APHIS Accepts Comments on Updated Import Requirements for Fresh Citrus Fruit from Colombia

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is updating its import requirements for fresh sweet orange, grapefruit, mandarin, clementine, and tangerine fruit from Colombia. After careful analysis, APHIS scientists determined that the import requirements originally established for citrus fruit from Colombia are no longer sufficient and additional phytosanitary measures are necessary to safely import citrus fruit while protecting American agriculture.

Additional measures taken by growers, packers, and shippers will, in combination, minimize pest risks. These measures include limiting imports to commercial consignments only, requiring production sites to be registered and approved by Colombia’s national plant protection organization, fruit fly trapping in production areas, and standard packinghouse procedures. A phytosanitary certificate with an additional declaration stating the citrus fruit meets these conditions must accompany all shipments. Continue reading

Mexican fruit fly control needs citizen help to keep Texas citrus industry vibrant

by Kathleen Phillips, Texas A&M AgriLife

The success of the Texas citrus industry may hinge on a lot of variables, but a tiny fly and people with backyard citrus trees are high on the list.

Allowing fruit to linger on a tree provides a paradise for Mexican fruit flies by keeping their reproductive cycle in business, but that can slap a quarantine on citrus in the area and limit markets, according to Dr. Olufemi Alabi, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service plant pathologist in Weslaco. Continue reading

New citrus planting method stops bugs, yields additional benefits

by Kathleen Phillips, Texas A&M AgriLife

A planting design that outwitted a weevil in Texas citrus groves has yielded numerous other benefits for growers and brought better quality oranges and grapefruits to consumers, experts say.

Enter the Diaprepes root weevil in 2000. The insect was found to be chewing up Texas citrus tree roots underground, then busting through the soil and up the tree to feast on leaves. Researchers began looking for a way to disrupt the weevil’s path. Continue reading

Rio Grande Valley citrus growers vote whether to pool resources for pest management

by Rod Santa Ana, Texas AgriLife Extension

Rio Grande Valley citrus growers will vote this month on whether to pool their resources to battle invasive pests and diseases.

Brad Cowan, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent in Hidalgo County, said growers will vote on setting up a management zone, approving a maximum assessment rate and electing growers to a board that will represent the management zone. Continue reading