Avocado Lace Bug Present in Commercial Groves

  • Oct 12, 2017

On October 5, 2017, the California Avocado Commission (CAC) was alerted to a possible infestation of avocado lace bug (ALB; Pseudacysta perseae) in commercial avocado groves in Oceanside and De Luz, San Diego County. Dr. Mark Hoddle, University of California Riverside Entomology Professor, confirmed the infestation on Monday October 9. During his survey, Dr. Hoddle found all life stages of ALB in groves in both locations, indicating a well-established, reproducing population.

ALB has been known to be established in southern San Diego County for about 15 years, but only on backyard avocado trees. It appears that this is the first infestation of this pest in commercial groves.

CAC is working with Dr. Hoddle to determine if the infestation in commercial groves is from the same population that was previously known in southern San Diego County, or is a new introduction. Current University of California Integrated Pest Management (UC IPM) guidelines recommend not controlling low populations. However, if the population now in commercial avocado groves is the same as the one that has existed in San Diego County for some time, it could indicate that low-level populations can remain quiescent and later become problematic. This could suggest that low populations should, in fact, be controlled to prevent future outbreaks.

CAC also is asking pest control advisors who work with avocado to be alert for this pest and report finds in commercial groves to Tim Spann (tspann@avocado.org), CAC’s research program director, so that we can assess the extent of the infestation in commercial groves.

According to the University of California’s Integrated Pest Management website, ALB is native to the Caribbean, Mexico and the southeastern United States. It is a pest for only some members of the Lauraceae (laurel family), including avocado, red bay (Persea borbonia) and camphor tree (Cinnamomum camphora).

For complete details on identification, life cycle and management, you are encouraged to visit the UC IPM ALB webpage.

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