Cesar Rodriguez-Saona


Extension Specialist in Entomology

PE Marucci Center for Blueberry and Cranberry Research and Extension

Email: crodriguez@njaes.rutgers.edu


The goal of my research program is the development and implementation of cost-effective reduced-risk IPM practices for blueberries and cranberries. This goal is achieved through the integration of chemical, behavioral, and biological methods in insect control and a better understanding on the ecology of pests and their natural enemies. My extension program delivers IPM information to growers by conducting on-farm demonstration trials, presentations, and extension publications.


  • 1999: Ph.D,. University of California, Riverside
  • 1994: M.S., Oregon State University
  • 1991: B.S., Universidad Nacional Agraria, Peru

Research Projects

  • Host-plant volatile attractants
  • Host finding by beneficial insects
  • Mating disruption technologies
  • Resistant varieties
  • Development of pest monitoring techniques
  • Novel reduced risk and selective chemical controls

Professional Experience

  • Post-doctoral Research Entomologist. 2004-2005. Department of Entomology. Michigan State University.
  • Post-doctoral Research Entomologist. 2001-2004. Department of Botany. University of Toronto.
  • Post-Doctoral Research Entomologist. 1999-2001. USDA-ARS. Western Cotton Research Lab.

Recent Publications (Since 2015)

