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Avocado Lace Bug

2008 Research

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.

We are evaluating systemic insecticides for the management of current and newly emerging pests of California avocados. Studies are being conducted in commercial avocado groves, under normal agronomic practices. Trees are treated using a variety of techniques – soil application and trunk injection – to establish the methods that will provide the best uptake of insecticide for the protection of the trees.

2007 Research

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).

We are evaluating systemic insecticides for the management of current and newly emerging pests of California avocados. Studies are being conducted in commercial avocado groves, under normal agronomic practices. Trees are treated using a variety of techniques – soil application, trunk injection – to establish the methods that will provide the best uptake of insecticide for the protection of the trees. Our primary research focus is on the avocado thrips and the avocado lace bug. Despite its recent introduction, the avocado thrips is already an established pest of avocados in California.

2006 Research

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.

Insecticides are an important component of pest management in California avocado groves. In this study, we are evaluating the efficacy of systemic neonicotinoid insecticides against an established pest, the avocado thrips, and a newly introduced pest, the avocado lace bug. The potential benefits to the industry from the use of neonicotinoids are numerous. This class of insecticide has a novel mode of action, thereby minimizing the risk of cross-resistance between the neonicotinoids and those chemicals currently being used for avocado pest management.

2005 Research

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.

Insecticides are an important component of pest management in California avocado groves. Our research is aimed at optimizing the use of available products, and evaluating new compounds that might overcome some of the difficulties encountered by growers with available products. In this study, we are evaluating the efficacy of two systemic neonicotinoid insecticides (Admire Pro® and Platinum®) against an established pest, the avocado thrips (AT), and a newly introduced pest, the avocado lace bug (ALB). The potential benefits to the industry from the use of neonicotinoids are numerous.

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