Santa Paula, California

Beneficial insects aid coastal avocado & lemon production

Associates Insectary from Santa Paula, California is a grower-owned cooperative that provides insects and pest control advisors to assist growers with integrated pest management strategies in the coastal systems. Insects are also shipped globally for similar IPM strategies.

Each year, in few unassuming buildings in Santa Paula, California, over 500 million beneficial insects are reared to beat back citrus mealybug infestations that threatened to wipe out the local citrus industry. The work that goes with these predators and tiny parasites has helped sustain commercial citrus in the region.

Brett Chandler, president, and general manager of Associates Insectary, says the cooperative has been successful in rearing Cryptolaemus montrouzieri beetles, a generalist predatory beetle, to help control the citrus mealybug and other insects in coastal lemons and avocados for about a century.

As reported on¸ citrus growers struggling with California red scale can also benefit from Aphytis melinus wasps reared by the facility.

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