The Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP) has cut a wide swath of destruction in citrus crops across America since it was first detected in a backyard in Florida in 1998. This tiny (1/6-1/8" long) insect is the access point by which the deadly bacterium Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus enters the plants. Once the insect pierces the plant to feed, they are infected with the bacterium. It's not harmful to the insect, but it causes the fatal Huanglongbing (HLB) disease (also called "citrus greening" and "yellow dragon" disease) in all varieties of citrus and in closely related ornamentals of the Rutaceae family. In fact, it is believed to have been introduced and initially spread through nursery sales of one of these ornamentals, the Orange Jessamine (Murraya paniculata). The psyllids can distribute HLB widely during the 1-2 months of their lifetimes and lethally infect limitless numbers of trees. ACP can only spread HLB, by feeding on an infected tree; it is crucial that these pests be monitored and kept off trees.
There is no known cure for this disease; symptoms can take 1-2 years to appear and it can kill a tree in as little as 5 years. Should your tree become infected, there is no recourse except to remove it completely. The threat to citrus crops from this invasive insect is considered to be potentially an extinction level event. Closely monitoring of your citrus is essential to bring this plague under control. Should you discover the ACP on your citrus, it is imperative that you contact your local county extension office or neighborhood garden center. For help in locating your county extension office Click Here.
The Asian Citrus Psyllid feeds on the tiny new leaves (the "feather flush") as they sprout. You should check these leaves for insects as they emerge, or at the minimum of once a month. Luckily, there are several characteristics of this pest that are unlike any others:
- The ACP nymphs convert sap from the leaves into a sugary liquid (honeydew). To keep this waste product from their bodies, they form a tubule from their rear end. This tubule is waxy, white and twisty, with a bulb on one end – unique to ACP.
- The insects are about the size of an aphid and have brown bodies with a pointed front end, red eyes and short antennas. Their wings are a mottled brown with a white strip in the center that breaks up the pattern. This wing color is unlike other psyllids.
- As they feed, they hang themselves at a 45° angle on the leaf. This position is fairly easy to distinguish and no other citrus pest feeds like this.
- You may also find tiny, almond shaped, yellow-orange eggs in the folds of the new leaves, a spot the females favor for laying.
Do not allow yourself to unwittingly spread ACP. No matter how delicious they may be, be extremely cautious about who you share your citrus crops with. And never send any citrus out of the area you live in.
As part of your arsenal against the ACP, ant bait should be used around trees and bushes. Ants have a particular affinity for the nymphs' honeydew and will vigorously protect this food source, giving the psyllid an even stronger chance for survival. By keeping the ant army away, the psyllids are more vulnerable to predators and have fewer numbers to spread disease.
These traps are another tool in your arsenal. They can be used with or without the lures, but the capture rate will go up 4 times when used with the pheromones lure. These lures are good for 60-90 days. While they are made to withstand extreme weather and environmental conditions (including rain and sprinklers), minimizing exposure to direct sun will keep lures from drying out and help them last longer.
These sticky traps will most likely saturate with insects before the lure life ends. You have the option of using one lure per trap and changing out the lures once the trap is full or spacing lures between traps. The easy-to-twist dual wire hangers will keep your traps secure wherever you put them.
The MessyLess™ adhesive on these traps will not stick to your hands but will grip insects firmly. Unfortunately, some of these insects may be beneficials like ladybugs or green lacewings. While this is regrettable, it is still a better alternative than harmful insecticides or letting the ACP go unchecked.
Do not recycle traps. If you have found ACP, follow the instructions given to you by your local county extension as to how to handle the trap. At the very least, wrap trap entirely in plastic wrap before disposal.
Complete instructions in package are in English and Spanish.
It is believed that ACP are carried by the wind to the outside perimeter of orchards and work their way inward from there. For this reason, you should hang your traps around your trees on the side where prevailing winds come from (the windward side).
- Remove the lure from its bag.
- Place the lure on the sticky trap.
- Hang trap and lure about head high towards the outside of foliage and/or growing areas.
- Should you find ACP on your trees, contact your county extension office immediately.
Environment: For use in orchards, nurseries, backyards, garden; anywhere citrus is being grown.
Storage: Prior to deployment, extend lure shelf life by storing this package away from high heat. Long term, store in freezer or refrigerator.