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Something eating my new blueberry leaves

Posted by sharppa 6/PA (My Page) on
Wed, Jul 10, 13 at 20:53

Is there a common pest in the northeast that eats the new shoots of blueberry leaves as in the picture?. A few weeks ago I saw one small green caterpillar but I have been unable to find any caterpillar or bugs eating these leaves since then.

This is not the same damage as the bag worms I have on one plant. Those are easy to find now and I'm down to finding one or two a day.

I'm tempted to do a BT spray but don't want to bother without figuring out what pest it might be.

Thanks for any advice.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Something eating my new blueberry leaves

Can't really help too much except I see the same on mine from time to time. Actually, today I saw the tops of a couple of tender shoots chewed on a little. It gave me the excuse to prune the top off of branches that should have been pruned anyway ;-) They were way too long anyway.


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RE: Something eating my new blueberry leaves

Looks a lot like root weevils! They come out at night. Lots of great organic control methods.


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RE: Something eating my new blueberry leaves

If root weevils, must be ferociously hungry! The kinds around here make much smaller bites.

Reminds me of leafcutter bees. If so, it's a temporary situation that won't damage the bush.


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RE: Something eating my new blueberry leaves

  • Posted by fruitnut z7b-8a,4500ft SW TX (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 11, 13 at 8:52

Possibly leaf cutter bees? The eaten portions seem pretty circular.

What are the organic control methods for root weevil?


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RE: Something eating my new blueberry leaves

I think it's Leafcutter Bees. They cut off small round chunks of leaf to line their nests with. They cut one piece, take it away, then come back and get another. The round, adjacent cuts are very characteristic of this bee. I say don't worry about it.


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RE: Something eating my new blueberry leaves

It's leaf cutter bees.
To be encouraged as these bees are superb pollinators, pound for pound better than honey bees. Their only interest is pollen to feed brood, and the little damage they do is quickly repaired.


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RE: Something eating my new blueberry leaves

  • Posted by mrclint z10SoCal Valley (My Page) on
    Sat, Jul 13, 13 at 12:57

You have a number of choices:
* You could plant roses as a diversion, as they are the leaf of choice for LCB.
* Netting on the BB bushes will keep the bees out.
* Using less N on your BB will make them less attractive to LCB and other sucking and chomping insects.


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RE: Something eating my new blueberry leaves

Thanks everyone. I haven't seen much bee activity on my plants (30 of them) and the damage is fairly widespread but I'll keep watching for them.

These were planted last year and wow, the bareroot ones from Nourse have done far better than a few random potted ones from the big box stores I got.


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RE: Something eating my new blueberry leaves

Leafcutter bees seem like a good possibility, but have you done a nighttime flashlight inspection? I ask because I've been noticing significant damage on new growth, as well, and the culprit turned out to be Asiatic Garden Beetles. They're similar to Japanese beetles, but they're only active at night. Had I not been in the habit of making the occasional nighttime sweep to see what might be out and about, I never would have known that I had them.


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RE: Something eating my new blueberry leaves

Shazaam, you may be right. I was weeding this morning and ran across two bugs in the mulch that looked like coffee beans, which match the description of Asiatic Garden Beetles. I have looked at dusk with a flashlight but not the middle of the night.

Odd, here in the Lehigh Valley (at least my two properties), the Japanese beetles have nearly disappeared over the past two years. Maybe Asiatic beetles are taking their place.


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RE: Something eating my new blueberry leaves

That definitely sounds right -- they're supposed to hide in mulch, leaf litter, soil, etc. during the day. Japanese beetles are as bad as ever here, so it would appear that I have both to contend with. I've also found them on raspberries, and I've read that they can do a lot of damage to vegetables, as well.


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RE: Something eating my new blueberry leaves

Did some quick research as I have the same type of damage on my blues. I have 2 new varieties of bees/wasps that I have seen in the last week around my blackberries/blueberries. What do you know but one is an exact match for a leaf cutter bee. Black with silverfish/white stripes. Go to google images and type it in and see if you can compare to anything you've seen flying around.


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RE: Something eating my new blueberry leaves

Shazaam wins the prize! My son and I went out last night at 10 and found some Asiatic garden beetles eating the new growth. Only 8 beetles were found among 30 plants but they are doing a fair amount of damage to the new growth.


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RE: Something eating my new blueberry leaves

I still think you have some carpenter bee damage, in addition to this other interloper. The latter fellow seems to have a different sort of chewing pattern.


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RE: Something eating my new blueberry leaves

i had the same damage and have found beetles on my plants during night watering as well. in addition to some kind of cherry pest, moths, a slug, and others.


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