“Debugging” berries

Washington’s small fruit growers
 represent a more than $100 million industry.

Berries are big in Washington state. Washington farmers grow the majority of the nation’s red raspberries, producing up to 70 million pounds yearly on more than 10,000 acres. The state’s growers also produce nearly 13 million pounds of strawberries and 14.5 million pounds of blueberries every year. Altogether, the state’s small fruit growers represent  more than a $100 million industry.

As news reports continue to tout research proving the health and antioxidant benefits of berries, consumer demand continues to grow.
To meet the demand with attractive high-quality fruit, growers need science-based tools to effectively control the weevils, mites, aphids and other pests that feed on the roots, plants and fruit, especially as some traditional pesticides are phased out.

Lynell Tanigoshi

At WSU’s Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center in Mount Vernon, entomologist Lynell Tanigoshi and his team are working on new approaches using integrated pest management and a new generation of highly targeted insecticides with low use rates. His small fruit arthropod programs, begun in 1995, focus on developing management tactics that integrate IPM and timed pesticide applications for optimal control and cost effectiveness while minimizing the development of pesticide resistance.

“There are some exciting developments in terms of our research in using beneficial predatory insects and mites to control pests, and in terms of targeted new pesticide chemistries that are proving effective and safer to beneficial arthropods,” Tanigoshi said.
Recent and pending registrations of new targeted and selective pesticides for blueberry, strawberry and caneberries are resulting in improved tactics that combine timed chemical control with the conservation of natural enemies to control root weevils, western raspberry fruitworm, leafrollers, aphids and spider mites.

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