Huanglongbing (HLB or citrus greening) is a bacteria spread by a tiny insect called the Asian Citrus Psyllid. The disease turns fruit bitter and eventually kills the tree. There is no cure.
First detected in Florida in 2005, citrus greening is now found in every commercial citrus-producing county in the state. It is the biggest threat the Florida Citrus industry has ever faced, causing production to plummet in recent years.
Citrus greening can be traced back to the 1800s in Asia and has caused devastation in a number of countries. It was discovered in Brazil in 2004.
Early symptoms of citrus greening include yellowing veins on leaves. New root growth is often suppressed and fruit are often small and may drop from the tree prematurely.
Researchers are working on techniques to battle citrus greening and discover a cure. Current efforts include using heat therapy (thermotherapy) to kill the bacteria at the roots and use of nutrition to keep the tree healthy.
For more information on HLB, visit the University of Florida’s Citrus and Research Education center website, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and the FDOC newsroom.