AgPro Magazine, April 2017

Citrus greening has completely changed Florida orange production

In the past 12 years, one pest has single-handedly tripled production costs and cut yields by 25% for the Florida citrus industry.

Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening, is a disease complex that uses the citrus tree as the host.  Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus is the specific bacterial pathogen, and the vector is the Asian citrus psyllid.  HLB was first found in Florida in 2005.  The first trees found infected with HLB were just west of Miami.  That left most in the industry to conclude the disease came through the Port of Miami.  The new disease showed up in the midst of another challenging battle that was underway.

“In 2005, our industry was in the middle of battling canker,” explains Andrew Meadows, communications director at Florida Citrus Mutual.  “When greening showed up, it was like a guy was stealing third while another player was stealing second.”