Tamarixia radiata continue to be developed and released as a means to combat Asian citrus psyllids (ACP). David Morgan, program manager for the Biological Control Program at the California Department of Food and Agriculture, explained the progress the department has been making in the biocontrol program. “Last year we released just under four million insects in Southern California, and in total we’ve released over 12 million since we started doing releases and we’re increasing production all the time, so the future looks good.”
The Tamarixia program plays an important part in the overall biological control effort. Due to expense and public opinion, Morgan noted the department has discontinued insecticide programs in urban areas. That has allowed populations of beneficial insects to build up and contribute to the control of ACP.
“There are also other native insects that exist in California that predate on Asian citrus psyllid, and because we’re not applying insecticides there, they’re actually able to build up numbers,” said Morgan. “We’re looking at things like lacewings and spiders and hoverflies and ladybugs, and they build up numbers and they do their part in trying to control the Asian citrus psyllid.”