The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has prepared an environmental assessment (EA) to issue permits for the release of the insect Psyllaephagus euphyllurae to biologically control olive psyllid (Euphyllurae olivina) in the continental United States. Based on the environmental assessment and other relevant data, APHIS has reached a preliminary determination that the release of this control agent within the continental United States will not have a significant impact on the environment.
The proposed action is intended to reduce the severity of damage to olive crops from the invasive olive psyllid in the continental United States. The olive psyllid is native to southern Europe and was first detected in California in 2007. The pest feeds exclusively on the blossoms and growing tissue of olive plants and can diminish fruit production by as much as 60 percent in some parts of the Mediterranean Basin. Releasing P. euphyllurae will reduce olive psyllid’s presence in California. This small and stingless wasp poses no risk to humans, livestock, or wildlife. It feeds exclusively on the invasive olive psyllid. Biological control is a useful management strategy for an invasive pest whenever effective natural enemies are not present in an invasive insect’s new environment.
APHIS is making the environmental assessment available to the public for review and comment. All comments received on or before May 2, 2022 will be considered. To review the environmental assessment and make comments: Go to www.regulations.gov and enter APHIS-2022-0015 in the Search field.
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