A project in Southern California is researching methods of growing tamarixia which is a natural defense against the Asian citrus psyllid.
The Hanson Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Ventura County is looking at different ways to raise populations of tamarixia to help the fight against the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP). “We are working with an insectory in Santa Paula, this is a research project looking at an alternate host for raising tamarixia,” County Director Christopher Smith says. “So we are using pepper plants where the pepper psyllid is a host for raising the tamarixia as apposed to your typical ACP that USDA uses. We are creating a bio-control, putting netting around our greenhouse and getting started.”
Smith hopes the project will make growing tamarixia populations more common. “The intent is to grow them for Ventura County growers but then that information will become public and perhaps everyone can grow there own tamarixia,” Smith says. “It’s not just raising tamarixia, it will also look at the engineering part of collecting the bug. We will be looking at different ideas on how to collect tamarixa using lights and various sensors.”