MEXICALI, MEXICO – The deadly and incurable citrus tree disease Huanglongbing, also known as HLB or citrus greening disease, was detected 23 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border in a small citrus grove in Mexicali.
HLB kills citrus trees and has no cure. The disease is spread by a pest called the Asian citrus psyllid as it feeds on citrus tree leaves and stems. The HLB detection in Mexicali was in a single citrus tree, and a single Asian citrus psyllid tested positive for carrying the bacteria that causes the disease as well. Agriculture officials in Mexico are working quickly to survey the surrounding citrus trees, as a part of their ongoing efforts to protect Mexico citrus from this devastating plant disease through monitoring, removal of diseased trees and Asian citrus psyllid treatments.
In California, local and state agriculture officials are also monitoring citrus trees in the border region, placing insect traps, releasing a natural predator of the Asian citrus psyllid and conducting treatments to protect citrus trees from the pest.