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Growers to Learn About Pest Management at Citrus REC Workshop

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Citrus growers can learn more about managing Asian citrus psyllids and other pests in a workshop Jan. 8 at the University of Florida Citrus Research and Education Center.

The psyllid can transmit the bacteria associated with greening disease to citrus trees and has already caused severe damage to Florida’s multibillion dollar-a-year citrus industry.

Because some localized populations of psyllids have developed resistance to some insecticides, the UF/IFAS citrus entomology team has developed the program for Jan. 8 at CREC, 700 Experiment Station Road, Lake Alfred, Florida. The workshop will run from 10 a.m. to about 3 p.m.

“We’re conducting this workshop to help growers with their broader pest management needs,” said Lauren Diepenbrock, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of entomology at CREC, part of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

For years, scientists and growers have focused on eliminating or reducing Asian citrus psyllid populations through chemical management programs, Diepenbrock said. These programs largely kept other pests under control, aside from flare-ups of things like rust mites.

“But after years of intense management, psyllids are still a problem, and we now have several populations that have developed resistance to specific materials,” Diepenbrock said.

At the same time, promising breakthroughs in plant nutritional inputs are attracting growers to focus more of their management costs on maintaining and/or improving the health of their trees and therefore reducing the amount of management costs focused towards reducing psyllid populations, she said.

“With reduced psyllid management programs, there is a strong likelihood that ‘old pests,’ like aphids and scales, will increase in populations,” she said.

These pests were largely managed by natural enemies like lady beetles, parasitoid wasps, and parasitic fungi but we don’t know if any of those organisms have been able to persist in the region during this past decade of heavy management.

“So, with this workshop, we aim to prepare growers to recognize pests, their damage and to help them plan effective management strategies as management practices change over time,” Diepenbrock said.

The workshop will combine presentations by researchers and chances for hands-on learning to help growers identify pests other than the Asian citrus psyllid and how to manage them.

Scheduled topics and speakers are:

  • Current Citrus Pests: Identification and Seasonality; Lauren Diepenbrock, assistant professor of entomology, UF/IFAS CREC.
  • Psyllid Management Options and Challenges; Lukasz Stelinski, associate professor of entomology, UF/IFAS CREC.
  • Sampling and Thresholds for Management of Phytophagous Mites; Jawwad Qureshi, research associate professor of entomology, UF/IFAS Southwest Florida REC, Immokalee, Florida.
  • Mite Sampling and Basic Identification; Jawwad Qureshi, research associate professor of entomology, UF/IFAS Southwest Florida REC.
  • Grove Design; Xavier Martini, assistant professor entomology, UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center, Quincy, Florida.
  • Diaprepes Root Weevil IMP: Targeting the Soil-Borne Larvae, Larry Duncan, professor of entomology, UF/IFAS CREC.
  • Pests on the Horizon: Resurgences and Potential Future Concerns; Lauren Diepenbrock, assistant professor of entomology, UF/IFAS CREC.
  • Diaprepes Management: Life Stages, Entomopathogenic Nematode Demonstration and Weed Fabric for Larval Exclusion, Larry Duncan, professor of entomology, UF/IFAS CREC.

Click here to register. For more information, contact Jamie Burrow, jdyates@ufl.edu or 863-956-8648. Registration fee is $25 if received by Jan. 4; $30 after Jan. 4. Registration is limited to 50 participants.

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By: Brad Buck, 352-294-3303, bradbuck@ufl.edu

The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS works to bring science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents. Visit the UF/IFAS web site at ifas.ufl.edu and follow us on social media at @UF_IFAS.

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