Bug Blog

Scientists And Parasitic Wasps Join Forces

Asian citrus psyllids are to blame for massive crop devastation that has already occurred in Florida, and is making its way to California. The psyllid spreads a bacterial infection to citrus crops, and researchers and agricultural officials in California are in a panic over the potential danger the psyllid poses to America’s primary source of citrus fruits.

In an effort to save California’s citrus crops, researchers are breeding massive amounts of a type parasitic wasp that hunts and destroys the disease carrying psyllid. The plan is basically to kill as many Asian citrus psyllids as possible before they devastate any more of California’s citrus groves.

The psyllids spread a crop damaging disease called “yellow dragon disease”. The disease prevents a tree from using its internal fluids properly, which results in only partially green fruit, and that is just one of the many symptoms caused by this disease. The damage is also referred to as “citrus greening”.

Since the disease became prevalent to the citrus trees of Florida in 2005, citrus greening has now occurred in Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. So far no signs of citrus greening have been documented in California, except for one single case. However, the psyllids arrived in California recently and have already invaded forty seven square miles of land. Hopefully the plan to kill the psyllids by using crazed wasps works, otherwise we may live in an American with no orange juice because of bugs.

Do you think that releasing the parasitic wasps so close to human environments could be potentially dangerous for humans?