The Asian citrus psyllid has been a concern to Texas citrus producers for the last two years. This pest has caused crop devastation in Florida and California, causing severe economic losses from diseased crops. The pest causes a disease called Huanglongbing (citrus greening). Branches of citrus trees affected by Huanglongbing turn yellow, distort the fruit and prevent it from ripening, and then attack the canopy and root system, causing death. Texas has been lucky, with less than a handful of sightings in the Rio Grande Valley. It was able to detect and quarantine the infected trees quickly, preventing mass destruction of citrus crops in the area.
And Texas might even have a silver bullet if this new biological control strategy works-- importing a special wasp from Pakistan. The wasp lays its eggs under the psyllid and the egg larvae feed off the psyllid, killing it. Labs in South Texas are cultivating the wasp and deploying it to the citrus trees of volunteer private citizens, hoping to essentially create a barrier to commercial crops. The wasp cannot be released into commercial crops due to the use of pesticides, which will kill the wasp. Read the full story from CBS.
Texas A&M has also put out a list of controls for the pest, including chemical and organic treatments.
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