Citrus under protective screen (CUPS) and young trees covered with individual protective covers (IPCs) have generally been well protected from HLB-spreading Asian citrus psyllids, but not from all other pests.
Entomologist Jawwad Qureshi says the psyllids only get to trees when a CUPS structure or IPC is damaged, as happened to CUPS during Hurricane Irma in 2017. “Otherwise they do a pretty good job of protecting” trees from psyllids, he says.
Other pests that can still get to trees protected by CUPS and IPCs include leafminers, scales, thrips, mites, mealybugs and armyworms. Qureshi says some of these pests may be small enough to get through the CUPS or IPC mesh. Others may get inside CUPS through an entry door or be transported by equipment or humans, he adds.
Qureshi, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences entomologist, spoke about the pests that aren’t excluded by CUPS and IPC in a talk at the Florida Citrus Show in January. Qureshi works at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center in Immokalee.
Qureshi discusses control of the pests that get to trees inside CUPS and IPC. “For some of them (pests), it’s not easy to get good control even with the chemicals,” he says. “So the best situation is that we would do regular monitoring.” When pests are found, he suggests immediate control measures be taken “because if we let them establish, then it becomes even more difficult” to control. He says it is good to establish pest predators within the CUPS and IPC. “Then may be able to do a decent job” of biological control, along with chemical control, he says.
In conclusion, Qureshi reemphasizes the importance of regular monitoring “so that if you find anything you can take immediate action.” He says growers using IPCs can sometimes look through the bags and see “some kind of pest or feeding damage inside. Then you can open them and check them.”
Hear more from Qureshi:
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