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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #325455

Research Project: Improved Biologically-Based Methods for Insect Pest Management of Crop Insect Pests

Location: Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research

Title: Disrupting psyllid mating to control HLB

item Mankin, Richard
item ROHDE, B. - University Of Florida
item MCNEILL, S. - Union College

Submitted to: Citrus Industry
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/8/2016
Publication Date: 4/1/2016
Citation: Mankin, R.W., Rohde, B., Mcneill, S. 2016. Disrupting psyllid mating to control HLB. Citrus Industry [serial online]. Available:

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) is the primary vector of the devastating huanglongbing (HLB) disease of citrus. Efficient monitoring of ACP at low population densities is essential to conduct management programs with timely effectiveness for protection of Florida groves. Extensive research is being conducted to better understand ACP biology and behavior, and to develop improved methods to reduce its populations. One relatively new approach to monitoring and managing this pest is to thwart its mating process. During courtship, ACP males search for females on branches and stems of citrus trees, broadcasting vibrational signals that elicit duetting replies from receptive females feeding sedentarily on tree flush. When a male detects a reply, he moves toward the female and calls again. Mating occurs after a series of duetting calls and replies during which the male searches and finds her. It is possible to construct an inexpensive trap to monitor males by using a microcontroller with signal detection software, a contact microphone to detect ACP calls and a piezoelectric buzzer to produce calls. The buzzer plays back a female reply when it detects a male call, which stimulates the male to search and be trapped. In considering ways to disrupt mating, we wondered if a synthetic mimic of a duetting female reply would be more attractive to the male than a replying female, especially if it was broadcast immediately before and at higher amplitude than her reply. A microcontroller platform was constructed that detected male mating communication vibrations and produced synthetic mimics of female replies. We report here on successful mating disruption lab tests and consider the implications for future control of ACP in Florida citrus groves. Our goal is to develop field-worthy systems that target ACP infestations and reduce their populations.