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Integrated management of white grub species in berry crops

Project Code: PRR18-030

Project Lead

Jean-Philippe Parent and Justin Renkema - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Objective

To help berry growers diversify their toolbox with alternative solutions for management of white grubs in their crops

The white grub pests pose a serious threat to the Canadian berry industry. Various levels of feeding damage caused by these pests can lead to reduced yields and quality in strawberry, raspberry and highbush blueberry crops. Root feeding larvae of Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica) and European chafer (Amphimallon majale) are especially problematic on strawberries and blueberries grown in the Eastern Provinces. Additionally, the foliar feeding adult Japanese beetles can skeletonize entire strawberry plants, and this is becoming an emerging concern due to lack of control solutions available. These pests were identified as a priority issue by a stakeholder working group participating in Pesticide Risk Reduction's Insect pests of berry crops strategy. This strategy is addressing pressing needs of growers for effective pest management tools and solution alternatives to protect their crops, particularly relevant in light of the loss of key pesticide uses (for example, diazinon and endosulfan) due to regulatory re-evaluation.

This 3 year project starting in spring 2018 targets both the Japanese beetle and European chafer. It aims to improve monitoring techniques through trapping and assess the efficacy of various management approaches, including soil amendments such as straw mulches and composts, and commercially available biocontrols (for example, entomopathogenic fungi, nematodes and bacteria). Laboratory and field trials will be conducted in the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Vineland and Harrow Research and Development Centres in Ontario. Project results will be shared with growers, provincial specialists and scientific communities across berry growing regions of Canada. Adoption of promising approaches resulting from this project may help growers minimize reliance on and use of pesticides in berry crops while effectively protecting yields.

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