  • Rodriguez-Saona, C., Vincent, C., and Isaacs, R. 2019. Blueberry IPM: Past successes and future challenges. Annual Review of Entomology 64: 95–114.
  • Rodriguez- Saona, C., Cloonan, K.R., Sanchez-Pedraza, F., Zhou, Y., Giusti, M.M., and Benrey, B. 2019. Differential susceptibility of wild and cultivated blueberries to an invasive frugivorous pest. J. Chem. Ecol. 45: 286–297. FEATURED ON THE COVER OF THE JOURNAL.
  • De Lange, E., Salamanca, J., Polashock, J., and Rodriguez-Saona, C. 2019. Genotypic variation and phenotypic plasticity in gene expression and herbivore-induced volatiles, and their potential tritrophic implications, in cranberries. J. Chem. Ecol. 45: 298–312.
  • Klick, J., Rodriguez-Saona, C.R., Hernández Cumplido, J., Holdcraft, R.J., Urrutia, W.H., da Silva, R.O., Borges, R., Mafra-Neto, A., and Seagraves, M.P. 2019. Testing a novel attract and kill strategy for Drosophila suzukii (Diptera: Drosophilidae) management. J. Insect Sci. 19(1): 3; 1–6. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/jisesa/iey132.
  • Benevenuto, R.F., Seldal, T., Hegland, S.J., Rodriguez-Saona, C., Kawash, J., and Polashock, J. 2019. Transcriptional profiling of methyl jasmonate-induced defense responses in bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.). BMC Plant Biology 19:70. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12870-019-1650-0.
  • De Lange, E.S., Kyryczenko-Roth, V., Johnson-Cicalese, J., Davenport, J., Nicholi Vorsa, N., and Rodriguez-Saona, C. 2019. Increased nutrient availability decreases insect resistance in cranberry. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 21: 326-335.
  • Rodriguez-Saona, C., Nielsen, A.L., Shapiro-Ilan, D.I., Tewari, S., Kyryczenko-Roth, V., Firbas, N., Leskey, T.C. 2019. Exploring an odor-baited “trap bush” approach to aggregate plum curculio (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) injury in blueberries. Insects 10, 113; https://doi:10.3390/insects10040113.
  • De Lange, E.S. and Rodriguez-Saona, C. 2019. Does enhanced nutrient availability increase volatile emissions in cranberry? Plant Signaling & Behavior (Short Communication). 14:8, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/15592324.2019.1616517
  • Pradit, N., Rodriguez-Saona, C., Kawash, J., and Polashock, J. 2019. Phytoplasma infection influences gene expression of American Cranberry. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution (section Behavioral and Evolutionary Ecology) 7:178. doi: https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2019.00178.
  • Pradit, N., Mescher, M.C., Wang, Y., Vorsa, N., and Rodriguez-Saona, C. 2019. Phytoplasma infection of cranberries benefits non-vector phytophagous insects. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution section Chemical Ecology 7:181. doi: https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2019.00181.
  • Stratton, C.A., Hodgdon, E., Rodriguez-Saona, C., Shelton, A.M., and Chen, Y.H. Phylogenetically-distant plants with odors similar to Brassicas repel the swede midge (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae), a Brassica specialist. Scientific Reports 9:10621 doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-47094-8.
  • Rodriguez-Saona, C.R., Polk, D., Oudemans, P.V., Holdcraft, R., Zaman, F.U., Isaacs, R., and Cariveau, D. 2018. Landscape features determine the abundance and distribution of Rhagoletis mendax, a key fruit fly pest of blueberries. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 258: 113–120.
  • Silva, D., Kyryczenko-Roth, V., Alborn, H., and Rodriguez-Saona, C. 2018. Comparison of trap types, placement, and colors for capturing Anthonomus musculus Say (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) adults in highbush blueberries. J. Insect Science 18(2): 19; 1–9, doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/jisesa/iey005.
  • Hernandez-Cumplido, J., Giusti, M., Zhou, Y., Kyryczenko-Roth, V., Chen, Y.H., and Rodriguez-Saona, C. 2018. Testing the ‘plant domestication-reduced defense’ hypothesis in blueberries: The role of herbivore identity. Arthropod-Plant Interactions. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11829-018-9605-1.
  • Salamanca, J., Brigida, S. and Rodriguez-Saona, C. 2018. Cascading effects of combining herbivore-induced plant volatiles with companion plants to manipulate natural enemies in an agro-ecosystem. Pest Management Science 74: 2133–2145.
  • Jaffe, B.D., Avanesyan, A., Bal, H.K., Grant, J.,Grieshop M.J., Lee, J.C., Liburd, O.E., Rhodes, E., Rodriguez-Saona, C., Sial, A.A., Yan Feng, Y., Zhang, A., Guédot, C. 2018. Multistate comparison of attractants and the impact of fruit development stage on trapping Drosophila suzukii (Diptera: Drosophilidae) in raspberry and blueberry. Environmental Entomology 47: 935–945.
  • Kostromytska, O.S., Rodriguez-Saona, C., Alborn, H., and Koppenhöfer, A.M. 2018. Role of plant volatiles in host plant recognition by annual bluegrass weevil, Listronotus maculicollis (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). J. Chem. Ecol. 44: 580–590.
  • Benevenuto, R.F., Hegland, S.J., Töpper J.P., Rydgren K., Moe S.R., Rodriguez-Saona C., and Seldal T. 2018. Multiannual effects of induced plant defenses: Are defended plants good or bad neighbors? Ecology and Evolution 8: 8940–8950.
  • Gallardo, K.R., Zhang, Q., Dossett, M., Polashock, J., Rodriguez-Saona, C., Vorsa, N., Edger, P.P., Ashrafi, H., Babiker, E., Finn, C.E., and Iorizzo, M. 2018. Breeding trait priorities of the blueberry industry in the United States and Canada. HortScience 53: 1021–1028.
  • Vidal-Gomez, U., Rodriguez-Saona, C., and Kaplan, I. 2018. Constitutive exposure to the volatile methyl salicylate reduces per-capita foraging efficiency of a generalist predator to learned prey associations. Entomol. Exp. et Appl. 166: 661–672.
  • Cloonan; K. Abraham, J.; Angeli, S.; Syed, Z.; and Rodriguez-Saona, C. 2018. Advances in the chemical ecology of Drosophila suzukii and its applications. J. Chem. Ecol. 44: 922–939.
  • Gallardo, K.R., Klingthong, P., Zhang, Q., Polashock, J., Atucha, A., Zalapa, J., Rodriguez-Saona, C., Vorsa, N., and Iorizzo, M. 2018. Breeding trait priorities of the cranberry industry in the United States and Canada. HortScience 53: 1467–1474.
  • Williams, L., Rodriguez-Saona, C., and Castle del Conte, S. 2017. Methyl jasmonate-induction of cotton: a field test of the ’attract and reward’ strategy of conservation biological control. AoB Plants (Special Issue on Using Non-Model Systems to Explore Plant-Pollinator and Plant-Herbivore Interactions). AoB PLANTS9: plx032; doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/aobpla/plx032.
