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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What is Eating my Blueberry Bushes?!

Another blog post found out what was eating my Dogwoods and now I searched for what is eating my poor blueberry bushes. They are still small and at the moment, they look quite pitiful.

Notice the cluster of caterpillars clinging to the branch on the left


I found that the culprit is from the genus Datana and is one of four moth species that feed as caterpillars on the leaves of blueberry. Yellownecked caterpillars are found throughout the southeastern United States and feed on a variety of hard woods such as blueberry, apple, cherry, basswood, birch, witch-hazel, and oak.

Yellownecked Caterpillars
The telltale markings include a black head, a yellow neck, a body marked with 8 thin yellow lines against a black background, and long sparse hairs. Fully grown, they reach a length of about 2 inches. When disturbed, they cling with both ends lifting up to form a U shape.

The pupae stage passes the winter months in the soil and emerge in early summer. They lay their eggs on the undersides of leaves. The hatch larvae feed together on nearby foliage. Once development is complete in late summer, they drop to the ground and pupate in the soil under these host plants. There is only one generation a year.

Notice what is left of this leaf
They are voracious eaters and can defoliate smaller bushes to the point where they look like skeletons. Groups of 30 - 100 feed together for protection. Natural predators such as the Tachinid flies and parasitic wasps keep caterpillar populations in check, therefore it usually isn't necessary to spray. Females lay their eggs on the host caterpillar larvae, and the young flies that hatch feed internally on the host.

In forests where the trees have abundant coverage of foliage, the cycles of growth may pass and only a few branches are stripped. But on smaller trees and bushes, the damage may be very obvious. The growth of the bush may be slowed, but the plants are seldom actually killed. This is because the feeding occurs late in the growing season when the bush has already given fruit.

 Often, the problem isn't noticed until the damage is done. Beginning in June and July, if blueberry bushes are inspected every week or two, severe defoliation can be prevented by manually removing the caterpillars and dropping them into a jar of soapy water.

If the trees are weak or of high value, the least toxic insecticide Bacillus thuringiensis k. is a good choice, but only if applied when the larvae are still small. If used on fully mature caterpillars, it won't be effective. Also, keep in mind that pesticides may also kill the predators you want to naturally keep the numbers down.

Adults are light brown moths with a wingspan of 1.5 to 2 inches. The fore wings have dark brown lines and darker in color than the hind wings. Since moths are active at night, they are seldom seen.
Pictured below is the adult Yellowneck Caterpillar moth. Photo credit goes to Bob Patterson.


 
Blueberry bushes are grown for their fruit. Keeping blueberry bushes healthy is key to fruit production. Blueberry bushes are susceptible to caterpillar infestations that feed on the leaves and damage the plant. Early detection and identification are important to managing these damaging pests.







  1. Types

    • The yellownecked caterpillar is found in many areas of the United States. It commonly feeds on blueberry, cherry, apple, birch, oak, witch-hazel and basswood. The yellownecked caterpillar is a voracious feeder causing extensive damage to blueberry bushes. Another leaf-feeding pest of blueberry bushes is the azalea caterpillar. This pest prefers feeding on azaleas, but has recently been discovered feeding on blueberry bushes. Azalea caterpillars often defoliate large portions of blueberry bushes before discovery.

    Identification

    • The yellownecked caterpillar has a black head capsule, orange or yellow rings around its neck and yellow lines along its sides. Long white hairs cover caterpillar that measures approximately 2 inches in length. Light-brown moths are its adult form. The azalea caterpillar is yellow with lines along is sides and a black head capsule. As this caterpillar ages, its colors brighten. Azalea caterpillars measure 2 inches in length at maturity, and its adult form is a light-brown moth.

    Effects

    • The yellownecked caterpillar young larvae skeletonize blueberry leaves, feeding together on leaves. Older yellownecked caterpillar larvae can completely defoliate a blueberry bush. Blueberry bushes with heavy infestations are stunted from feeding injury, but rarely die. The azalea caterpillar feeds on blueberry foliage, causing it to become skeletonized, dry and brittle. Young larvae skeletonize leaves, while the older larvae completely consume blueberry leaves.

    Control

    • Both the yellownecked caterpillar and the azalea caterpillar have several natural enemies that feed on them. Tachinid flies and parasitic wasps are two predatory insects that feed on caterpillars. If light infestations of caterpillars are found on blueberry bushes, remove them by hand and drop them into a bucket of soapy water. Heavy infestations are controlled with insecticidal sprays purchased at your local garden center.


Read more : http://www.ehow.com/info_8147177_caterpillars-eat-blueberry-leaves.html
At least the birds got a few blueberries off of these bushes before this invasion. 
Well, everything has to eat and we all must share in nature's bounty.
We just have to accept the cycle of life and that what eats foliage then becomes a food source for something else and the rise in the food chain continues.
yyellBlueberry bushes are grown for their fruit. Keeping blueberry bushes healthy is key to fruit production. Blueberry bushes are susceptible to caterpillar infestations that feed on the leaves and damage the plant. Early detection and identification are important to managing these damaging pests.







