PPQ Delivers Tiny Wasps to Combat Spiking Asian Citrus Psyllid Populations

By Heather Curlett, APHIS PPQ

When Hurricane Maria thrashed the Caribbean island of Dominica last September, the storm killed dozens of people and devastated the country’s infrastructure. Adding to the misery, plant pest populations exploded after the storm passed. These insects included the Asian citrus psyllid, which spreads the citrus-killing disease Huanglongbing, also known as citrus greening. Because citrus is an economically important crop for the country, Dominica’s agriculture ministry reached out to USDA’s Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) program for help. Continue reading

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

USDA awards five grants to combat citrus greening

In Southwest Farm Press

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has awarded five grants to combat citrus greening disease. The funding is made through the emergency Citrus Disease Research and Extension Program (CDRE). CDRE was authorized as part of the 2014 Farm Bill.

“The need to advance research and extension to develop management strategies for huanglongbing (citrus greening disease) has reached a critical juncture,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “Severe damage to the Florida citrus crop from 2017 hurricanes further exacerbates the pressure on the industry and the need for new strategies to address the disease.” Continue reading

APHIS Expands the Citrus Greening (Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus) Quarantined Area in California

Effectively immediately, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), in cooperation with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the California citrus industry, is expanding the area quarantined for citrus greening (Huanglongbing) in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, and adding a quarantine area in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. APHIS is taking this action because of the positive detections of citrus greening in plant tissue samples collected in multiple locations.

APHIS is applying safeguarding measures on the interstate movement of regulated articles from the regulated areas in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties. These measures parallel the intrastate quarantine that the CDFA initiated on September 8. This action is necessary to prevent the spread of citrus greening to non-infested areas of the United States. Continue reading

Bayer joins forces with non-profit to fight citrus greening

In Southeast Farm Press

Bayer and the Citrus Research and Development Foundation, a non-profit organization in Florida supporting citrus growers, have signed a research collaboration agreement to find solutions to citrus greening disease, which currently threatens the global citrus production and juice industry.

Currently no effective treatment against the bacterium Candidatus liberibacter, the causal agent of citrus greening, is available. Under the long-term research agreement, Bayer will provide access to its disease control know-how and will coordinate public and private research to find novel solutions for citrus greening in Florida and beyond. CRDF is organizing the financing of this project, combining public funds with contributions from the citrus growers and the juice industry. The partnership is financially supported by PepsiCo and The Coca-Cola Company, two leaders in the juice industry. Continue reading

Citrus greening confirmed in Alabama

In Southeast Farm Press

by Cary Blake

The feared citrus disease Huanglongbing (HLB) – a.k.a. citrus greening – has been confirmed in Alabama, according to the state’s Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI).

HLB was found in leaf and insect samples from a residential property on Dauphin Island in Mobile County. Dauphin Island is a town located on a barrier island with the same name at the Gulf of Mexico. Continue reading

Citrus Disease Research and Extension (CDRE)

The Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) Citrus Disease Research and Extension Program (CDRE) is authorized in the Agricultural Act of 2014 (H.R. 2642) to award grants to eligible entities to conduct research and extension activities, technical assistance and development activities to: (a) combat citrus diseases and pests, both domestic and invasive and including huanglongbing and the Asian citrus psyllid, which pose imminent harm to United States citrus production and threaten the future viability of the citrus industry; and (b) provide support for the dissemination and commercialization of relevant information, techniques, and technologies discovered pursuant to research and extension activities funded through SCRI/CDRE and other research and extension projects targeting problems caused by citrus production diseases and invasive pests. Continue reading