The Enemy is Outside: Releasing the Parasitoid Tamarixia radiata (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) in External Sources of HLB Inocula to Control the Asian Citrus Psyllid Diaphorina citri (Hemiptera: Liviidae).
Huanglongbing (HLB), the most destructive citrus disease worldwide, was first recorded in Brazil in 2004, and since then, more than 50 million trees identified with this disease have been eliminated. The disease is managed mainly by controlling the psyllid vector Diaphorina citri Kuwayama, 1908 (Hemiptera: Liviidae). Although the presence of the insect in commercial citrus groves is low, HLB infection rates increase in areas bordering the groves. The disease is transmitted by psyllids from host citrus plants in areas outside the managed groves, such as abandoned or organic groves and residential trees, and from orange jasmine plants in urban settings. In order to provide information to support HLB control, this study evaluated the biotic and abiotic variables that affect the dynamics of D. citri populations after releases of the parasitoid wasp Tamarixia radiata (Waterston, 1922) (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) in external sources of HLB inocula. The study was divided into two parts. After releasing the parasitoids in non-commercial areas, we determined the following: (a) the variables that significantly affected the number of nymphs collected on shoots in the same non-commercial area; (b) the variables that significantly affected the number of adult psyllids collected in a neighboring commercial citrus area. Our results indicated that the number of nymphs in external areas was affected only by the host plant and rainfall. However, periodic parasitoid releases significantly reduced the number of adult psyllids collected in the commercial area. The results indicate that the release of parasitoids in external sources of inocula has the potential to maximize actions for D. citri control, contributing to the reduction of psyllid populations in commercial areas. Consequently, this strategy may help to manage the disease infection without an increase in insecticide use.