The cranberry entomology program follows two broad avenues, pursuing both basic and applied studies of insects. The paths of these two avenues intersect frequently, thus adding not only to our understanding of an insect system, but also making significant contributions to sustainable cranberry cultivation in SE Massachusetts. Specifically, work in the lab at the Cranberry Station is largely devoted to studies of the behavior, ecology, and management of insect pests of cranberry and blueberry.
The cranberry plant and the bog habitat are unique; further, the cranberry industry, which is critical to southeastern Massachusetts, was developed through the manipulation of the native ecosystem in which the cranberry species evolved. Basic research makes up much of the effort of students in my lab, covering diverse areas within the realm of behavioral ecology. For example, we have projects ongoing that emphasize observation of individual insects in lab and semi-field conditions, as well as field observation of adult movement and mating. Lately, I have chosen to focus on cranberry/blueberry insects that move extensively throughout the bog’s surrounding habitats and whose immatures utilize restricted resources for larval development (newly set cranberry fruit or blossom buds). I am particularly interested in the ramifications of these traits and have looked at patterns of egglaying and behavior-mediated competition for small hosts. As a side note, the wild stands of cranberry located among the sand dunes on the Cape Cod peninsula have served as fascinating study sites for some of this work.
Cranberry is one of the most important agricultural crops in Massachusetts, and Massachusetts is one of the largest cranberry-producing areas in the world. My approach is to utilize the knowledge gained through our studies of insect (both pest and beneficial) behavior and ecology to develop or enhance management strategies. I work on grower tools such as trapping systems and sampling programs. I am involved in a multidisciplinary research and demonstration program with cranberry growers and researchers in nutrition, weed science, plant pathology, and ecological physiology. My extension work in cranberry involves an education program to promote pest management programs and sustainable cultivation practices.
Selected Recent Publications
Tewari, S., J.P. Buonaccorsi, and A.L. Averill. In clonal cranberry, physiological integration plays key role in the tolerance of apical meristem by feeding of tipworm larvae, Dasineura oxycoccana (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae). submitted to Environmental Entomology
Tewari, S., J.P. Buonaccorsi, and A.L. Averill. Impact of early-season apical meristem injury by gall-making tipworm, Dasineura oxycoccana (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae), on reproductive and vegetative growth of cranberry. Economic Entomology: in press
Sandler, H.A., C.J. DeMoranville, F.A. Caruso, M.M. Sylvia, A.L. Averill, J. Vanden Heuvel. 2012. Increasing sustainability of Massachusetts cranberry production through cultural management of the vine canopy. Acta Hort. In press
Tewari, S., and A.L. Averill. 2012. Injury to apical meristem of cranberry by Dasineura oxycoccana (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) reduces floral-units in the next growing season. J. Economic Entomology 105(4), 2012, 1366-1378
Szendrei, S., A.L. Averill, H. Alborn, C. Rodriguez-Saona. 2011. Identification and field evaluation of semiochemically-based attractants for the cranberry weevil,Anthonomus musculus Say (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). J. Chemical Ecology37: 387-397.
Averill, A.L. 2011. Nest location in bumble bees: effect of landscape and insecticides. American Bee Journal 151 (12): 1187-1190
Morkeski, A., and A.L. Averill. 2010. Wild bee status and evidence for pathogen spillover with honey bees. American Bee Journal 150 (11): 1049-1052.
Welch, A., F. Drummond, S. Tewari, A.L. Averill, J.P. Burand. 2009. Presence and prevalence of viruses in local and migratory honey bees (Apis mellifera) in Massachusetts. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 75(24): 7862-7865.