Throughout the state of Florida, citrus greening is a major issue. This disease causes the decline and death of many citrus trees. The bacteria works to block the flow of nutrients and sugars as they flow down from the leaves towards the roots. This causes irregular leaf spotting, branch necrosis, irregular and low quality fruit, and eventually death. Once infected, there is little hope for the tree. However, a piece of the puzzle in controlling the disease may come from a wasp that targets the Asian Citrus Psyllid, the insect carrier of the bacterium.
Tamarixia radiata is a beneficial insect that feeds on Asian Citrus Psyllids as well laying eggs in the young pests. The idea is that they will feed and lower the amount of disease carriers and could be especially effective in urban areas as they move between trees throughout a neighborhood. This brings hope to slow the spread of the disease and along with other methods such as development of resistant varieties of citrus and pesticides.
Get Your Free Wasps
To help distribute these new warriors in the fight against citrus greening, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) offering Tamarixia wasps to the public. To request wasps for release, visit www.FreshFromFlorida.com/TRA. Also, for more information about citrus greening, visit http://www.crec.ifas.ufl.edu/extension/greening/index.shtml.