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Can A Wasp Slow The Spread Of Destructive Citrus Disease?

Guy Davies, an inspector of the Florida Division of Plant Industry, shows an orange that is showing signs of "citrus greening" that is caused by the Asian citrus psyllid that carries the bacterium causing disease, "citrus greening" or huanglongbing, from tree to tree on May 13, 2013 in Fort Pierce, Florida. There is no known cure for the disease that forms when the insect deposits the bacterium on citrus trees causing the leaves on the tree to turn yellow the roots to decay and bitter fruits fall off the dying branches prematurely. Steps continue to be taken to try and combat the disease but none have stopped the attack on the citrus business as it spreads from Florida to other citrus producing states.  (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Guy Davies, an inspector of the Florida Division of Plant Industry, shows an orange that is showing signs of "citrus greening" that is caused by the Asian citrus psyllid that carries the bacterium causing disease, "citrus greening" or huanglongbing, from tree to tree on May 13, 2013 in Fort Pierce, Florida. There is no known cure for the disease that forms when the insect deposits the bacterium on citrus trees causing the leaves on the tree to turn yellow the roots to decay and bitter fruits fall off the dying branches prematurely. Steps continue to be taken to try and combat the disease but none have stopped the attack on the citrus business as it spreads from Florida to other citrus producing states. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Scientists are testing a parasitic wasp as a tool against the plant disease called citrus greening. Citrus greening is one of the biggest threats to the U.S. agricultural industry. In Florida, citrus growers say many as 80% of their trees are infected with citrus greening, which is caused by a tiny insect called the Asian citrus psyllid. Growers in other citrus-producing states, like Arizona, are trying to head off the destruction.

Amanda Solliday of KAWC joined researchers as they collect data on a wasp they hope will help slow the spread of the disease.

Read Amanda Solliday’s full coverage here.

Reporter

  • Amanda Solliday, reporter for KAWC and KJZZ Arizona science and innovation desk.

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