Drone Sprays for Psyllids Effective in Brazil

Josh McGillHLB Management, Psyllids, Technology

Using drones to apply chemical control for HLB-spreading psyllids in Brazil proved effective against adult insects, a Fundecitrus researcher reported. The researcher, Marcelo Miranda, said psyllid mortality was above 80% as a result of drone applications.


Miranda’s work was pioneering in 2021. There was no record of the use of drones for the chemical control of the psyllid in western citriculture. The use of drones plays an aggregating role in crop monitoring, soil mapping and input application.

According to studies carried out by Fundecitrus, drones for controlling the psyllid have the capacity to spray 60 to 80 hectares per day. Drones can also be used in the border strip regardless of the planting direction. Growers might also use drones for applications to specific plots, like those with higher populations of psyllids or areas that are difficult to access.

The annual Fundecitrus survey of the incidence of HLB indicates that the average incidence of the disease rose from 22.37% in 2021 to 24.42% in 2022 in the Brazilian citrus belt. This is a growth rate of 9.16%. Therefore, the situation requires more effort from citrus growers for more effective control.

“The drone represents another step toward maintaining the health and competitiveness of Brazilian citriculture,” Miranda said. “The technology is already validated. However, research is still ongoing, and expectations are promising for the sector.”

Miranda’s report was delivered during the 44th Citriculture Week/48th Expocitrus event in São Paulo. At that same gathering, Miranda received the Outstanding Citriculture Engineer-Agronomist Award. The Brazilian entomologist, whose main studies are related to HLB, has worked at Fundecitrus since 2008.

Fundecitrus is an association maintained by citrus growers and juice manufacturers from the state of São Paulo to foster the sustainable development of the citrus industry.

Source: Fundecitrus

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