Asian Citrus Psyllid Alert: Post-Irma Control Needed

psyllids

By Phil Stansly

psyllid

phil stansly

Impact on Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) populations: Psyllids that survived the storm will find plenty of food thanks to a huge flush that is following defoliation from the hurricane. This and almost ideal temperature conditions will spawn an explosion of ACP, starting with the first post-Irma generation less than three weeks after the storm. By five weeks and two generations, we could expect to find most flush occupied and adults everywhere.

What to do: Don’t let ACP populations build up! The sooner groves get sprayed, the better. Unfortunately, the cheapest products are most overused with the consequences of resistance that we are seeing. Nevertheless, it’s probably more important to get something on now and go with more selective products the next growing seasons. I’d probably opt now for an organophosphate like dimethoate or chlorpyrifos to inexpensively control all stages and pre-empt further increase.

Parting words: Trees are stressed now with wind and water damage.  Allowing additional stress from re-inoculation with HLB wouldn’t be a good thing. An effective spray now should carry them through to the dormant season, whereas waiting now will just allow the psyllids to build up.  I hope growers can see their way clear to spraying ASAP.

Phil Stansly is an entomologist at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Southwest Florida Research and Education Center.

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