Pear psylla: what it is and what damage it causes

Pear psylla: what it is and what damage it causes

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Plants such as laurel and boxwood strongly fear psylla which is not only there psylla of the pear tree and they are not the only living beings to do this because these insidious insects are also an enemy of the ants and flies that are eaten for meal, and also of man, of man who sees entire crops or gardens destroyed by their greed. The psylla is a parasite of plants, that is, it feeds on their backs, weakening them and often causing their death or severe deterioration. It sucks their lifeblood and at the same time produces a very sweet liquid with which it wants to lure its prey and then devour them.

Do not imagine a large insect, we are talking about a creature of maximum 3 millimeters, in adult form, with transparent wings which in winter has a dark body while in summer it sports an orange or light brown “outfit”.

As we will see shortly, the psylla of the pear tree it hits the plants from different parts, both on the daughters and on the shoots and fruits, causing a general weakening. The consequences are various, from the drying of twigs and leaves to damage to the fruit.

Psylla del pear: what it is

Small but capable of doing various damages, the pear psylla bears the scientific name of Cacopsylla pyri and belongs to the family of the Psylids, to the suborder of the Homoptera. It is called an insect phytophagus and can cause serious damage, serious infections and even death to the tree it attacks.

The psylla of the pear tree has a body that can also take some bluish shades but she always wears transparent wings and when she is not yet an adult she looks very different from the definitive one. In fact, it assumes a flattened shape and a yellow-orange color, as well as being practically wrapped in a sort of protection based on honeydew, a very sugary substance that we also find around eggs.

Let's see better how it behaves. At the end of winter it is under the tree bark where it is protected and in early spring the females begin to lay eggs which as soon as the buds open, they also close. The newborns feed on the sprouts of the plant and cover them with honeydew, creating double damage because they also attract other hungry insects. The reproduction rate of this insect is quite rapid, so much so that within 12 months, even five generations of adults can follow.

Other plants affected by psylla

As stated, psylla affects not only the pear tree but also other plants such as boxwood, for example, carrot, albizzia and laurel.

The one that attacks the boxwood only attacks the plants of Buxus sempervirens, the only one who is unable to defend itself. It has a greyish green or yellowish brown body and is smaller than that of the pear tree, measuring only 3 mm. The eggs are consequently very small and oval, with an orange exterior. The rate of reproduction is slow, only one generation per year is encountered, which is born around March-April.

There psylla of laurel it does not have the same colors but can be both greenish and tawny orange but also light brown and it measures even less: 2 mm. Its eggs are still oval but tending to yellow, when young it is flat and oval and gray-yellowish. It can even reach 4 generations a year and appears in spring, to feed on the edge of the young leaves.

There psylla of albizzia it appeared for the first time in Italy in 2001, starting from Piedmont and spreading throughout the Po Valley, but it comes from afar, fromFar East. It is a Homopter that completes several generations a year, the eggs are laid in June on the leaves and then the larvae are born which immediately begin to do damage by sucking the sap of the plant.

What damage does psylla do

Given its method of nourishment, you will have understood that the damage is considerable, on the pear tree but also on the other plants that are equally devoured by this insect. However, there is a big difference: only on the pear tree can it actually damage fruit production while in all other cases the damage caused by the psylla is almost exclusively of an aesthetic type.

For the pear tree, the main damages are due to the subtraction of the sap, the deformation of the leaves, the lack of fruit, the spread of the honeydew. All this can also lead to the death of the plant itself if we fail to intervene in time. There are two different types of damage, direct and indirect. The first are vegetative arrest and necrosis, while the indirect ones are certainly no less serious and consist of asphyxiation and burns that result from the production of honeydew which attracts saprophytic fungi such as fumaggini, very dangerous because they compromise chlorophyll photosynthesis and all metabolism process.When a young psylla attacks a pear plant, it sucks sap from both shoots and leaves and branches and smears everything with honeydew, without making distinctions.

The boxwood psylla also does a lot of damage, especially on shoots that are struggling to develop, or on the leaves that remain deformed, assuming the shape of a cup. Even on the laurel, the effects are linked to the deformation of the leaves that roll up on themselves and lose color until they are filled with honeydew and then dry up. Similar effects can also be recorded onalbizzia which remains all "dirty" with honeydew and heavily weakened, so much so that it is unable to flower.

Psylla: prevention

To try to prevent attacks like the ones we have described, we can intervene in different ways. First of all we ventilate the foliage by pruning it and making sure that it is never too thick, also avoiding the creation of stagnation of humidity which favors the parasite.

We recommend avoid the use of insecticides with a broad spectrum of action and to start acting in prevention even before winter, eliminating all the dry or heavily brutalized parts of psylla infestations. On the other hand, when in spring the honeydew stains the foliage it is good to wash with water added to potassium salts and fatty acids.

How to fight psylla

After following all the instructions for prevention, we can also intervene with chemical insecticides. Among the most recommended are the chitin inhibitors and white oil, but they do not always have great effectiveness and in many cases it is necessary to ask for help from those based on pyrethrum such as Solabiol Piretro Actigreen Bio, which can also be purchased on Amazon and among the most useful for successfully fighting psylla.

Video: Integrated Pest Management (June 2022).


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  6. Tugal

    Just a nightmare.///

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