A warmer climate and the development of pesticide resistance have led to an increase in the number of generations and higher population densities of California red scale, Aonidella aurantii (Maskell) in central California. Commercial citrus orchard studies were conducted to determine how effective mating disruption using CheckMate CRS was at reducing A. aurantii. In 2016–2017, two replicated trials were conducted in 15.0–15.5 ha orchards and in 2018 and 2019, one half of each of 10 orchards 8–16.2 ha in size were treated with CheckMate CRS. Mating disruption significantly suppressed male captures for up to 8 mo. Average reductions of 90% in cumulative male flight trap catches were recorded, twig and leaf infestations were reduced by 95%, and highly scale-infested fruit were reduced by 75% in the CheckMate CRS plots for the 2018 and 2019 trials. In seven of 12 sites the percentage of highly infested fruit was reduced below 0.5%. Leaf and twig infestations in August and reductions in male captures during the 4th flight were strongly related to the percentage of highly infested fruit at the end of the season and could be used as predictors of the success of mating disruption. The results of the study indicated mating disruption using CheckMate CRS can be an effective method to reduce California red scale populations throughout the 4+ generations that occur in central California. Mating disruption has the potential to reduce or eliminate pesticide applications, especially in low scale density situations.
California red scale