UF/IFAS scientists attest that, even though citrus greening is endemic, psyllid sprayings are still beneficial.
Once citrus greening was detected in Florida, the push was towards psyllid sprayings to control the insect that spreads citrus greening, the Asian citrus psyllid. Now that citrus greening is endemic—or found everywhere—in Florida orange groves, some growers have been pulling back on psyllid sprayings, according to an article on CitrusIndustry.net. However, scientists with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) maintain that spraying to target the Asian citrus psyllid is still important. Read the details below.
Psyllid Sprayings Still Important
According to the article, growers have been cutting back on psyllid sprayings for numerous reasons, such as to save money and “make room in their production budgets for bactericides, nutrition programs and other measures to cope with HLB and maintain tree health,” in addition to cutting back under the assumption that controlling psyllid populations is not as important as it once was.
However, spraying for psyllids is still important. UF/IFAS entomologist Lukasz Stelinski is quoted in the article as saying ““The data we have to date would suggest that knocking the psyllids back under a situation of endemic HLB seems to be quite beneficial.” He shared that keeping psyllid populations as low as possible translates to keeping the bacteria that causes citrus greening “at a surprisingly low level,” according to the article.
Recommendations for spraying for psyllids have changed, mainly with experts calling for less “calendar sprayings” and more sprayings that follow leaf flushes.
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