University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) entomologist Lukasz Stelinski suggested ways growers can cut psyllid control costs. He summarized key points he made in a talk at a Jan. 8 Citrus Insect Management Workshop at the Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred.
Stelinski credited the late UF/IFAS entomologist Phil Stansly for determining that psyllid monitoring and establishment of psyllid tolerance thresholds could reduce costs for growers.
“He (Stansly) looked at whether we could use thresholds to time insecticides in mature citrus with nearly 100 percent HLB infection,” Stelinski said. Stansly showed that “while calendar sprays will typically produce the highest yields and will have the greatest reduction in psyllid densities, sometimes, depending on the psyllid pressures, using an action threshold, for example .2 psyllids per tap sampling per block, can result in higher profits and fewer sprays than a calendar spray.” Stelinski explained that’s because the yield gain resulting from extra sprays “does not result in greater economic output. You invest more in insecticides than you make up for in yield.”
Focusing on psyllid control in grove borders is another way to effectively cut psyllid management costs. That’s because “the highest psyllid densities and incidence of HLB will be on the borders,” Stelinski said.
Killing psyllid populations prior to flushes, for example with dormant winter sprays, is another cost-effective psyllid control strategy. “The quicker you can get to them (psyllids), and the quicker you can reduce them before they start to build up on those flushes, the much more bang you get for that investment in insecticide,” Stelinski said.
He added that using a combination of techniques, including kaolin, reflective mulch and psyllid exclusion, can cut psyllid control costs.
Hear more from Stelinski:
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