Asian Citrus Psyllid (Diaphorina citri)

Agricultural Disaster Preparedness and Recovery November 04, 2011 Print Friendly and PDF

Asian Citrus Psyllid

Diaphorina citri

Asian Citrus Psyllid
Photo by Michael E. Rogers

Asian citrus psyllid is a major pest of citrus, primarily because it transmits Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus bacteria, the causative agent for citrus greening (also known as huanglongbing or HLB). Feeding by Asian citrus psyllid causes leaf distortion (curling and notching). Copious amounts of honeydew are associated with heavy infestations.

Asian citrus psyllid adults are relatively small (3-4 mm), have mottled brown wings, and sit at an angle to the shoot or leaf on which they feed. Adults are quite active. The immature stage (nymph) is green or dull orange. The bright yellow eggs are found on "feather flush" and hatch in 2-4 days. Females may lay as many as 800 eggs. The five nymphal instars are completed within 11-15 days and the total life cycle can take 15-47 days, depending on temperature. Adults may live several months.

Management of citrus psyllid within citrus plantings is accomplished primarily with pesticides. Biological controls have been used in non-crop reservoirs.

In the United States, the Asian citrus psyllid has been found in Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Califonia, Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Citrus greening, perhaps the most serious citrus disease worldwide, now occurs in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The disease causes yellow shoots, mottled and misshapen leaves, twig dieback, and reduced fruit size and quality. The disease is called "citrus greening" because affected fruit fail to ripen. The United States Department of Agriculture has imposed restrictions on movement of citrus, cuttings, plant parts and products.

Additional information on Asian citrus psyllid including distribution, regulatory updates, management plans and selected Internet resources can be found at:

National Invasive Species Information Center

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.