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Management of California Red Scale , #1 Pest of Citrus in the San Joaquin Valley

The Issue

In lost production and fruit quality, California red scale infestations cause major economic losses to citrus growers. Historically, management of this pest centered on pesticide applications, with timing based on visual examination of the trees. The expense of the spray was a major part of a grower's total production cost. Pesticide used for this one pest was a major component of the total pesticide load applied to citrus in Tulare County.

What Has ANR Done?

Working as a team, Neil O'Connell, Citrus Farm Advisor in Tulare Co. and Dr. Gregory Walker, Associate Professor of Entomology at UC Riverside, conducted a three-year field trial at the UC Lindcove Research and Extension Center. Weather stations and traps for the insect were established at multiple sites on the station. Sequential sprays were applied in spring and summer, with timing based upon temperature and the development of the insect. The results, evaluated by counting surviving scale on leaves, twigs and fruit, were immediately delivered to growers in the spring and fall citrus meetings and by newsletter.

The Payoff

Window of opportunity now used by the citrus industry to time spray treatments.

Application of these results by growers and pest control consultants (PCA's) has (1) significantly increased efficiency of spray applications, (2)lowered grower costs for managing the pest and (3)substantially reduced the amount of pesticides applied on citrus in Tulare County.


Supporting Unit: Tulare County

Neil O’Connell
Farm Advisor
UCCE Tulare County