The citrus leaf miner (CLM), Phyllocnistis citrella Stainton, a gracillariid moth, has established and spread rapidly throughout the citrus-growing areas of Florida. Ultimately, a variety of pest management tactics will have to be employed to manage the CLM, including cultural, chemical and biological controls. Relying solely on chemical control is expensive and unlikely to be feasible for very long because this pest can develop resistance to pesticides. Biological control by parasites already present in Florida may provide some control (J. Pena, UF-IFAS, Homestead and P. Stansly, UF-IFAS, Immokalee, personal communications). However, it seems unlikely that the generalist parasites already present in Florida will provide adequate control of the CLM.
Classical biological control, which involves the importation and establishment of host-specific parasites, could provide substantial control of the CLM. Classical biological control efforts in the last three years by Australian scientists have resulted in the establishment of three species of parasites against CLM. While only recently established, these parasites are producing high rates of parasitization (up to 80-90%) in some sites. These parasite species were obtained from China and Thailand and evaluated in Australia for host specificity before being released there.
M. A. Hoy and R. Nguyen,
University of Florida, IFAS, Entomology and Nematology Department