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Story in Brief

Citrus Greening is serious disease of citrus because it affects all citrus cultivars (orange, lemon, satsuma, grapefruit, etc.) and causes rapid decline of trees, usually leading to death. This disease was once localized primarily to groves in Florida but has since moved into Georgia via its vector, the Asian Citrus Psyllid, which spreads the disease from plant to plant by feeding on young succulent growth. The only reliable means of detection for the insect are (yellow) sticky card traps or visual scouting during periods of pest activity. Foliage, which displays the mottling characteristics, can be tested to provide an indication if the disease is present or not. Therefore, the need for tracking movement of this pest via trapping is paramount. UGA Extension has constructed a team of agents, led by the Bryan County Extension program, that has agreed to tackle this project. This team is tasked with deploying and distributing traps to homeowners and growers alike to monitor for the presence of the psyllid. Population levels of the Asian Citrus Psyllid in citrus groves can be estimated to time insecticide sprays and to track the movement of this pest in Georgia. The Bryan County agent created a team of 28 counties and 29 Extension agents across the Southeast and Southwest Districts, which have agreed to carry out trapping efforts in their county. He also secured funding for the project from the Citrus Growers Association. A total of 32 counties now have trapping efforts, spearheaded by UGA Extension, intended to track the movement and presence of ACP across Georgia. Four counties have identified the presence of either the psyllid, disease, or both in citrus plantings. Entering year three of this study, the data collected from this project will lead to an updated map of where psyllid has been found. Counties that have positively identified the problem can then send in samples to UGA Plant Pathology to be tested for Citrus Greening to proactively prepare Georgia citrus groves.