Psocids in Strawberry
We are now finding yet another interesting insect in the strawberries; these have been around before but this year their numbers are remarkably high in some areas and as such worth some of our time to examine more fully.
See picture below of what Kirsten and I are looking at, these little guys, between 4 and 5 mm in length, are known as psocids (pronounced SO-sids). They are actually not flies in the order Diptera, but rather belong to another insect order entirely, that being Psocodea. As you can see from the picture below, their wings are membranous, the bodies shortened and the head features rather lengthy antennae.
These are pretty common, in fact Kirsten previous to the berry sample we are looking at here had just responded to a inquiry about these on citrus, and a while ago as well on an oak tree sample. As fungal feeders, psocids seem to be doing very well following our cool wet spring. Over-irrigation and/or low water infiltration into the soil can also provide good habitat for these insects.
The bottom line for growers is that psocids are not considered a plant pest and just a nuisance in high numbers. Consequently, there are no UC IPM guidelines to attach here.
Close up of two psocids, note long sweeping antenna and distinctly marked wings. Photo Mark Bolda