  1. Types

    • The yellownecked caterpillar is found in many areas of the United States. It commonly feeds on blueberry, cherry, apple, birch, oak, witch-hazel and basswood. The yellownecked caterpillar is a voracious feeder causing extensive damage to blueberry bushes. Another leaf-feeding pest of blueberry bushes is the azalea caterpillar. This pest prefers feeding on azaleas, but has recently been discovered feeding on blueberry bushes. Azalea caterpillars often defoliate large portions of blueberry bushes before discovery.

    Identification

    • The yellownecked caterpillar has a black head capsule, orange or yellow rings around its neck and yellow lines along its sides. Long white hairs cover caterpillar that measures approximately 2 inches in length. Light-brown moths are its adult form. The azalea caterpillar is yellow with lines along is sides and a black head capsule. As this caterpillar ages, its colors brighten. Azalea caterpillars measure 2 inches in length at maturity, and its adult form is a light-brown moth.

    Effects

    • The yellownecked caterpillar young larvae skeletonize blueberry leaves, feeding together on leaves. Older yellownecked caterpillar larvae can completely defoliate a blueberry bush. Blueberry bushes with heavy infestations are stunted from feeding injury, but rarely die. The azalea caterpillar feeds on blueberry foliage, causing it to become skeletonized, dry and brittle. Young larvae skeletonize leaves, while the older larvae completely consume blueberry leaves.

    Control

    • Both the yellownecked caterpillar and the azalea caterpillar have several natural enemies that feed on them. Tachinid flies and parasitic wasps are two predatory insects that feed on caterpillars. If light infestations of caterpillars are found on blueberry bushes, remove them by hand and drop them into a bucket of soapy water. Heavy infestations are controlled with insecticidal sprays purchased at your local garden center.


Read more : http://www.ehow.com/info_8147177_caterpillars-eat-blueberry-leaves.html
Blueberry bushes are grown for their fruit. Keeping blueberry bushes healthy is key to fruit production. Blueberry bushes are susceptible to caterpillar infestations that feed on the leaves and damage the plant. Early detection and identification are important to managing these damaging pests.







  1. Types

    • The yellownecked caterpillar is found in many areas of the United States. It commonly feeds on blueberry, cherry, apple, birch, oak, witch-hazel and basswood. The yellownecked caterpillar is a voracious feeder causing extensive damage to blueberry bushes. Another leaf-feeding pest of blueberry bushes is the azalea caterpillar. This pest prefers feeding on azaleas, but has recently been discovered feeding on blueberry bushes. Azalea caterpillars often defoliate large portions of blueberry bushes before discovery.

    Identification

    • The yellownecked caterpillar has a black head capsule, orange or yellow rings around its neck and yellow lines along its sides. Long white hairs cover caterpillar that measures approximately 2 inches in length. Light-brown moths are its adult form. The azalea caterpillar is yellow with lines along is sides and a black head capsule. As this caterpillar ages, its colors brighten. Azalea caterpillars measure 2 inches in length at maturity, and its adult form is a light-brown moth.

    Effects

    • The yellownecked caterpillar young larvae skeletonize blueberry leaves, feeding together on leaves. Older yellownecked caterpillar larvae can completely defoliate a blueberry bush. Blueberry bushes with heavy infestations are stunted from feeding injury, but rarely die. The azalea caterpillar feeds on blueberry foliage, causing it to become skeletonized, dry and brittle. Young larvae skeletonize leaves, while the older larvae completely consume blueberry leaves.

    Control

    • Both the yellownecked caterpillar and the azalea caterpillar have several natural enemies that feed on them. Tachinid flies and parasitic wasps are two predatory insects that feed on caterpillars. If light infestations of caterpillars are found on blueberry bushes, remove them by hand and drop them into a bucket of soapy water. Heavy infestations are controlled with insecticidal sprays purchased at your local garden center.


Read more : http://www.ehow.com/info_8147177_caterpillars-eat-blueberry-leaves.html
Blueberry bushes are grown for their fruit. Keeping blueberry bushes healthy is key to fruit production. Blueberry bushes are susceptible to caterpillar infestations that feed on the leaves and damage the plant. Early detection and identification are important to managing these damaging pests.







  1. Types

    • The yellownecked caterpillar is found in many areas of the United States. It commonly feeds on blueberry, cherry, apple, birch, oak, witch-hazel and basswood. The yellownecked caterpillar is a voracious feeder causing extensive damage to blueberry bushes. Another leaf-feeding pest of blueberry bushes is the azalea caterpillar. This pest prefers feeding on azaleas, but has recently been discovered feeding on blueberry bushes. Azalea caterpillars often defoliate large portions of blueberry bushes before discovery.

    Identification

    • The yellownecked caterpillar has a black head capsule, orange or yellow rings around its neck and yellow lines along its sides. Long white hairs cover caterpillar that measures approximately 2 inches in length. Light-brown moths are its adult form. The azalea caterpillar is yellow with lines along is sides and a black head capsule. As this caterpillar ages, its colors brighten. Azalea caterpillars measure 2 inches in length at maturity, and its adult form is a light-brown moth.

