Over the period 23-25 January 2011 residential areas in Tijuana Mexico were surveyed for the presence of avocado trees, and when possible trees were inspected for arthropods associated with trees. Google Earth was used to pre-select six separate residential areas that showed high levels of greenery (i.e., parks, and well maintained residential gardens). In these six areas, 267 residential street blocks were surveyed. From these blocks, a total of 634 properties were inspected from the road. The percentage of street blocks with avocados in pre-selected sections of Tijuana ranged from 23% to 45% of blocks having at least one tree. A total of 80 avocado trees were found from these surveys. Of surveyed properties, 10% or 64 properties had at least one avocado tree. The number of avocados per property ranged from 1 to 5 trees. The GPS coordinates were recorded for each tree and when possible foliage was inspected for avocado pests.
As fast as possible, we hope to be able to suggest sustainable solutions for Avocado Lace Bug (ALB) management that are derived from sound scientific research. One emphasis is chemical control. A second emphasis is biological control based strategies that could assist in controlling ALB field populations, thereby reducing source populations that might spread into uninfested areas. There is currently no active research on ALB in the U. S. other than ours and activities overseas are limited.
As fast as possible, we hope to be able to suggest sustainable management solutions to the ALB problem that are derived from sound scientific research. Because it may take some time to register new chemicals for ALB control, much of our initial emphasis will be on biological control based strategies which could assist in controlling ALB field populations, thereby reducing the source populations that will spread into uninfested areas. Such an approach may reduce the speed at which ALB spreads in California and subsequent crop loses. There is currently no active research on ALB in the U. S.
The avocado lace bug (ALB), Pseudacysta perseae (Heidemann) (Fig.1), was discovered in September 2004 feeding on backyard avocado trees in San Diego County. The ALB is known from Florida, the Caribbean and Mexico. ALB adults and nymphs feed in colonies on the undersides of leaves (Fig. 2A). Feeding damage results in necrotic brown spots that can lead to defoliation and reduced fruit yields (no direct damage to fruit) (Fig. 2B). Heavily infested avocado trees in San Diego County have a severely scorched appearance (Fig. 2C).
This research project will be ending October 31, 2008 and we are on schedule to accomplish all of the major goals laid out for the project. Although the avocado lace bug (ALB) has not spread into commercial avocado orchards in California, we could not have predicted ahead of time that this would not happen and it is possible a more virulent strain might be introduced into California at some point in the future. In some areas of the world, ALB is a very serious pest on avocados.
To manage foliage and fruit damaging thrips it is imperative to determine how widespread and abundant N. burungae is in comparison to S. perseae. Field surveys undertaken to delineate the range inhabited by N. burungae, its abundance in comparison to S. perseae, and its seasonal phenology will greatly aid understanding when assessing the potential pestiferousness of this new invader.
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