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Anagyrus-System targets mealybug in Spanish citrus

05/05/2020 - To optimise control of mealybug Planococcus citri in Spanish citrus, Biobest recommends starting introductions of the parasitoid Anagyrus-System (Anagyrus pseudococci) at the end of May to early June.

Causing chlorotic spots to develop on fruits, Planococcus citri also produces a sugary exudate where mould can develop staining leaves, branches and fruits further depreciating its commercial value.

“Chemical control of P. citri using contact insecticides is often ineffective, not least due to the pest’s waxy coating,” says Antonio Robledo, from Biobest’s R&D department.

Way forward

“Spanish citrus growers are therefore increasingly turning to biological solutions to control this potentially challenging pest. To achieve the best result relies on introducing the Anagyrus-System when the first pest colonies appear in spring.”  

Female Anagyrus pseudococci prefer to parasitise third-stage P. citri nymphs, causing them to swell and lose the white, waxy layer covering their bodies.  Within just two weeks of release, parasitised pest nymphs can be seen in the crop.

Optimising control

“The presence of ants in a citrus grove can negatively impact parasitism levels, as they fiercely defend P. citri colonies,” warns Antonio. Ants can also steal the Anagyrus mummies from the Anagyrus-System bottles. We therefore recommend hanging the bottles from tree branches using our special label to obstruct access by the ants.”

In situations where P. citri colonies are well established, ie highly populated, Antonio recommends further strengthening the control strategy with the introduction of a predator – Cryptolaemus-System (Cryptolaemus montouzieri) or Chrysopa-System (Chrysoperla carnea).

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