Consumers Want Perfect Avocados: Growers Must Spray

Infected Avocados

Avocado Thrip Fruit Scarring

Historically, the production of avocados in California required little usage of insecticides. Avocado pests were kept under commercially acceptable control by a variety of beneficial organisms. This situation changed in 1996 with the appearance of avocado thrips which feed on the surface of the fruit. Feeding scars develop while the flesh of the fruit is a healthy green. Even partial fruit scarring results in downgrading of fruit in packinghouses because of cosmetic damage unacceptable to consumers .

“The California avocado industry is under increasing threat from the introduction of arthropod pests. The avocado thrips, was first detected in California avocado groves in June 1996, and it has since spread to most of the major production areas within the state where it has become the primary insect pest. The main source of economic loss arises from feeding damage that causes scarring of immature fruit, leading to a reduction in fruit quality at harvest.

In California avocado groves, the use of foliar insecticides is the predominant tactic adopted by growers for the management of arthropod pests, including the avocado thrips. Aerial applications by helicopter are needed for the majority of California avocado groves because most are grown on steep hillsides.”

Author: Byrne, F. J., et al.
Affiliation: University of California
Title: Field evaluation of systemic imidacloprid for the management of avocado thrips and avocado lace bug in California avocado groves.
Source: Pest Management Science. 2010. 66:1129-1136.

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