Psyllid identification key to area-wide control of citrus greening spread

November 03, 2010

At least six psyllid species have been found in the citrus-growing areas of the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist who is working to control the spread of the psyllid-transmitted citrus greening disease.

A few years ago, citrus growers in south Texas noticed a new insect, the Asian citrus psyllid, on their citrus trees. This was a cause for concern, because this tiny pest is responsible for transmitting citrus greening, also known as Huanglongbing (HLB). The disease was first detected in Florida in 2005 and now poses a significant threat to the entire U.S. citrus industry.

Entomologist Donald Thomas with the Agricultural Research Service's (ARS) Kika de la Garza Subtropical Agricultural Research Center in Weslaco, Texas, has been monitoring psyllid populations in south Texas over the past year. ARS is the principal intramural scientific research agency of the USDA, and this research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.

With help from colleagues in Texas and Florida, Thomas has identified at least six psyllid species present in south Texas citrus groves. Some are native to the Rio Grande Valley, but others, like the Asian citrus psyllid, are not. The scientists are examining the life cycles of the six species to determine which of them can spread HLB. This will help scientists target certain species for control measures.

Thomas found that during the winter, psyllids live on torchwood, persimmon, mesquite and other trees that surround citrus groves. According to Thomas, the psyllids don't seem to be reproducing on these trees, but further testing to determine this is under way. Thomas also found abundant populations of psyllids in abandoned citrus groves and in urban areas where citrus trees are planted in backyards, indicating the need to develop management tools for use in these areas.

Thomas has presented his findings at the 2008 International Research Conference on Huanglongbing and the 2009 annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America.
Read more about this research in the November/December 2010 issue of Agricultural Research magazine, available online at:

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

United States Department of Agriculture - Research, Education and Economics

Related Agriculture Articles from Brightsurf:

Post-pandemic brave new world of agriculture
Recent events have shown how vulnerable the meat processing industry is to COVID-19.

Agriculture - a climate villain? Maybe not!
The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claims that agriculture is one of the main sources of greenhouse gases, and is thus by many observers considered as a climate villain.

Digital agriculture paves the road to agricultural sustainability
In a study published in Nature Sustainability, researchers outline how to develop a more sustainable land management system through data collection and stakeholder buy-in.

Comparisons of organic and conventional agriculture need to be better, say researchers
The environmental effects of agriculture and food are hotly debated.

EU agriculture not viable for the future
The current reform proposals of the EU Commission on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) are unlikely to improve environmental protection, say researchers led by the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) and the University of Göttingen in the journal Science.

Global agriculture: Impending threats to biodiversity
A new study compares the effects of expansion vs. intensification of cropland use on global agricultural markets and biodiversity, and finds that the expansion strategy poses a particularly serious threat to biodiversity in the tropics.

A new vision for genomics in animal agriculture
Iowa State University animal scientists helped to form a blueprint to guide the next decade of animal genomics research.

New pathways for sustainable agriculture
Diversity beats monotony: a colourful patchwork of small, differently used plots can bring advantages to agriculture and nature.

The future of agriculture is computerized
Researchers at the MIT Media Lab Open Agriculture Initiative have used computer algorithms to determine the optimal growing conditions to improve basil plants' taste by maximizing the concentration of flavorful molecules known as volatile compounds.

When yesterday's agriculture feeds today's water pollution
Water quality is threatened by a long history of fertilizer use on land, Canadian scientists find.

Read More: Agriculture News and Agriculture Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to