Researchers are trying to use all available tools to control HLB-spreading psyllids, says entomologist Michael Rogers with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Rogers, director of the Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred, says scientists want “to show that we can actually grow citrus in the age of HLB and still be profitable.”
“The different approaches we’re looking at for psyllid control include the use of kaolin clay applications,” Rogers says. “Kaolin is a product that we’ve worked with for a number of years now. During the dry season, it’s a very good option for growers.”
Rogers says kaolin deters psyllids from landing on trees by clogging their tarsal claws, so the pests can’t grasp onto the leaves and feed on them.
“We really don’t recommend using it (kaolin) in the summertime months, because if you get one of those heavy afternoon Florida thundershowers, you’re going to lose all that benefit. And it can cost $40 to $50 per acre for a kaolin application,” Rogers says.
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