Strawberry clipper damage – does it affect yield?

Strawberry clippers, a pest of early strawberry buds, causes damage that many cultivars can recover from.

There have been some reports this spring of some intense feeding damage by strawberry clipper, Anthonomus signatus, in some strawberry fields. This small, reddish-brown weevil spends the winter in the leaf litter and tends to be most active in fields next to woods or other unmanaged areas. This pest seems to have survived the last winter well in some farms, and has moved into crop fields during the early growth.

While the time for management of this pest is generally past for this season, it is important for growers to know about this pest and some important research from Cornell University about how plants can respond to clipper feeding.

For more on the identification of this pest and its damage, read Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Small Fruit Crops: Strawberry Bud Weevil (Clipper).

The Cornell University research by Marvin Pritts, Greg Loeb and Joe Kovach showed that many cultivars can tolerate clipping damage by this pest, and these can respond to the feeding activity by making the remaining secondary and tertiary fruit larger. This response then results in little economic effect on many of the tolerant cultivars such as Jewel and Kent. A summary of the Cornell study can be read at Is Strawberry Clipper (Anthonomus signatus) an Economically Important Pest?

As a reminder to strawberry growers, Cornell also as a diagnostic tool for berry crops.

Dr. Isaacs work is funded in part by MSU’s AgBioResearch.

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