Recent UF/IFAS research into kaolin particle films shows that it is effective in helping to control Asian citrus psyllids for Florida citrus growers.

Asian citrus psyllids are the vector that spreads citrus greening from tree to tree, so controlling the psyllium has been one avenue of research for stopping citrus greening. Recent research into kaolin particle films has shown them to be effective, according to a Citrus Industry article. See the details below.

Research into Kaolin Particle Films

UF/IFAS assistant professor Christopher Vincent presented the results of his research during the 2020 virtual Florida Citrus Industry Annual Conference. His research compared red and white kaolin particle films with foliar insecticides.

The particles of the kaolin clay coat the leaves of the citrus trees, reflecting light and hiding the green color of the leaves that attract psyllids, according to Vincent. Vincent’s research also showed that red-dyed kaolin is likely even more effective than white kaolin, even though the white kaolin is the only one available to growers.

Furthermore, the research showed that both kaolins “reduced ACP populations by more than 80 percent when compared to monthly foliar insecticide treatments,” according to the article. Additionally, the research also showed the kaolins increase tree growth, help trees maintain higher growth, and improve “leaf water status by reducing water loss and keeping leaf temperatures within an optimal range,” according to the article.

Drawbacks of the use of kaolin include it must be reapplied after rain, it does not coat leaves as well during really dry conditions, and it can interrupt beneficial insects. According to the article, researchers are looking for ways to solve these drawbacks.

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