The Economics of the Control Strategies of HLB in Florida Citrus

A W Salifu, K Grogan, T. Spreen, F Roka


Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening, is a bacterial disease that affects all varieties of citrus. HLB was first discovered in Florida in 2005 and is now found in all counties where commercial citrus is produced. HLB bacteria are spread by a small leaf-feeding insect called the Asiatic citrus psyllid. The disease disrupts the phloem of the tree, causing the tree’s decline and limiting its ability to uptake nutrients. Initial symptoms of HLB include yellowing of leaves, premature fruit drop, and small, misshapen fruit that contain bitter juice with no economic value. At the present time, there are three available strategies to cope with HLB. Strategy 1 is to do nothing, allowing the disease to spread while taking no measures to slow its spread or mitigate its impact. Strategy 2 implements an aggressive psyllid control program and a scouting program to identify symptomatic trees. Once found, symptomatic trees are eradicated. Strategy 3 initiates a strong psyllid control program but suspends the scouting and infected tree removal program and instead treats the symptoms of HLB through foliar application of micro- and macronutrients. This paper seeks to determine the profitability of each strategy given average grove age, age at first detection, and annual rate of spread of HLB.


net present value, Gompertz, nutritionals, tree eradication

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283