Viruses Might Help As Biocontrol on Asian Citrus Psyllids (Growing America)

Viruses Might Help As Biocontrol on Asian Citrus Psyllids

University of Florida scientists are working toward establishing a new biological method that may help farmers control the insect that transmits the deadly greening disease into citrus trees. Greening is present in about 95 percent of the citrus trees in Florida, so by using a virus that may kill the insect, growers may be able to reduce the need for pesticides.

Instead of spraying insecticides, scientists hope to harness the natural enemies of the tiny Asian citrus psyllid to manage the invasive pest, said Ozgur Batuman, a plant pathologist at the UF/IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center in Immokalee.

Batuman is leading a UF/IFAS research team investigating viruses that live in the digestive system of the psyllid. They want to see whether any of them can weaken or kill the insect.  

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