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Chemical ecology of psyllids on carrot and eucalyptus: relevance to monitoring and control

Psyllids (Homoptera: Psylloidea) are widespread and serious pests on a large number of crops and trees.

The carrot psyllid, Trioza apicalis (Triozidae), is an important pest of carrot in Northern Europe, and in many areas it is the only pest of significance. If it is possible to alleviate the effects of this species, many growers may be expected to change to organic farming. Those who grow carrots for baby food production must, in principle, grow without chemical control agents in order to meet the requirements stipulated for residual products in baby food. We study the chemical ecology of the carrot psyllid in order to improve monitoring methods and possibly to develop strategies to reduce or control attacks. Since the carrot psyllid overwinters on conifers its sensory system has to handle the movement from carrots in autumn and to carrots in early summer. How it can do this is one of the puzzling questions to be answered in this project.

Carrot psyllid
Carrot Psyllid, Trioza apicalis. Photo: Magnus Jeppsson (Findus R&D).

The bluegum psyllid, Ctenarytaina eucalypti (Psyllidae), is native to Australia and feeds on bluegum, Eucalyptus globulus. It has been introduced to Europe and is now spread to many countries. We investigate what chemical cues this psyllid responds to electrophysiologically and what behaviour they may induce.

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