SS-AGR-145 Biological Control with Insects: The Melaleuca Psyllid1 Paul D. Pratt, Susan A. Wineriter, Ted D. Center, F. Allen Dray, and Vernon V. Vandiver, Jr.2 1. This document is SS AGR 145, one of a series of the Agronomy Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Published: May 2002. Visit the EDIS Web Site at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu. 2. Paul D. Pratt, Research Entomologist, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Invasive Plant Research Laboratory, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314; Susan A. Wineriter, Senior Biologist, Department of Entomology and Nematology, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32605; Ted D. Center, Research Entomologist, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Invasive Plant Research Laboratory, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314; F. Allen Dray, Ecologist, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Invasive Plant Research Laboratory, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314; and Vernon V. Vandiver, Associate Professor and Extension Aquatic Weeds Specialist, Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611. The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, color, sex, age, handicap, or national origin. For information on obtaining other extension publications, contact your county Cooperative Extension Service office. Florida Cooperative Extension Service/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences/University of Florida/Christine Taylor Waddill, Dean. (Boreioglycaspis melaleucae, Hemiptera: Psyllidae) Host: Melaleuca quinquenervia (Cav.) S.T. Blake (Myrtaceae) Boreioglycaspis melaleucae is an Australian sap-sucking insect in the bug family Psyllidae. It was imported into Florida to help control Melaleuca trees that are invading the Everglades and surrounding ecosystems. Initial releases occurred during early Spring 2002, so it is too early to determine whether persistent populations have become established at field sites. Field-reared adults have been recovered, which is encouraging. The melaleuca psyllid has 5 nymphal instars. Early instars crawl about the leaves, but later instars are more sessile unless disturbed. Nymphs produce copious amounts of honeydew and also exude waxy filaments from glands located on their dorsum. These filaments form a dense white covering that may partially conceal later instars and facilitate locating colonies in the field. When viewing with the naked eye, adult psyllids are unadorned, small insects about 3mm long and pale yellow-orange to white in color. Adults can be observed jumping between leaves and plants. They live about 3 weeks. Females lay an average of 80 eggs during their lifetime. Each egg has a spine-like projection near one end, which the female inserts into the plant tissue. Nymphs begin hatching approximately 18 days after oviposition and there is no evidence that egg development is delayed when conditions are unfavorable. Total developmental time from egg to adult is about 42 days. The entire life cycle of the melaleuca psyllid is completed on the tree, which suggest this insect can persist under permanently-flooded conditions, unlike the melaleuca weevil, which must complete its life cycle in the soil. Both adults and nymphs feed on melaleuca, but damage is attributed mostly to the nymphs. Tender, expanding buds and leaves as well as mature older leaves are destroyed by nymphs. When populations are large, damage may extend to stems that appear somewhat woody. Saplings under heavy attack in the laboratory eventually wilt and die.