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Scout for Insects as Citrus Petal Fall Approaches

April 12, 2018
This agronomic image shows an Asian citrus psyllid.

Asian citrus psyllid

Spring ushers the beginning of petal fall and, as blossoms drop, insect infestation risk rises. Pests like spider mites, citrus thrips, leafminers and Asian citrus psyllid can invade orchards and cause significant fruit damage.

When looking for signs of these insects, keep the following in mind:

  • Spider mites: Spider mites feed on leaves, causing leaf stippling and yellowing, and can ultimately cause defoliation. High populations are characterized by a webbing that forms over leaves, twigs and fruit. If left uncontrolled, mites can reduce vegetative growth the following year and compromise long-term productivity.
  • Citrus thrips: During spring and summer, citrus thrips females lay about 25 eggs in new leaf tissue, young fruit or green twigs. Second-instar larvae do the most damage because they feed mainly under the sepals of young fruit and are larger than first instars. Fruit are most susceptible to scarring from shortly after petal fall until they are about 1.5” in diameter.
  • Leafminers: Citrus leafminer larvae feed by creating shallow tunnels, referred to as mines, in young leaves. Premature trees under the age of 4 may experience slowed growth under heavy infestations.
  • Asian citrus psyllid: Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) nymphs cause the most damage, feeding on new flush growth of citrus and closely related ornamentals, such as orange jasmine. However, the biggest threat posed by ACP is its ability to transmit the bacterium that causes citrus greening disease, also known as Huanglongbing (HLB). Citrus trees infected with HLB usually die within 5 years.

To combat these pests, Syngenta recommends the use of insecticides like Minecto® Pro, which offers broad-spectrum control of common citrus fruit pests from petal fall through first cover. Minecto Pro harnesses the power of 2 complementary active ingredients, cyantraniliprole and abamectin, to control overlapping pest populations.

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