Populations of HLB-spreading Asian citrus psyllids have been at record levels since April, University of Florida Citrus Health Management Area (CHMA) Program Coordinator Brandon Page told growers at a recent seminar in Immokalee. Page thinks abandoned groves that aren’t sprayed and therefore harbor psyllids are part of the reason for the recent population increase. “I think we’re also seeing money being allocated away from psyllid control into other grove inputs,” he says.
In addition, Page reports on a study of two groves in different CHMAs that have different levels of psyllid control. “The rate of decline in terms of boxes per acre in the better CHMA (with better psyllid control) was at a much slower rate and a much less dramatic decline as compared to the grove in the CHMA that had the much higher psyllid populations,” he says. Both groves produced 324 boxes per acre in 2008-09. In 2014-15, the grove in the better CHMA produced 287 boxes per acre; the grove in the less effective CHMA produced only 155 boxes per acre.
Page also discusses the importance of psyllid sprays at petal fall, and the importance of strong participation in CHMAs.
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