Economically, Huanglongbing (HLB) puts at risk America's entire citrus crop, worth $3.15 billion in the 2012-2013 growing season. The economic damage HLB has caused in Florida alone is alarming. According to University of Florida research, the disease cost the State more than $4.5 billion in lost citrus production and led to more than 8,200 lost jobs from the 2006/07 to 2010/11 production seasons. Since the initial detection of HLB in Florida in 2005, the disease has affected the vast majority of Florida's citrus-producing areas.
In addition to Florida, HLB has been detected in Georgia, Louisiana, and South Carolina, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In 2012, it was detected in small areas in Texas and in one residential citrus tree in California. The disease has been found in 14 states in Mexico and is a constant threat to citrus in Texas, California, and Arizona.
HLB, also known as citrus greening, is named for the green, misshapen, and bitter-tasting fruit it causes. While the disease poses no danger to humans or animals, it has devastated millions of acres of citrus crops throughout the United States and abroad. The citrus disease is primarily spread by the gnat-sized Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) insect and can affect any variety of citrus trees. It is a bacterial disease transmitted from infected to healthy plants by the ACP or the grafting of infected tissues onto healthy host plants. HLB spreads internally throughout the plant. Other than tree removal, there is no effective control once a tree is infected. Currently, there is no known cure for the disease.
A total of 15 States or Territories are under full or partial quarantine due to the detected presence of the ACP: Alabama, American Samoa, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas and the U.S. Virgin Islands.