Avocado is one of the most profitable crops due to how well valued its fruits are today. However, as with many crops that have been exploited for some time, a whole series of insects and pests have appeared that have learned to take advantage of this tree.
If you want to learn what are the main pests and diseases of avocado and how to prevent their appearance, keep reading us in this article where you will find a guide with practical information and photos.
Pests are usually insects that attack and damage the plant in various ways, although sometimes they can also be larger animals, such as small rodents. These are the most common avocado pests :
These small, soft-bodied winged insects usually appear in spring. They pierce the surface layer of the leaves and drink their juices from them, causing them to dry up due to the large number of attacks suffered. Due to their small size they can be difficult to identify, although the brownish tint the leaves take on when they should not be dried is an important clue. Sometimes they also attack the fruit, damaging its appearance and making it unsuitable for marketing.
Mealybugs sometimes appear on avocado crops, resulting in a nuisance that sometimes needs action. The black or white scales of this type of insect occur occasionally in older avocado trees, but there have been no serious cases of infections in young trees. The cottony mealybug appears rarely, but is unlikely to cause serious infestations.
It is one of the most common pests to find in areas with avocado crops. It is a small arachnid with a reddish color that is positioned on the leaves of the plant, from which it sucks the juices and sap. Because of its attack, the leaves turn brown and can fall. Its size is very small, but when the infestation is severe, it produces cobwebs that are very easy to identify with which it passes from one plant to another or that it uses to move between branches.
To finish mentioning the main pests of avocado, we focus on the seed weevil, which is harmful both as an adult and as a larva. These parasites are very dangerous and can affect up to 80% of the production of a crop, so producing countries take serious measures to protect themselves from infested seeds. The larva enters the fruit, making its way through the pulp, to then reach the bone, on which it feeds.
Like pests, there are also various diseases and fungi that can affect our crops. These are the main avocado diseases :
It has its origin in the fungus Colletotrichum gloesporoides . It is a disease that appears especially in young shoots, fruits, flowers and branches, causing depressed black spots and wounds that end up rotting. Appears in conditions of excess humidity.
Caused by the fungus Sphaceloma persea, which attacks the stems, leaves and fruits of the avocado tree. The leaves turn a sickly brown color, and circular lesions, brown and slightly depressed, can be seen on the fruit. Although the damage is only superficial, the appearance of the fruit is damaged and it is no longer suitable for commercialization.
This is one of the avocado diseases that affects the roots of the plant, causing the upper branches to dry out and the leaves to lose their green tone and photosynthesis capacity. The fruits become small and the tree may end up dying.
When a fruit is affected, a ring-shaped lesion can be seen above the point of union of the fruit with the peduncle. It is a very serious problem, because it can cause a large number of fruits to fall prematurely, causing great losses.
How to prevent avocado pests and diseases in an ecological way
Many of the avocado diseases are caused by fungi that appear when there is excess humidity or poor drainage in the soils, so it is especially important to keep the soils loose and well drained and, above all, not to over-water .
In the case of pests, thrips can be controlled by adding nicotine solutions to irrigation, or with sulfur and lime solutions. As for the mealybugs, these are easy to control with a whole series of ecological insecticides that can be made at home.