Explore the pests that could affect the possible Florida Olive industry in the future.
Homeowners have been growing olives in Florida for over 100 years, and many in Florida ag are looking into the possibilities for establishing a Florida Olive Industry for a commercial crop in The Sunshine State. One UF/IFAS researcher is looking into the potential pests that may affect Florida olives, according to a Vegetable and Specialty Crop News (VSCNews) article. See details below.
Potential Pests for Florida Olive Industry
Eleanor Phillips, an entomology and nematology graduate student at the University of Florida (UF), is conducting research into the different types of insects found on Florida olive plants, both beneficial bugs and pests. Working in the lab of Jennifer Gillett-Kaufman, Phillips is working on plants the are three to five years old, courtesy of Florida growers.
The potential pests for Florida olive growers include:
- Hornworms. These moth caterpillars damage olive tree leaves.
- Olive Shootworms. Another caterpillar, this one is also a defoliator, damaging leaves. They also create webs that damage leaves as well.
- Black Scale. Sucking nutrients from olive plants, scale insects weaken plants and make way for disease and fungus.
- Olive Fruit Fly. This destructive pest has not yet been detected in Florida, but Phillips is using special fly traps to monitor for it.
Phillips maintained that there are also beneficial insects to be found on Florida olive plants, creating a balance. She shared that the best method for staying on top of pests on olive plants is to constantly monitor the plants.
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