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Citrus pest found in Plaquemines Parish

August 26, 2009

Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said the Diaprepes root weevil (Diaprepes abbreviatus), a multi-crop pest, has been found in a commercial citrus grove south of Buras and appropriate actions have been initiated to control the insect.
Strain said the 400-tree orchard was quarantined in July and surveys were conducted in the area to determine the spread of the weevil. Additional evidence of Diaprepes weevil infestation was discovered in mid-August at a residential property within 100 yards of the original find.
The root weevil is already established in California, Texas and Florida.
Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry horticulture officials said feeding weevil larvae girdle citrus tree root systems which causes foliage discoloration, twig and branch dieback and ultimately tree death. Adults feed on foliage, creating notched leaf margins with a scalloped appearance.
Strain said the Diaprepes weevil has 270 reported host plants, including most ornamental plants commonly found in Louisiana landscapes. The weevil also attacks prominent state crops like sugarcane, sweet potatoes, cotton and corn.
LDAF officials have worked with LSU AgCenter personnel to devise an effective chemical treatment plan, which involves a root drench and spray, to contain and limit movement of the weevil. Natural control methods, such as nematodes, fungi and parasitic wasps, are not useful in Louisiana’s soil and climate.

Strain said treatment of infested areas will be mandatory to lift any state-imposed restrictions on properties where the weevil is detected.