Citrus Aphids Control and What it Means For Honeybees

Aphids can be a common problem for citrus growers. There are sixteen aphid species all over the world known to feed off citrus regularly, with four other species known to have the occasional snack. Florida is home to four species of citrus-feeding aphids. These species are the cowpea aphid, the cotton (or melon) aphid, the spirea aphid and black citrus aphid.  This makes citrus aphids control a large priority for Floridian growers.

The spirea aphid is always green in color while the black citrus aphid is always black. Cotton aphids can be yellow, green or black; their colonies generally consist of a mixture of all colors.

Aphids damage citrus trees by feeding on the buds, as well as the underside of their leaves. This causes the leaves to curl in the direction of the stem. More dangerously, these aphids can spread the citrus tristeza virus. This disease has led to the death of millions of citrus trees in the past. This should make citrus aphids control a great concern to citrus farmers everywhere.

There is one problem, though. While it is imperative for the citrus industry tokeep citrus crops free of aphids and the citrus tristeza virus, the pesticides used are also killing honey bees. On January 6th of 2016, the United States federal government announced that the popular pesticide imidacloprid has the potential to kill honeybees who attempt to pollinate the sprayed plants. This can occur if the levels of pesticide absorbed by the plant are too high. While certain crops did not seem to absorb as much of the chemical (such as potatoes, for example), citrus and cotton absorbed the most, becoming a direct threat to the safety of the honeybees.

Due to a lack of suitable flowers, British honeybees have also been reported to be directly consuming sweet aphid secretions.  BBC has reported that “it’s hard to say for sure, but it does seem as if this behavior is becoming more common”.

Bees are necessary for the nation’s food supply. While they collect nectar and pollen, their furry bodies also collect a powdery, yellow substance as they pass. As a consequence of this, they contribute to the seed creation of more than 90% of crops.  The Minnesota bee population has reportedly been dwindling with additional“catastrophic declines” in bee populations reported around the world.

This puts farmers in a conundrum. It is imperative for them to perform proper citrus tree pest control, but they must also protect the honeybee. Thanks to Sunbelt Research II, bee-friendly citrus aphids control has never been easier.

Sunbelt’s citrus tree bug spray is 100% environmentally friendly and composed of a vegetable oil and sulfur base that creates an inhospitable environment for pests. In addition to this, the Citrus Spray Solution (C.S.S.) is also completely safe for bees, with the ability to be sprayed on to plants up to blossoming.

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