  • Weber, D.C., Morrison, W.R. III, Khrimian, A., Rice, K., Leskey, T.C., Rodriguez-Saona, C., Nielsen, A.L., and Blaauw, B.R. 2017. Chemical Ecology of Halyomorpha halys: Discoveries and applications. J. Pest Sci. (Special issue on “The brown marmorated stink bug: an emerging pest of global concern”). DOI: 10.1007/s10340-017-0876-6.
  • Hahn, N.G., Rodriguez-Saona, C., and G.C. Hamilton. 2017. Characterizing the spatial distribution of brown marmorated stink bug populations in peach orchards. PLoS ONE 12(3): e0170889.
  • Hernandez-Cumplido, J., Leskey, T.C., Holdcraft, R., Zaman, F.U., Hahn, N.G., and Rodriguez-Saona, C. 2017. Tempo-spatial dynamics of adult plum curculio (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) based on semiochemical-baited trap captures in blueberries. Environ. Entomol. 46: 674–684.
  • Salamanca, J., Souza, B., Lundgren, J.G., and Rodriguez-Saona, C. 2017. Laboratory to field: Electro-antennographic and behavioral responsiveness of two insect predators to methyl salicylate. Chemoecology 27: 51–63.
  • Seldal, T., Hegland, S.J., Rydgren, K., Rodriguez-Saona, C., Töpper, J. 2017. How to induce plant defence responses in wild plant populations? Using a dominant boreal plant species as example. Ecology and Evolution 7: 1762–1769.
  • Wadhwa, S., Gallagher, F.J., Rodriguez-Saona, C., and Holzapfel, C. 2017. Analysis of fluctuating asymmetry in isopod and hardwood tree populations in brownfields. Ecological Indicators 76: 42–51.
  • Fraga, D.F., Parker, J., Busoli, A.C., Hamilton, G.C., Nielsen, A.L., and Rodriguez-Saona, C. 2016. Behavioral responses of predaceous minute pirate bugs (Hemiptera: Anthocoridae) to tridecane, a volatile emitted by the brown marmorated stink bug. J. Pest Sci. (Special issue on “The brown marmorated stink bug: an emerging pest of global concern “). DOI 10.1007/s10340-016-0825-9
  • McArt, S.H., Miles, T., Rodriguez-Saona, C., Schilder, A., Adler, L.S., and Grieshop, M.J. 2016. Floral scent mimicry and the transmission of a pollinator-vectored plant pathogen. PLoS ONE 11(11): e0165761.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0165761
  • Rivera, M., Rodriguez-Saona, C., Alborn, H., and Koppenhöfer, A. 2016. Differential response of a local population of entomopathogenic nematodes to non-native herbivore induced plant volatiles (HIPV) in the laboratory and field. J. Chem. Ecol. 42: 1259–1264.
  • Zhou, Y., Giusti, M.M., Parker, J., Salamanca, J., and Rodriguez-Saona, C. 2016. Frugivory by brown marmorated stink bug (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) alters blueberry fruit chemistry and preference by conspecifics. Environ. Entomol. 45:1227–1234.
  • Holdcraft, R., Rodriguez-Saona, C., and L.L. Stelinski. 2016. Pheromone autodetection: Evidence and implications. Insects (Special issue on “Sexual Communication in an Evolutionary Context”) 7, 17; doi:10.3390/insects7020017
  • Rodriguez-Saona, C., Wanumen, A.C., Salamanca, J., Holdcraft, R., and Kyryczenko-Roth, V. 2016. Toxicity of insecticides on various life stages of two totricid pests of cranberries and on a non-target predator. Insects (Special issue on “Collection on Integrated Pest Management”) 7, 15; doi:10.3390/insects7020015.
  • Hahn, N.G, Kaufman, A.J., Rodriguez-Saona, C., Nielsen, A.L., LaForest J., and Hamilton, G.C. 2016. Exploring the spread of brown marmorated stink bug in New Jersey through the use of crowdsourced reports. American Entomologist 62: 36–45.
  • Rivera, M.J., Rodriguez-Saona, C., Elgizi, A., Fonseca, D.M., Jennings, D.E., and Koppenhofer, A.M. 2016. Cultivation and domestication of highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) alters abundance, diversity, and virulence of entomopathogenic nematodes. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 222: 148–155.
  • Rivera, M.J., Rodriguez-Saona, C., Jennings, D.E., and Koppenhöfer, A.M. 2015. Assessing the impact of cultivation and plant domestication of highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) on soil properties and associated plant-parasitic nematode communities (Short Communication). Soil Biology and Biochemistry 88: 25–28.
  • Rodriguez-Saona, C., C. Vincent, D. Polk, and F.A. Drummond. 2015. The blueberry maggot fly, Rhagoletis mendax Curran (Diptera: Tephritidae): A review. Journal of Integrated Pest Management. 15(1): 11; DOI: 10.1093/jipm/pmv010.
  • Leskey, T., Agnello, A., Bergh, J. C., Dively, G., Hamilton, G., Jentsch, P., Khrimian, A., Krawczyk, G., Kuhar, T., Lee, D., Morrison, W., Polk, D., Rodriguez-Saona, C., Shearer, P., Short, B., Shrewsbury, P., Walgenbach, J., Weber, D., Welty, C., Whalen, J., Wiman, N., Zaman, F. 2015. Attraction of the invasive Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) to traps baited with semiochemical stimuli across the United States. Environmental Entomology 44: 746–756.
  • Chacón-Fuentes, M., Parra, L., Rodriguez-Saona, C., Seguel, I., and Quiroz, A. 2015. Domestication in murtilla (Ugni molinae) reduced defensive flavonol levels but increased resistance against a native herbivorous insect. Environmental Entomology 44: 627–637.
  • Kim, H., Rodriguez-Saona, C., Kwon, D.H., Park, S., Kang, T-J., Kim, S-J., Hong, K-J., Lee, H-S. 2015. Development and characterization of 12 microsatellite loci from the blueberry gall midge Dasineura oxycoccana (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae). Journal of Entomology and Zoology 50: 415–418.    
  • Wiman, N., J. Parker, C. Rodriguez-Saona, and V. Walton. 2015. Characterizing damage and impacts of brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), on commercial blueberries. Journal of Economic Entomology 108: 1156–1163.
  • Burrack, H.J., Asplen M., Bahder L., Collins, J., Drummond F.A., Guédot C., Isaacs, R., Johnson D., Blanton A., Lee J.C., Loeb G., Rodriguez-Saona, C., Van Timmeren, S., Walsh D., and McPhie D.R. 2015. Multi-state comparison of attractants for monitoring Drosophila suzukii (Diptera: Drosophilidae) in blueberries and caneberries. Environmental Entomology 44: 704–712.
  • Abraham, J., A. Zhang, S. Abubeker, S. Angeli, and C. Rodriguez-Saona. 2015. Behavioral and antennal responses of spotted wing drosophila, Drosophila suzukii, to volatiles from fruit extracts. Environmental Entomology 44: 356–367.
  • Deutsch, A.E., C. Rodriguez-Saona, J.E. Zalapa, and S.A. Steffan. 2015. Temperature-mediated development of Sparganothis sulfureana (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) in cranberries. Environmental Entomology 44: 400–405.
  • Cowles, R.S., C. Rodriguez-Saona, R. Holdcraft, G.M. Loeb, J.E. Elsensohn, and S.P. Hesler. 2015. Sucrose improves insecticide activity against Drosophila suzukii (Diptera: Drosophilidae). Journal of Economic Entomology 108: 640–653.
  • Salamanca, J., M. Pareja, C. Rodriguez-Saona, A.L.S. Resende, and B. Souza. 2015. Behavioral responses of adult lacewings, Chrysoperla externa, to a rose-aphid-coriander complex. Biological Control 80: 103–112..


