If hurricanes and citrus canker were not enough, citrus fruit producers in Florida are struggling with yet another threat. A bacteria-causing disease originating from China called citrus greening has been found in southeast Florida and is spreading, says the state’s department of agriculture.
Since August, 175 cases have been discovered in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. Also known as huanglongbing, it is spread by a small, winged insect, the Asian citrus psyllid.
Although the disease is harmless to people, it can be devastating to the industry. An infected tree produces discoloured fruit with a bitter, medicinal taste. When another insect feeds on an infected tree, it becomes a disease carrier, making eradication difficult.