ST. LUCIE CO., Fla. — The UF/IFAS – St. Lucie County Extension requests homeowners to join hands in fighting against the destructive citrus disease, huanglongbing (HLB) or better known as citrus greening. Extension staff members are coordinating with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), Division of Plant Industry for the release of Tamarixia radiata; a wasp known to control Asian citrus psyllid responsible for citrus greening in Florida.
Kate Rotindo, Master Gardener Coordinator and Urban Horticulture Agent, and Dr. Garima Kakkar, Fruits and Alternative Crops Agent, will be conducting a short educational program before residents pick up their wasps (T. radiata) provided by the FDACS for release from the St. Lucie Extension Office, located at 8400 Picos Road, Fort Pierce. Asian citrus psyllid and greening were first found in Florida in 1998 and 2005, respectively; and the disease has put the state’s citrus industry in serious danger. The psyllid acquires the bacteria when it feeds on bacteria-infected plants, and the disease spreads when a bacteria-laden psyllid flies to a healthy plant and injects the bacteria into it as it feeds. HLB causes dieback of foliage and roots, stunted growth, discoloration of leaves, distorted and bitter fruit and tree death in as little as five years. There is no known cure. The only way to protect trees and prevent the spread of HLB is by controlling psyllid populations and destroying infected trees.
If you are interested and would like to be part of the wasps release program, please take this brief survey for us to be able to know your interest. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact St. Lucie Extension Office 772-462-1660).
—UF/IFAS – St. Lucie County Extension
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