A UF/IFAS study proves that infrequent spraying results in poor psyllid control.


Florida citrus growers have been fighting citrus greening since it was first detected in 2005 in a south Florida grove. Trying to reduce the number of Asian citrus psyllid, the tiny insect that spreads citrus greening from tree to tree, has been one of the main methods citrus growers are using to try to contain the disease. Asian citrus psyllids were in Florida prior to citrus greening, but psyllid control only became an important issue with the introduction of citrus greening, also known as HLB. A recent study by UF/IFAS researchers, shared in a Citrus Industry Magazine online article, proves that intermittent sprayings offer ineffective psyllid control. See the details of the study below.

Psyllid Control Study Details


University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) entomologist, Kirsten Pelz-Stelinski, shared the details of the study. They compared the psyllid populations in four citrus groves that utilize various levels of psyllid control. According to Pelz-Stelinski, the groves were:

  • Abandoned groves.
  • Intermittently managed (groves), which we considered to be five or fewer insecticide sprays per year.
  • Organically managed groves,
  • Conventionally managed groves, which we considered to be those that had between nine and 12 insecticide sprays per year.

Psyllid Control Study Results


The results showed what you would think: groves with more insecticide sprays per year as a means of psyllid control had fewer psyllids. Pelz-Stelinski said “what we found is that those (groves) that were managed intermittently, so they were only receiving about five sprays per year, had the greatest abundance of psyllids. And so those populations, we feel, are rebounding and not being managed effectively by those insecticide treatments. So, consistent, continuous management had the greatest reduction in psyllid densities and had the most effective control.”

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