Citrus greening disease is devastating the citrus industry in Florida, and the conventional synthetic pesticide applications used to control the vector, the Asian citrus psyllid (AsCP), Diaphorina citri, are rapidly becoming unsustainable. Various laboratory experiments indicate that the entomopathogenic fungus Cordyceps javanica, alone and in combination with horticultural oils, may offer a more sustainable strategy for the management of AsCP. Field studies conducted in 2018 and 2019 in mature citrus indicated that C. javanica alone, C. javanica mixed with white oil, and the chemical standard spinetoram mixed with white oil significantly suppressed AsCP adult populations by 61-83% up to 14 days after treatment in 2018, although colony-forming units of C. javanica were still present on the leaves 21 days after treatment (DAT). Only spinetoram + oil significantly suppressed AsCP, by 100%, up to 7 DAT in 2019. Natural enemies of AsCP, including lady beetles, lacewing larvae and the parasitoid Tamarixia radiata, were observed in the fungal treatments and the untreated control. The AsCP suppression by C. javanica and its compatibility with beneficial organisms suggest the potential use of this entomopathogenic fungus in citrus-integrated pest management.
Keywords: Isaria fumosorosea; citrus greening; entomopathogenic fungus; horticultural oils; insecticide; lady beetles; natural enemies.