Jul 14, 2022 - News

Research suggests wildflowers could help citrus groves

A photo negative of a postcard for St. Petersburg, Florida, with men and women picking oranges pictured.
A photonegative of a postcard. Photo courtesy of the State Archives of Florida

Researchers are learning that planting Florida wildflowers in citrus groves can give rise to a whole host of bugs that are beneficial to the crop.

What's happening: Two years ago, researchers from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences planted buttonbush, coral honeysuckle and blanket flowers in the windbreaks between rows of citrus trees in two groves, at Lake Alfred and Monticello.

  • Then they began counting bugs monthly in those and other control groves with no wildflowers.

What they learned: They found more pollinators and pest-killing predatory arthropods β€” like ladybugs and spiders β€” in the groves with wildflowers, the university reported.

What's next: The study continues as researchers explore whether more mature and abundant flowers in the years to come will attract even more beneficial insects.

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