Integrated Pest Management Programs for Pear Psylla, Cacopsylla pyricola (Förster) (Hemiptera: Psyllidae), Using Kaolin Clay and Reflective Plastic Mulch

Reflective mulch plot

Pear psylla, Cacopsylla pyricola (Förster) (Hemiptera: Psyllidae), is the most economically important pest of pears grown in Washington State. Standard conventional management programs involve season-long broad-spectrum insecticide sprays. Although the industry uses some tools that are not disruptive to biological control, such as kaolin clay and selective insecticides, they are additions to broad-spectrum insecticides instead of replacements. Conventional sprays suppress pear psylla through the spring and early summer; however, disruption of biological control leads to pear psylla outbreaks near harvest. In 2018 and 2019, we tested two season-long programs that used only selective approaches. The programs began with either kaolin clay or reflective plastic mulch and were followed by identical spray programs using only selective insecticides. Programs were compared with an industry standard conventional program that used numerous broad-spectrum insecticides throughout the season, and a check program with no insecticides for pear psylla. Experiments were conducted using replicated 40-tree plots in a research orchard near Wenatchee, WA with high pear psylla pressure. In both years, selective programs had similar pear psylla densities to the industry standard program and all had lower pear psylla densities and fruit injury than the check. Both selective programs had lower fruit injury than the industry standard in the first year, and similar injury to the industry standard in the second year. Our results suggest kaolin clay and reflective mulch can effectively suppress pear psylla populations and injury in the early season and support season-long selective management programs without the use of broad-spectrum insecticides.