  • 2011 Recipient of the Distinguished Service to New Jersey Agriculture Award. Team Award (Rutgers Fruit IPM Program).
  • 2009 Recipient of the Merle V. Adams Award for Outstanding Achievement. Rutgers Cooperative Extension. 2010.
  • Pacific Branch ESA Winner of the John Henry Comstock Award. 83rd Annual Meeting Pacific Branch of the ESA. Eugene, Oregon. 1999.
  • 1988-99 Lesley Award. University of California, Riverside.
  • First Place Oral Presentation. Ph.D. Competition. 82nd Annual Meeting Pacific Branch of the ESA. Honolulu, Hawaii. 1998.
  • President's Prize. Honorable Mention. Section Fa Poster Presentation. 1997 ESA Annual Meeting. Nashville, Tennessee.
  • Outstanding Teaching Assistant. Department of Entomology. University of California, Riverside. 1996-1997.
  • First Place Oral Presentation. Ph.D. Competition. 80th Annual Meeting Pacific Branch of the ESA. Big Sky, Montana. 1996.
  • First Runner-Up Oral Presentation. Ph.D. Competition. 79th Annual Meeting Pacific Branch of the ESA. San Diego, California. 1995.

Professional Affiliations

  • International Society of Chemical Ecology
  • International Organization of Biological Control
  • Ecological Society of America
  • Entomological Society of America

Research Interests and Expertise

Integrated Pest Management, Tritrophic Interactions, Biological Control, Insect Chemical Ecology, Insect-Plant Interactions, Host Plant Resistance