California towns fear arrival of citrus greening disease now threatening Florida’s orange industry

HLB yellow dragon citrus greening disease has infected orchards in Florida and around the world devastating the citrus crops. Credit: Kansas State University

It may be only a matter of time until a deadly and incurable citrus disease sweeps through Ventura County’s agricultural fields.

Huanglongbing is a bacterial disease that’s fatal to citrus trees and transmitted by the Asian citrus psyllid, a small flying insect. Although fruit from infected trees takes on a green hue, which is why the ailment is also known as citrus greening disease, an infected tree can take six or seven years to show symptoms.

The disease, which has been found in residential areas of Riverside County and Orange County [California], has had Ventura County growers concerned for several years. Although the disease has not been detected in Ventura County, the insect that carries it was found here in 2010 and has spread throughout the region since then.

Related article:  California advances ban on insecticide chlorpyrifos, claims 'politics' prevent EPA from acting


Agricultural workers have been monitoring the threat of the disease since it began spreading throughout Florida in 2005. That state’s citrus production fell by over 70 percent due to the epidemic. Florida’s agricultural industry lost billions in revenue, while thousands of workers lost their jobs.

Read full, original article: Farmers fear deadly citrus disease is already in county

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