Termite Inspection Orange County Termite Terry Pest Control

Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, South Orange County, Long Beach Area

Florida’s Orange Production Takes A Huge Hit!

Florida’s production of oranges in 2022 will be at their lowest levels since World War II.

In October of 2021, the U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast that Florida citrus growers would produce 11% less oranges this season. That forecast has now been downgraded to a 16% reduction in harvested oranges. This is the second year in a row that they have reported significant drops in production. 95% of Florida oranges are used to produce about half of the orange juice that Americans drink. About half of our orange juice is now being imported from Brazil and Mexico.

Florida’s citrus growers are having to deal with a persistent disease that is infecting their citrus trees. This disease is “citrus greening” and it is caused by a tiny insect, called the Asian citrus psyllid (Diaphorina citri).

The disease arrived in Miami in 2005. Over the next 15 years, it rendered oranges from infected groves inedible, and has resulted in a 55% decline in production.

Citrus greening can kill a tree in as little as five years, and there is no known cure. All varieties of citrus are susceptible to this disease. The only way to protect our citrus trees is to prevent the spread of this pathogen, and by destroying any that are infected.

What’s happening in California?

California grows 80% of America’s fresh citrus. We have about 267,000 acres of Golden State oranges, lemons,

grapefruits and mandarins that are at stake. This is why citrus greening is a major concern for all of us.

The Asian citrus psyllid is widely distributed throughout Southern California. It is also becoming more widespread in the Central Valley, and further north. The first tree with citrus greening was found at a home garden in Los Angeles County, in March of 2012. A few years later, it was found at residences in Orange County. In 2017, the disease began to spread rapidly in these areas. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) had to remove and destroy the trees that were found to be infected.


The Asian citrus psyllid and the citrus greening disease originated in eastern Asia or the Indian subcontinent. It then spread to other parts of the world where citrus is grown.

The Asian psyllids were first sighted in the United States in 1998. They were found on backyard plantings of orange jessamine, in Palm Beach County, Florida. The disease spread rapidly over a three-year period, throughout Florida.

The first infected tree found in California is believed to have been the result of illegal grafting of an infected bud (taking plant tissue from one tree and inserting it into another to form a new branch). That tree was destroyed to

help stop the spread of the disease.

Since that time, other infected trees have been found in southern California residential areas. This may have been caused by people illegally importing diseased trees, illegal grafting of infected budwood, or the natural spread of the bacterium by the psyllid.


Adult Asian citrus psyllids are small brownish winged insects. About the size of an aphid, they are 1/6 to 1/8 inch long. They have a pointed front end, red eyes, and short antennae. The wings are mottled brown around the outer edge except where a clear stripe breaks up the pattern at the back.

Emergency Citrus Disease Research & Extension Program

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture is supporting scientists at UC Riverside, the University of Florida, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service.

UC Riverside received an emergency grant of $1.5 million. Their focus will be on a search for plants that have a natural tolerance of citrus greening.

“If you find a disease affecting your crops, a good first step is to look for plants that are able to grow and produce despite infection,” said UCR geneticist Danelle Seymore. “Then you can start to identify the genetic basis of the disease tolerance and make sure the next generation of plants includes these genes.”

Seymore and UCR plant pathologist, Philippe Rolshausen, will start by examining a set of 350 citrus hybrids developed and grown by project collaborators in Florida. All of the trees in this set are already infected with citrus greening disease, yet they live longer, are healthier, and yield more fruit than their infected relatives.

Let’s all hope their research will lead to a successful solution.

How you can protect your citrus trees

The Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program recommends these tips to protect citrus trees:

  • Inspect your trees for the Asian citrus psyllid and citrus greening monthly, and whenever watering, spraying, pruning or tending trees. If the disease is spotted, call the CDFA hotline at (800) 491-1899 immediately.
  • Do not move citrus plants, leaves, or foliage into or out of the quarantine area or across state or international borders. Keep it local!
  • As part of tree care, visit your local nursery or garden center to get advice on products that can help protect citrus trees from the Asian citrus psyllid.
  • Recommendations on managing the Asian citrus psyllid can be found by visiting the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources website.
  • Buy citrus trees from licensed, local nurseries and only use registered budwood.
  • Cooperate with agricultural officials placing insect traps, inspecting trees and treating for the pest.
  • Be sure to dry out citrus clippings or double bag them before disposing the plant material.
  • If you no longer wish to care for your citrus tree, consider removing it so it does not become a host to the pest or disease.