Strawberries: Main Pests and Beneficials in Florida
The strawberry, Fragaria x ananassa, is an important small fruit crop in Florida. The sunshine state leads the southeastern U.S. in strawberry production and ranks second to California nationwide. The mild weather of Florida's fall and winter seasons sustain the nation's second largest strawberry production. These conditions, unfortunately, are also suitable for several arthropod pests to multiply and feed on the crop. Strawberry plants are quickly established two weeks after the transplanting irrigation is turned off. This is the time growers must begin to scout their fields at least once a week to assess the status of pests, such as spider mites, cyclamen mites, lepidopterous larvae, aphids, thrips, and sap beetles. The ability to recognize these pests, their damage, and their natural enemies is important in determining the best control methods for each situation. Keep in mind that miticide or insecticide choices are limited if you participate in a biological control program.