At the 2021 Citrus Expo, entomologist Lukasz Stelinski suggested ways growers can manage HLB-spreading Asian citrus psyllids (ACP) while reducing costs. Some of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences entomologist’s key points follow:
- Psyllid density is related to tree stress; more psyllids lead to higher damage, compromising tree health and yield.
- Spray for adults at bud break at the beginning of first flush before there is feather flush on which adults can lay eggs.
- If the pest population (and the resulting damage) is sufficiently low, it might not pay to take control measures.
- As the pest population continues to rise, it reaches a point where the resulting damage would justify taking control measures. In a tap survey, 0.2 psyllids per tap seems like an effective ballpark threshold for spraying.
- Border sprays between flush cycles can also reduce cost.
Stelinksi discussed the ACP economic injury level (EIL), which he described as the known target population that causes economic damage. To determine the EIL requires regular monitoring. Growers can decide whether treatment is necessary after assessing pest populations, he said. Control measures can be applied when the EIL is reached.
The entomologist also addressed dormant season sprays, which many growers have been using on ACP for years. “Effectively timed dormant season sprays are critical to establish a sufficiently low ACP population at season’s onset in order to implement EIL,” a slide stated. “Starting out with low ACP populations with effective dormant spray is essential for implementing an EIL.”
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