Jawwad Qureshi, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Entomology

Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

2023 Awardee

Jawwad Qureshi works in the heart of one of Florida’s citrus-producing regions at the UF/IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center in Immokalee. He sees, and helps, commercial growers fight the Asian citrus psyllid, the pin-sized insect that injects a devastating disease into citrus trees.

When Qureshi joined the University of Florida in 2006 as a research assistant professor, he jumped at the chance to help control the pest that transmits citrus greening disease.

Greening, or Huanglongbing, is the most vexing disease facing Florida citrus growers and threatens the state’s iconic, $10 billion-a-year crop.

Qureshi uses integrated pest management to help farmers control the psyllid. His use of organic and integrated pest management has helped preserve the populations of beneficial insects, the environment and human health.

Among the methods he studies and implements are biological, chemical and cultural pest control, including ultraviolet light, reflective mulches, Individual Protective Covers (IPCs) and Citrus Under Protective Systems (CUPS), all of which Qureshi has found can help control the psyllid in commercial citrus groves. With IPCs, mesh covers are placed on individual citrus trees to keep psyllids away. CUPS cover a larger area of trees, with the same impact.

Qureshi also has developed a combined method of winter insecticide spraying and selective use of additional sprays during the growing season. His use of dormant sprays is so effective that the National Research Council recommended its use statewide. The “tap sampling method” Qureshi developed for monitoring psyllids and other arthropods is also used widely. 

As Qureshi says, “reducing one spray saves the industry millions, considering the acreage planted in Florida.”

All these applied research results have led to reduced populations of psyllids on citrus trees, which translates to less disease pressure on plants and improved fruit yield. 

Growers are now using Qureshi’s proven methods to minimize the damage caused by the psyllids.

“I have determined and demonstrated the effectiveness of these systems against multiple pests of citrus — particularly the psyllid — as well as roles of biological and chemical controls in these production systems,” Qureshi said. 

Qureshi’s work on integrated pest management has not only produced data growers can use. It has resulted in more than 30 peer-reviewed journal publications from 2018-2022.