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UC Riverside scientists release natural enemy of Asian citrus psyllid
Date:12/21/2011

RIVERSIDE, Calif. University of California, Riverside scientists released a natural enemy of the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) yesterday on campus to help control the spread of the psyllid, an invasive pest that could devastate the state's $1.1 billion citrus industry and citrus trees in home landscapes. This is the first time the psyllid's natural enemy has been released in California.

UC Riverside Executive Vice Chancellor Dallas Rabenstein and Mark Hoddle, the director of the Center for Invasive Species Research, released Tamarixia radiata tiny, stingless parasitic wasps that lay eggs in ACP nymphs in a citrus grove near the UCR Botanic Gardens. A total of 281 wasps (95 males and 186 females) were released.

Over the next several years, UCR and California Department of Agriculture Food and Agriculture (CDFA) scientists will raise thousands of Tamarixia for release throughout California. The Tamarixia larvae will eat the ACP nymphs, killing them, and emerge as adults about 12 days later. Adult female Tamarixia also eat other ACP nymphs, killing many in the process.

"This release of 281 Tamarixia is the first salvo against ACP in California," Hoddle said. "We anticipate that over the next year or so thousands of these parasitoids from Pakistan will be released throughout Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties and other areas as the pest continues to spread. Once Tamarixia establishes, it will move and find new populations of ACP to attack and kill."

Click here for video.

Hoddle, a biological control specialist in the Depart
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Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
iqbal@ucr.edu
951-827-6050
University of California - Riverside
Source:Eurekalert  

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