Foliar sprays of insecticides timed to citrus flushing provided a significant reduction in Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) populations compared to standard grower practices, researcher Jawwad Qureshi reported. Timing sprays to flushing also led to a reduction in sprays, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences associate professor of entomology said in a virtual presentation on Feb. 22.
Qureshi provided other conclusions and implications regarding pest management for citrus in standard grove settings, in individual protective covers (IPCs) and in citrus under protective screen (CUPS).
Conclusions for trees in standard grove settings were:
- Beneficial predators such as ladybeetles and lacewings were observed in groves and contributed to the natural mortality of immature ACPs.
- Young citrus trees on UV-metalized reflective mulch benefitted from reduced ACP populations and improved plant growth.
Qureshi noted that the Florida discovery of ACPs in 1998 and HLB in 2005 led to altered production practices. New practices include the use of IPCs and CUPS to exclude ACPs from trees in an effort to prevent HLB infection. Conclusions about pest management for trees in IPCs and CUPS included:
- IPCs and CUPS protected citrus from ACP and HLB. However, other pests such as citrus leafminers (CLM), scales, thrips, mealybugs, armyworms and mites were detected inside IPCs and CUPS.
- Pest monitoring is critical for IPCs and CUPS. Visual observations, the tap method and yellow sticky cards were useful in the detection of ACP, CLM, scales, thrips and mites. CLM pheromone traps provided good information on CLM male activity.
- Parasitoids and small predators such as mites that attack pest mites and insect pests were detected in CUPS.
- Sprays of insecticides and miticides suppressed pests and beneficial mites but did not prevent pest populations from increasing.
Qureshi’s presentation was hosted by multi-county citrus Extension agent Mongi Zekri, who echoed Qureshi’s emphasis on the importance of pest scouting. “Scouting should become a standard procedure” for growers, Zekri said.
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