Here are the invaders who attack blackberries that you may have to contend with. As always, Food Gardening Network recommends organic pest control whenever possible.
Aphids: These are greenish, red, black, or peach-colored sucking insects that can spread disease as they feed on the undersides of leaves. They leave a sticky residue on foliage that attracts ants.
Introduce or attract natural predators into your garden such as lady beetles and wasps who feed on aphids. You can also wash them off with a strong spray, or use an insecticidal soap.
Japanese Beetles: These common pests with iridescent wings can chew holes in leaves in no time. Hand pick them early in the morning into a bucket of soapy water to drown them.
Borers: Borer larvae are worms with whitish bodies and brown heads about 1 inch long. The adults are clear-winged moths with black and yellow bands on their bodies. The larvae tunnel in canes and cause lateral growth to wither and canes to die. Prune and destroy infested canes. Do not throw the infested canes into a compost heap.
Leafhoppers: These appear in varying shades of green, yellow, and brown, are very active and slender and wedge shaped. They can leave foliage pale and curled and leave secretions on the plants and fruit. They can spread disease. Try insecticidal soaps. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for control assistance.
Spider Mites: These tiny spider-like pests are about the size of a grain of pepper. They may be red, black, brown, or yellow. They suck on the plant juices removing chlorophyll and injecting toxins which cause white dots on the foliage. There is often webbing visible on the plant. They cause the foliage to turn yellow and become dry and stippled. They multiply quickly and thrive in dry conditions.
Spider mites may be controlled with a forceful spray every other day. Try hot pepper wax or insecticidal soap. Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for miticide recommendations.
How do you fight off blackberry invaders? Please share your methods with us in the comments below.