During this week’s lecture we learned about the Honeyberry aka Haskap aka Sweetberry Honeysuckle aka a plethora of other names. Two pests of this plant were mentioned but some important ones I’ve personally encountered the past two years were not. These pests are robins (Turdus migratorius) and leaf rollers (Archips rosana).
I find the Latin species name for the robin very appropriate, Turdus. Once the robins have located your Honeyberry patch, they will visit every day until the berries are close to ripening and will devour them before you get a chance to even taste them for readiness. The devious little creatures will visit your patch every year once they know you have them. The best way to battle these pests is to build a net cage around the patch. Just laying netting on top and around does not prevent thievery. Robins will sit on top of the net and slip under the net. The net must be several feet away from the berries and securely attached to the ground to prevent any sneaking below the net. I constructed a cage around my small patch using the smallest size of bird netting available and some old fence posts. Ground staples are excellent for securing the netting to the ground. I was able to harvest nine pounds of berries this year compared to the previous year of nothing! Next year, I intend to make a sturdier structure using ¾ inch PVC pipe, zip ties and bird netting. This will make for easier harvesting and look a little better.
The second pest I’ve dealt with is a leaf roller which for the last two years have attacked the growing tips of my honeyberries. The first year I encountered them I was not able to get a positive identification. This year, I captured a few samples and brought them to our local Cooperative Extension Service Office. The Integrated Pest Management (IPM) technician identified them initially as the Spear-Marked Black Moth (Rheumaptera hastate), however, a later identification was made as the Rose Tortrix Moth, (Archips rosana). The recommended control method was the use Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) which I used but did not find very effective. I resorted to the best known method for insect pest control which is both effective and satisfying – pick and squish. I pruned my bushes this fall and removed all the leaves under the shrubs which could harbor overwintering pupae. Hopefully this next summer, I will see diminished problems with both the mentioned “pests”.