Controlling Pest Pressure Post-Hurricane

Josh McGillhurricane, Pests

University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) multi-county citrus Extension agent Ajia Paolillo summarized suggestions for controlling pest pressure after Hurricane Ian in a recent Extension newsletter.

pest pressure
Individual protective covers were among the losses incurred by Hurricane Ian.
(Photo by Chris Oswalt)

Along with horticultural practices and disease control, growers should be monitoring for pests in their groves post-hurricane. UF/IFAS entomologist Lauren Diepenbrock provided some suggested practices for keeping pest pressure as low as possible.

Many growers utilize individual protective covers (IPCs) for protection of young trees. Unfortunately, the strong hurricane winds blew IPCs off of young trees. In many cases, the covers are gone. If growers will be replacing the IPCs, Diepenbrock suggests treating the trees prior to putting the covers back on. This will help to knock down pests that may be feeding on the trees.

Trees will be flushing after the large amount of rain received, and the new growth is very attractive to HLB-spreading Asian citrus psyllids and citrus leafminers. Diepenbrock suggests treating with a foliar spray to protect the leaves on these already stressed trees.

The high winds of the hurricane could also have caused an increased dispersal of some pests such as lebbeck mealybug. Diepenbrock stated that recent data she has collected in the lab indicates that the mealybug is attracted to odors produced from damaged citrus plant material. If this pest is of concern in your grove, try choosing a product that is effective for control of both the mealybug and the psyllid.

Soil drenches for young trees with products such as imidacloprid can provide control of the psyllid and leafminer. Refer to the 2022–23 Florida Citrus Production Guide for more information on products and rates.

Hurricane Ian severely damaged much of Florida’s citrus industry when it crossed the state Sept. 28-29. See the preliminary assessment of losses from UF/IFAS.

Source: UF/IFAS

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