HONOLULU (AP) – The state Department of Agriculture says it appears to be winning its biological war against the citrus blackfly. The department’s weapons of choice are two types of tiny wasps imported from Guatemala, which feed on the pest.
The citrus blackfly is considered the most injurious insect affecting citrus trees, because they can rapidly cause a tree to stop bearing fruit, the department said Wednesday.
The citrus blackfly first turned up on O’ahu in July 1996, and were detected a month later on Maui and the Big Island.
The wasps were released on O’ahu in April 1999, and current surveys found they are effectively controlling the citrus blackfly, the department said.
The wasps were also released on Kaua’i when the citrus blackfly turned up a few months ago on the Garden Island.
Heavy infestations of the citrus blackfly have been observed on the leaves of various citrus trees, such as lemon, lime, orange and tangerine. The department said it decided not to use insecticides because the detrimental effects they would have.