Aggregation patterns, sampling plan, and economic injury levels for the new citrus pest Delottococcus aberiae (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae).
Delottococcus aberiae De Lotto (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) is the latest exotic mealybug species introduced in citrus in the Mediterranean basin. It causes severe distortion and size reduction on developing fruits. Due to its first interaction with citrus, D. aberiae economic thresholds are still unknown for this crop and the current Integrated Pest Management programs have been disrupted. The objectives of this study were to determine the aggregation patterns of D. aberiae in citrus, develop an efficient sampling plan to assess its population density, and calculate its Economic and Economic Environmental Injury Levels (EIL and EEIL, respectively). Twelve and 19 orchards were sampled in 2014 and 2015, respectively. At each orchard, population densities were monitored fortnightly in leaves, twigs, and fruit, and fruit damage was determined at harvest. Our results showed a clumped aggregation of D. aberiae in all organs with no significant differences between generations on fruit. Fruit damage at harvest was strongly correlated with fruit occupation in spring. Based on these results and using chlorpyrifos as the insecticide of reference, the EIL and EEIL were calculated as 7.1 and 12.1% of occupied fruit in spring, respectively. With all this, we recommend sampling 275 fruits using a binomial sampling method or alternatively, 140 fruits with an enumerative method bimonthly between petal fall and July.