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Can Scientists (and Wasps) Save Orange Juice? [Slide Show and Video]

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PATH OF DESTRUCTION:

Tamarixia radiata wasps kill psyllids by laying eggs on the bellies of young psyllid nymphs. Once the wasp hatches, it eats the nymph from the outside in and then bursts out, leaving a nymph “husk” with a hole in it. ....[ More ]

FEEDING FRENZY:

Psyllid nymphs produce waxy honeydew as they feed on trees.....[ More ]

BRING IN THE WASPS:

As an invasive species, Asian citrus psyllids have few effective predators in the U.S.  so scientists traveled back to the psyllids’ homeland to find their natural enemies. Mark Hoddle, an entomologist at the University of California, Riverside, has imported tiny wasps known as Tamarixia radiata (pictured) from Pakistan to parasitize Asian citrus psyllids in California.....[ More ]

UNDER LOCK AND KEY:

Young nursery trees grow inside psyllid-proof screen houses at the University of California, Riverside. Because young trees are especially susceptible to huanglongbing, many of the ones destined for commercial orchards in the U.S.....[ More ]

OFF TO MARKET:

Freshly picked Valencia oranges waiting be hauled away and squeezed into juice. Boyd, president of McKinnon Corporation, says the disease has not diminished his yield but has raised his costs by 40 percent because of the need for more insecticide sprays and fertilizers.   ....[ More ]

THE DAMAGE:

A leaf shows the characteristic signs of huanglongbing: yellowing and asymmetrical mottling. Symmetrical mottling is usually a sign of nutritional deficiency, such as a lack of zinc.....[ More ]

DISEASE MANAGERS:

From left to right: Tim Willis, manager of the McKinnon Corporation, an orange grower in Winter Garden, Florida; Philip A. Stansly, professor of entomology at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences in Immokalee; and Maury Boyd, president of the McKinnon Corporation.....[ More ]

THE VECTOR AT WORK:

An Asian Citrus Psyllids feeding on a citrus tree. The pests sit with their behinds raised at a characteristic 45-degree angle.....[ More ]

THE VECTOR UP CLOSE:

An adult Asian citrus psyllid. The U.S. has many native psyllids, which are common sap-sucking insects that do not cause major plant damage. Asian citrus psyllids ( Diaphorina citri ) likely originated in South Asia and have become the major spreaders of huanglongbing around the world.....[ More ]

THE VECTOR:

A drawer of dried and mounted Asian citrus psyllids from the Florida State Collection of Arthropods.....[ More ]

THE DISCOVERER:

Susan Halbert, an entomologist for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry, was the first to record U.S. sightings of both the Asian citrus psyllid, in 1998, and huanglongbing in 2005.....[ More ]

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