Citrus growers sometimes ask University of Florida entomologist Phil Stansly why they should continue to spray for HLB-spreading psyllids when trees are already infected with the disease. Stansly answered that question at Citrus Expo in August.
“There are two issues with HLB,” Stansly says in this interview with Tacy Callies summarizing his Expo presentation. “One is incidence. In other words, how many trees get it or are positive for it.
“And the other is intensity, or how bad it’s affecting the tree. And how bad it’s affecting the tree has a great deal to do with the psyllid population, and how many of them are constantly pumping new bacteria into that tree. By controlling psyllids, you can reduce the intensity, reduce the effect of HLB and increase your yields.”
Stansly also suggests the best methods for controlling psyllids. For young trees, the methods include the use of soil-applied insecticides, rotating the insecticide mode of action, and the possible use of reflective mulch. For mature trees, he says winter psyllid sprays are most important.
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