Stansly’s Parting Shot at Psyllids

Ernie NeffPsyllids


phil stansly at this year’s Citrus Expo in august

Less than a month before his death, the late Phil Stansly offered Citrus Expo attendees advice for coping with psyllid resistance to neonicotinoid insecticides. Stansly was a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences entomologist based at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center. He was among those credited with organizing Florida’s first psyllid- and HLB-fighting citrus health management area in Florida’s Gulf citrus region. Stansly was the subject of the February 2017 a cover story in Citrus Industry magazine.

He summarized his Expo presentation in an interview at the event. “Basically you have to lay off the neonics, and we think maybe six months — it could be slightly less — and then go back to them and see if they work,” Stansly said. During that six months, growers should continue to rotate other insecticides with different modes of action, he advised.

“Reflective mulch is not a replacement (for insecticides), but it will help a great deal” in controlling HLB-spreading psyllids, Stansly said. He noted that mesh bags, which cover individual trees, might also be beneficial for psyllid control. “That’s another option,” he said. “It’s all about economics and what works the best for the grower.”

Stansly concluded: “I just want to thank all the growers and everybody that I’ve worked with over the years … It’s been a pleasure, it still is, and I hope to continue as long as possible.”

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Ernie Neff

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large