Levy Extension Hosts Tamarixia Distribution

“I’m so excited” exclaimed Dottie H. upon receiving her vial containing 50 Tamarixia radiata, a biocontrol agent of the Asian citrus psyllid. “They are tiny,” observed B. Sims, whose husband had viewed a news story on tamarixia distribution. Psyllid, meet your match!

50 gnat-sized wasp arrive in plastic vials.
Vials contain honey coated paper towel to sustain Tamarixia radiata. They should be released as soon as possible.

Today’s event drew folks from Chiefland, Gulf Hammock, Yankeetown and Williston. As a result, more than two dozen Levy County residents received parasitic wasp. Because the Asian citrus psyllid is a carrier of the bacterium believed to cause citrus greening, hopes are that tamarixia will help control psyllid numbers in residential citrus.

“The tamarixia release program is one of several tools researchers and growers use to slow greening’s spread, including pesticides to kill the disease-causing bacteria and hydroponic systems to keep infected plants healthy.

But there’s no single solution to a complex problem like citrus greening. It’s infected nearly 100 percent of the state’s mature citrus trees,” said Steve Futch, a citrus agent at the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred. “Biocontrol methods usually operate as a ‘series of waves,’ ” he said; “when there are fewer pests, the parasite that hunts them starts to decline, too.

The chances of eradicating the psyllid and the infection with tamarixia are slim, he said — but it should work well in smaller, urban environments, where wasps can fly between citrus trees on different properties.” Excerpted from the Gainesville Sun and Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) website.

“During its lifetime, each female tamarixia is capable of killing over 500 Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) nymphs through a combination of egg-laying and feeding upon the ACP nymphs” states Christopher Kerr, Biological Scientist, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). Tamarixia distribution is in partnership with UF researchers, FDACS DPI and Levy County Extension with support from Levy County Board of County Commissioners. Vials are bulk shipped to Levy County Extension, Bronson. As a result, residents are urged to apply online. Click to learn more about Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP) and Huanglongbing (HLB). Along that line, common questions are; what kind of citrus can I grow in North Florida and when and how much fertilizer do citrus need? These fact sheets attempt to provide you with answers. All my best and
Happy Gardening!

Did You Know?
Since 2012, Nature Coast Master Gardeners report more than 12,900 volunteer hours. Valued at $232,200.
Nature Coast Master Gardeners have driven more than 130,000 miles on behalf of UF/IFAS Extension Levy County.
Nature Coast Master Gardener group has 37 active participants.


Posted: November 17, 2017

Category: Home Landscapes
Tags: Citizen Scientists, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Levy County

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