    Effects

    • The yellownecked caterpillar young larvae skeletonize blueberry leaves, feeding together on leaves. Older yellownecked caterpillar larvae can completely defoliate a blueberry bush. Blueberry bushes with heavy infestations are stunted from feeding injury, but rarely die. The azalea caterpillar feeds on blueberry foliage, causing it to become skeletonized, dry and brittle. Young larvae skeletonize leaves, while the older larvae completely consume blueberry leaves.

    Control

    • Both the yellownecked caterpillar and the azalea caterpillar have several natural enemies that feed on them. Tachinid flies and parasitic wasps are two predatory insects that feed on caterpillars. If light infestations of caterpillars are found on blueberry bushes, remove them by hand and drop them into a bucket of soapy water. Heavy infestations are controlled with insecticidal sprays purchased at your local garden center.



Read more : http://www.ehow.com/info_8147177_caterpillars-eat-blueberry-leaves.html
Blueberry bushes are grown for their fruit. Keeping blueberry bushes healthy is key to fruit production. Blueberry bushes are susceptible to caterpillar infestations that feed on the leaves and damage the plant. Early detection and identification are important to managing these damaging pests.







  1. Types

    • The yellownecked caterpillar is found in many areas of the United States. It commonly feeds on blueberry, cherry, apple, birch, oak, witch-hazel and basswood. The yellownecked caterpillar is a voracious feeder causing extensive damage to blueberry bushes. Another leaf-feeding pest of blueberry bushes is the azalea caterpillar. This pest prefers feeding on azaleas, but has recently been discovered feeding on blueberry bushes. Azalea caterpillars often defoliate large portions of blueberry bushes before discovery.

    Identification

    • The yellownecked caterpillar has a black head capsule, orange or yellow rings around its neck and yellow lines along its sides. Long white hairs cover caterpillar that measures approximately 2 inches in length. Light-brown moths are its adult form. The azalea caterpillar is yellow with lines along is sides and a black head capsule. As this caterpillar ages, its colors brighten. Azalea caterpillars measure 2 inches in length at maturity, and its adult form is a light-brown moth.

    Effects

    • The yellownecked caterpillar young larvae skeletonize blueberry leaves, feeding together on leaves. Older yellownecked caterpillar larvae can completely defoliate a blueberry bush. Blueberry bushes with heavy infestations are stunted from feeding injury, but rarely die. The azalea caterpillar feeds on blueberry foliage, causing it to become skeletonized, dry and brittle. Young larvae skeletonize leaves, while the older larvae completely consume blueberry leaves.

    Control

    • Both the yellownecked caterpillar and the azalea caterpillar have several natural enemies that feed on them. Tachinid flies and parasitic wasps are two predatory insects that feed on caterpillars. If light infestations of caterpillars are found on blueberry bushes, remove them by hand and drop them into a bucket of soapy water. Heavy infestations are controlled with insecticidal sprays purchased at your local garden center.



Read more : http://www.ehow.com/info_8147177_caterpillars-eat-blueberry-leaves.html
Blueberry bushes are grown for their fruit. Keeping blueberry bushes healthy is key to fruit production. Blueberry bushes are susceptible to caterpillar infestations that feed on the leaves and damage the plant. Early detection and identification are important to managing these damaging pests.







  1. Types

    • The yellownecked caterpillar is found in many areas of the United States. It commonly feeds on blueberry, cherry, apple, birch, oak, witch-hazel and basswood. The yellownecked caterpillar is a voracious feeder causing extensive damage to blueberry bushes. Another leaf-feeding pest of blueberry bushes is the azalea caterpillar. This pest prefers feeding on azaleas, but has recently been discovered feeding on blueberry bushes. Azalea caterpillars often defoliate large portions of blueberry bushes before discovery.

    Identification

    • The yellownecked caterpillar has a black head capsule, orange or yellow rings around its neck and yellow lines along its sides. Long white hairs cover caterpillar that measures approximately 2 inches in length. Light-brown moths are its adult form. The azalea caterpillar is yellow with lines along is sides and a black head capsule. As this caterpillar ages, its colors brighten. Azalea caterpillars measure 2 inches in length at maturity, and its adult form is a light-brown moth.

    Effects

    • The yellownecked caterpillar young larvae skeletonize blueberry leaves, feeding together on leaves. Older yellownecked caterpillar larvae can completely defoliate a blueberry bush. Blueberry bushes with heavy infestations are stunted from feeding injury, but rarely die. The azalea caterpillar feeds on blueberry foliage, causing it to become skeletonized, dry and brittle. Young larvae skeletonize leaves, while the older larvae completely consume blueberry leaves.

    Control

    • Both the yellownecked caterpillar and the azalea caterpillar have several natural enemies that feed on them. Tachinid flies and parasitic wasps are two predatory insects that feed on caterpillars. If light infestations of caterpillars are found on blueberry bushes, remove them by hand and drop them into a bucket of soapy water. Heavy infestations are controlled with insecticidal sprays purchased at your local garden center.


Read more : http://www.ehow.com/info_8147177_caterpillars-eat-blueberry-leaves.html