When the invasive avocado lace bug was first spotted in Hawaii, farmers were quite worried. However, intensive collaboration provided a path forward, and the path followed might aid to combat other threats.
The lace bug was first identified on Oahu at the end of 2019, and has since spread to Maui and the Big Island. The small bug can have a big impact, sucking nutrients out of avocado leaves and leaving the tree unable to bear fruit.
The avocado lace bug is just the latest in a long line of invasive pests threatening local food production. It’s estimated red fire ants cost the state more than $2 million a year and fruit fly infestations cost farmers almost $300 million a year. Hawaii has almost as many invasive species as the other 49 states combined.
At a recent live-taping of Civil Beat’s Hawaii Grown podcast, Uyeda and Glenn Martinez, a Waimanalo farmer and pest expert, talked about different solutions to help farmers tackle pests and took questions from the audience about the growing threat.