some species, it is worthwhile treating them twice a year in the spring and autumn with up to 75,000 nematodes used per plant.

The presence of pests is not only discernible by the beetles' typical crescent-shaped bite marks, but also by the shrivelling/yellowing of individual plants in the crop where the typical signs of feeding damage or small voracious larvae can be found on the roots.

 Cranberries

Typical damage caused to cranberries by cranberry girdler larvae

Typical damage caused to cranberries by cranberry girdler larvae

By contrast, completely different types of pest can be found in cranberry crops including the cranberry girdler, also known as the sod webworm (Chrysoteuchis topiaria), and the cranberry root weevil (Rhabdopterus picipes). But here too, their larvae can also be controlled very effectively using entomopathogenic nematodes of the genera Steinernema and Heterorhabditis.