Wee little insect threatening Florida's citrus bounty

by

comment

Typical Asian citrus psyllid. Photo by Michael Rogers.
  • Typical Asian citrus psyllid. Photo by Michael Rogers.

Typical Asian citrus psyllid. Photo by Michael Rogers.

Well, now we understand why the Florida Citrus Commission is trying to reboot Captain Citrus - our citrus industry is teetering on the brink thanks to a weensy insect known as the Asian citrus psyllid. Experts say the little bugger feeds on citrus leaves, depositing a powerful nutrient-destroying bacteria as they munch that has no known cure. Agriculture heads are seeking aid from the federal government in eliminating this psyllid and fear if help doesn't arrive soon enough, oranges might be a thing of the past.

That sounds a little panicky, but no citrus experts are we. However, there is no reason not to be optimistic. If William C. Gorgas could manage to wipe out yellow fever-transmitting mosquitos during construction of the Panama Canal in the early 1900s, then America can surely crush the Asian citrus psyllid in present day.

And if we can't, just think of how cool we'll sound when we're describing orange juice to our great grandkids. "You could mix it with vodka and make something called a Screwdriver!"

Tags

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.