Alert in Castellon after the detection of “Pseudococcus longispinus” in citrus orchards
Pseudococcus longispinus, known as the long-tailed cochineal, is not an unknown species in the Valencian Community. In fact, the Institut Valencià d’Investigacions Agràries (IVIA) warned in a recent study that this cotonet is the main species of Pseudococcidae that affects the cultivation of persimmon; that is why the Ministry of Agriculture included it in the aid it recently launched to counter the effects of South African cotonet in the autonomous domain, in this case to help persimmon growers.
Thus, we are concerned about its detection in a citrus orchard located in the town of Nules. Until now it had not been detected in the province of Castellon, where it had been confused with another cotonet.
The fear is that even if Pseudococcus longispinus does not deform the fruit like the insect arriving from South Africa does, it could cause black spots on the fruit at harvest time, rendering the fruit unsaleable. Thus, the four local associations (Vila-real, Nules, la Ribera and Camp de Túria) have reiterated the need to obtain exceptional authorization from the Ministry of Agriculture to use methyl chlorpyrifos to treat trees, now that they are in full bloom. Especially after the Ministry, in its own aid order, acknowledged that biological control has not yet been effective in preventing the dispersal and allocation of South African cotonet.
Independent citrus growers fear a rapid expansion of the detected cotonet, since it does not need sexual reproduction for its reproduction, and only one parent can produce new individuals.
A time bomb
Thus, after verifying its development in persimmons, the entities expect significant damage to citrus crops. “It can be a ticking time bomb for the pockets of citrus growers,” the Nules association said.