The insect’s arrival could ‘put the country’s entire citrus industry at risk of extinction’
An insect carrying deadly citrus diseases has been detected in Israel, the country’s agriculture ministry warned on Wednesday.
Asian citrus psyllid, or Diaphorina citri Kuwayama, is a known vector of citrus greening disease, which causes green, misshapen, bitter fruit and kills infected trees.
There is no treatment for trees infected with citrus greening disease.
The bug was found in the Emek Hefer region in the center of the country and confirmed by the laboratories of the Plant Protection Services of the Ministry of Agriculture.
Shlomit Zioni, director of the Ministry of Agriculture’s plant protection and inspection services, said in a statement that the insect could “put the entire citrus industry in the country at risk of extinction”.
However, she added, “Ministry inspectors are monitoring the situation and seeing positive results for the pest control operation.”
After identification of the pest, an extensive survey was carried out in the infected area, in other regions of the country and in specific forests.
An emergency meeting was organized by the Ministry of Agriculture, which led to the decision to spray the plots found infected with the insect. The plan will include spraying approximately 185 acres of orchards in the infected area.
The ministry has yet to identify how the virus first arrived in Israel.
“If we fail to eradicate the pest in this targeted operation, it will pose a real threat to the local citrus industry to the point of extinction, as has happened elsewhere in the world, as well as increasing the use of insecticides over the years. and across the country,” Zioni said.