Agonoscena pistaciae

Agonoscena pistaciae Burckhardt and Lauterer

[This species has sometimes been confused with Agonoscena targionii (Lichtenstein), which also lives on pistachio, and similar control modes may be applied].

Common name: Common pistachio psylla.

Systematic position: Insecta, Hemimetabola, Hemiptera, Sternorrhyncha, Psylloidea, Psyllidae.

Host plants: Pistachio (Pistacia vera L.).

Geographic distribution: Eastern Mediterranean countries, Greece, Iran. Iraq, Armenia, and Turkmenia.

Morphology: The body of adults is dark yellow, sometimes with black patches, about 3 mm in length. The Nymphs are yellowish.

Life history: Overwintered adults appear on pistachio in mid-March and lay eggs in mid-April, producing 5–6 annual generations. They raise large colonies on leaves in the upper and middle strata of the tree canopy, less on the lower parts, and its populations are denser on mature, dark green leaves and on sunny leaves as compared to young, light or shady green leaves. The calculated threshold for development was calculated to be at around 10.00°C, and approximately 333.3 day degrees are required to complete a life cycle.

Economic importance: Agonoscena pistaciae is a major pest of Pistacia vera in Turkey. Both adults and immatures suck the plant sap, which reduces growth, causes bud drop and interferes with kernel development, resulting in defoliation, fruit drop and yield reductions. In addition, the psyllid produces much honeydew that is later colonized by sootymold. The pest affects yields in the current as well as in the two subsequent years, causing severe economic losses. Economic injury levels were estimated to be 7.7-30.7 nymphal days/terminal leaflet, based on the weight of 1000 nuts. This value varies as a function of market values, management costs, insecticide efficiency and rates of yield loss.


Monitoring: Yellow sticky traps that are placed around the upper parts of tree stems attract and thus catch most psyllids.

Chemical control: The chemical control of this pest is difficult due to its tendency to develop resistance to pesticides, as a result of being exposedd to 5-6 annual sprays. Chemicals used include organophosphates, pyrethroids, imidacloprid and insect growth regulators. Sprays with kaolin-based particle film provided better results for 2 years than insecticidal treatments and the sprayed trees were healthier and more vigorous than the controls. Also, an extract of Viola odorata L. (Violaceae) had a distinct toxic effect on the pest.

Biological control: Two Anthocoridae, namely Anthocoris nemoralis (Fabricius) and Anthocoris minki Dohrn are efficient predators of A. pistaciae. In turkey A. minki reduced populations of the pest nymphs by 51% nine days after a second release and by 82% three weeks after a third release. Another major natural enemy is the endoparasitoid Psyllaephagus pistaciae Ferrière (Encyrtidae), which further reduces pest numbers by host feeding. Several Coccinellidae likewise feed on the pest, as does the chrysopid Chrysoperla carnea.


Amirzade, N., Izadi, H., Jalali, M.A. and Zohdi, H. 2014. Evaluation of three neonicotinoid insecticides against the common pistachio psylla, Agonoscena pistaciae, and its natural enemies. Journal of Insect Science 6, 14:35.

Hassani, M.R., Arbab, A., Izadi, H. and Nouri-Ganbalani, G. 2011. Estimations of the critical temperatures for development of the pistachio psylla, Agonoscena pistaciae (Hemiptera: Psyllidae). European Journal of Entomology 108: 403–407.

Hassani, M.R., Nouri-Ganbalani, G., Izadi, H., Shojai, M. and Basirat, M. 2009. Economic injury level of the psyllid, Agonoscena pistaciae, on Pistachio, Pistacia vera cv. Ohadi. Journal of Insect Science 9: 40.

Lababidi, M.S. 1997. Impaction-sticky colour traps: An environmental-friendly technology for pistachio psyllid control in Syria. Arab Journal of Plant Protection 15: 57-64 (in Arabic with an English Abstract).

Mehrnejad, M.R. and Emami, S.Y. 2005. Parasitoids associated with the common pistachio psylla, Agonoscena pistaciae, in Iran. Biological Control 32: 385–390

Razavi, S.H. Mahdian, K. 2015. Evaluation of the toxicity of Viola odorata extract and spirotetramat pesticide on the Agonoscena pistaciae (Hemiptera: Psyllidea). Journal of Entomology and Zoology Studies 3: 110-114

Saour, G. 2005. Efficacy of kaolin particle film and selected synthetic insecticides against pistachio psyllid Agonoscena targionii (Homoptera: Psyllidae) infestation. Crop Protection 24: 711-717.

Souliotes, C, Markoyiannaki-Printziou, D. and Lefkaditis, F. 2002. The problems and prospects of integrated control of Agonoscena pistaciae Burck. and Laut. (Hom., Sternorrhyncha) in Greece. Journal of Applied Entomology 126: 384-388.

Yanik, E. and Unlu, L. 2015. Initial study of rearing and release of Anthocoris minki Dohrn (Hemiptera: Anthocoridae) for biological control of Agonoscena pistaciae Burckhardt and Lauterer (Hemiptera: Psyllidae) in pistachio orchards. Agriculture & Forestry 61: 347-358.