Philippines Fulbright Scholar Finds Lady Bugs Will Control Florida Red Scale Pest Insects
A Fulbright Scholar from the Philippines has found that lady beetles will attack and control the Florida red scale, a pest insect that damages the peel on Florida’s signature citrus crop.
Jessamyn Adorada, Ph.D., a research scholar who completed a Fulbright assignment for advanced research at the University of Florida’s Indian River Research and Education Center (IRREC), said she had devoted her career to the study of lady beetle taxonomy, beetles that have the capability to be biological control agents against pests that damage crops.
“I study lady beetle taxonomy in the Philippines. I am here in Florida to help control the Florida red scale insect on citrus through biological control,” said Adorada. “Releasing lady beetles and other biocontrol agents like parasitoid wasps in a citrus grove where the Florida red scale is attacking the tree leaves, and fruit is an effective way to stop the red scales from damaging the citrus.”
Adorada was accepted for study at the UF research location in Fort Pierce by former IRREC entomologist Jawwad Qureshi, a citrus entomologist for UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (Qureshi is based at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center in Immokalee). Qureshi continues to supervise a graduate student and visiting scholars at IRREC.
Adorada’s contribution to knowledge of the lady beetles present in Florida citrus groves enhances the body of scientific research that aims to sustain Florida’s legendary citrus crop.
“We found the red scale on young shoots and leaves of citrus trees,” said Adorada. “Large populations of these piercing-sucking insects will often stunt the growth of seedlings and deform fruits and leaves. We found that there is a potential for other species of other species observed, such as Curinus, in addition to lady beetles, which feed on the scales.”
Adorada said the lady beetles remove armor that covers the red scale and feed on the insect underneath.”
Adorada will return to the Philippines and continue her role as an assistant professor of entomology at the University of the Philippines and lady beetle curator at the University of the Philippines Los Banos Museum of Natural History. Adorada’s work as a taxonomist helps to identify beetles and to determine if the insects’ names are still valid, she said.
Adorada earned a Ph.D., and both master’s and bachelor’s degrees in Entomology, all at the University of the Philippines. Her doctoral and master’s studies involved the taxonomy Coccinellidae, or lady beetles, under the supervision of Museum Curator, Victor Gapud. Her bachelor’s degree was specific to morphometrics of bamboo aphids, under the supervision of Venus Caliburg, who holds a doctorate in aphidology.