An entomologist with UF/IFAS advises citrus growers to focus on grove borders to reduce psyllid control costs.
Florida citrus growers routinely spray their citrus groves, targeting the Asian citrus psyllid, a tiny insect that is the vector for citrus greening, also called HLB. It’s a management strategy with a high price tag. However, according to a Citrus Industry article, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) entomologist Lukasz Stelinski maintains that concentrating efforts at grove borders can cut costs and have a great impact. He shared his insights at the recent Florida Citrus Growers’ Institute in Avon Park in early April. See the details below.
Psyllid Control Efforts at Grove Borders
Stelinski maintained that focusing the majority of psyllid control efforts at grove borders is a good strategy because it’s where psyllids are found. “Psyllids are found in borders in much greater frequencies than any other place within the grove. This is a place that they congregate … Anything that helps protect the border will decrease (psyllid control) costs and have significant impact on psyllid populations,” he said.
Options for controlling psyllids include spraying with insecticides, use of kaolin clay, and installing living windbreaks at new grove borders, according to the article. It also cited Stelinski as saying studies have shown “nearly equivalent psyllid population densities with border sprays compared to whole-grove sprays during times of the year when trees were not flushing.”
Whole-grove sprays cannot be eliminated altogether in favor of borders sprays, but whole-grove sprays can be reduced, saving costs.
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