Citrus growers on high alert for crop-killing disease

Yuma

Citrus growers on high alert for crop-killing disease

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YUMA, AZ (13 On Your Side) - These small insects are causing a big problem across the nation.

They're called Asian citrus psyllid and they can carry a disease than can wipe out citrus crops -completely. 
"The disease will enter the plant and we have not yet been able to find a way to stop it and it will kill the trees."
Dr. Glenn Wright, citrus specialist with the University of Arizona - extension in Yuma, says -disease carrying bug has already infected crops in California, Florida and Texas.
Even though it has not infected any here yet, citrus growers in Phoenix are keeping an eye out. 
"While we don't have the disease yet, one of these days one of those insects might be carrying it."
If citrus crops are infected in Arizona - the state could lose millions of dollars. According to the state Department of Agriculture, citrus brings in $37,000,000 a year. 
While this bug has been found in Yuma... none have been infected with the disease. So to prevent diseased bugs from making their way here, citrus specialists encourage the public to shop locally.
"Not to bring citrus into the area or take it out because Phoenix - for example - doesn't have the insect - and we do - and don't want the insect to be carried to Phoenix."
Still, state citrus growers will continue taking preventive measures. With the help of the USDA and the state Department of Agriculture,  they plan to have an area-wide spray later this year.
"They're going to spray everyone's groves within a short period of time - maybe 2-3 weeks and hopefully any of these insects that are in the commercial groves at that time will be able to kill them."