As growers strive for sustainability in the HLB era, biological controls are playing an increasingly important role in citrus production. The March issue of Citrus Industry magazine features some of the latest biological control research.
An article by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) entomologist Jawwad Qureshi looks at three types of biological control agents used against the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP). These include predators, a parasitoid and entomopathogens. While biological controls alone cannot effectively manage HLB in Florida, they can contribute significantly to ACP suppression as part of an integrated pest management plan.
Citrus under protective screen (CUPS) is a mechanical control method some growers are using to protect their crops from ACP. While CUPS can effectively block ACP from plants, other smaller pests can still enter the screens and attack citrus. An article in the March issue by Emilie Demard, UF/IFAS Ph.D. candidate, investigates the use of predatory mites as biological controls in CUPS.
Lebbeck mealybugs, one of the newest pests found in Florida citrus, are another target for biological control. A feature in the March issue by UF/IFAS entomologist Lauren Diepenbrock reports on what predators have been found eating lebbeck mealybugs in Florida groves.
A team of Brazilian researchers author an article on integrated HLB management. The authors touch on the use of the Tamarixia radiata parasitoid as a biological control agent against ACP. They also cover other tactics being used to manage HLB, including insecticides, coordinated regional management and measures that take place outside of grove borders.
The new Making Sense of Biologicals sponsored series of articles aims to educate growers on the diverse class of inputs known as agricultural biologicals. The March article discusses the benefits of biostimulants.
Find all these articles and more, coming soon in the next issue of Citrus Industry magazine.
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