Control Citrus Thrips to Protect Fruit Quality, Premiums

Beautiful citrus ready for harvest

The telltale ring scarring on navel oranges and other citrus is the work of citrus thrips, Scirtothrips citri, a pest that can have a major economic impact on fresh-market crops. Controlling citrus thrips is essential to protecting fruit quality and the accompanying price premium.

With citrus thrips, second-instar larvae do the most damage, feeding mainly under young fruit sepals, explains Scott Chase, retail account manager, DuPont Crop Protection. “As the fruit grows, the damage moves outward, creating the familiar ring-shaped scarring. Fruit is most susceptible to thrips damage after petal fall until it’s about 1½ inches in diameter.”

That’s why a control treatment made at petal fall is most effective. “Citrus growers have a recently introduced option,” says Chase. “DuPont™ Exirel® insect control powered by Cyazypyr® provides a unique mode of action against citrus thrips, as well as a cross spectrum of sucking and chewing pests, including aphids, Asian citrus psyllid and citrus leafminer,” he says.

“Exirel® protects foliage and fruit from insect feeding, so trees can produce a healthier, better looking crop.”

Used at a rate of 16 to 20.5 fluid ounces per acre plus adjuvant, Exirel® stops insect feeding fast. “It moves into leaves and redistributes as leaves expand for long-lasting control,” says Chase. “Exirel® also provides selective control of pests that feed on the plant tissue without disrupting most beneficial populations.”

More Marketable Fruit

Tree foliage and young fruit are often heavily damaged by citrus thrips, and it is fruit damage that cuts into profits. “Effective control of citrus thrips is important in achieving blemish-free fruit, and the fresh market is all about producing great-looking fruit with consumer appeal,” says Chase.

Field trials in Visalia, California, groves show that navel orange trees that received two applications of Exirel® (at petal fall and summer flush) produced about 20 percent more unscarred fruit than other treatments. Similar results were seen in Mandarin trials. (Data is on file, WEM-08-022).

While healthy trees can withstand the foliar damage from citrus thrips, the damage impacts the tree’s productivity, notes Chase. “Because Exirel® protects developing foliage as well as the fruit, the result is healthier, stronger trees that produce consistently better yield and quality.”

The EPA registered label contains the statement that DuPont Exirel® is highly toxic to bees exposed to direct treatment on blooming crops or weeds. Do not apply this product or allow it to drift to blooming crops or weeds if bees are foraging in the treatment area.


DuPont Exirel® is not available in all states. See your local DuPont sales representative or retailer for details on availability.