Two UF/IFAS researchers share best practices when it comes to Asian citrus psyllid management for Florida citrus growers.

Psyllid management is on the forefront of most Florida citrus grower’s strategies for combating citrus greening. However, it can seem like trying to “remove the sand from a beach” according to a Growing Produce article written by Lukasz L. Stelinski, a UF/IFAS professor, and UF/IFAS assistant professor Jawwad A. Qureshi. The pair share recommendations on managing psyllids in the grove. See the recommendations below.

Psyllid Management Recommendations

Stelinski and Qureshi recommend the following practices in managing psyllids:

Take advantage of low psyllid numbers during the winter cold period. Since psyllids need a tree’s flush to lay eggs and nourish nymphs, spraying during the winter cold period of January and February is one of the best time to target psyllids when their numbers are already low. The recommendation is to treat the grove with one or two winter-season insecticide sprays using those in the “3A (pyrethroids) and 1B (organophosphates) mode of action (MOA) groups.”

Rotate five different modes of action in sequence. According to the article, using the same modes of action (MOA) between even two applications can create psyllid resistance to insecticides, but rotating between five different MOAs “can prevent the problem entirely.” The researchers recommend growers dealing with neonicotinoid resistance to spray in the following manner:

1) pyrethoid

2) organophosphate

3) diamide

4) insect growth regulator

5) butanolide and 6) neonicotinoid

Spray when psyllids are at or above 0.2 psyllids per sampling tap. The article maintains “The basic tenet of integrated pest management is to apply a control measure only when the benefit of doing so exceeds the cost,” and that research currently suggests the .2 psyllids per sampling tap is the current threshold.

Utilize biological controls. The article maintains that reducing sprays that can also target biological control agents, spraying at crop borders, planting windbreaks at grove borders, utilizing individual protective covers on replants at grove borders and laying down UV-reflective mulch fabric below replant seedings can all help minimize psyllid populations.

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