Honeybeez blog

{April 19, 2010}   Yellow Dragon Attacks the USA

     I was just thinking about how much I love grapefruit and oranges and writing a post when I ran across an alarming article about the pulp which I have always consumed.  http://jvdi.org/cgi/reprint/12/3/269.pdf  Course this is an article from 2000.  I always eat the pulp because I thought it was the healthiest part of the fruit.  Now I have to find out if it’s even eatable any more.  The article is really scary.  Makes you think twice about eating beef too.  Yea how did I get from pulp to beef?  Keep reading……………..

     I remember how picky my dad always was about the feed and seed he bought for our home grown meats.  He was always searching for the best safest seed and feed.  He always wanted the real McCoy.  Natural grown feed and seed.  Course back then at my age I didn’t really understand what difference it made but I guess it stuck with me because I’m really a naturalist as much as civilized life allows these days.  My dad was very careful about what the animals ate because he feared eating a diseased animal.  He was a cook in the army so I guess he learned a lot about safe eating habits and or while growing up.  Now seeing this article about citrus pulp causing cattle to die while researching the benefits of pulp has me worried.  You have to wonder:

Where were these cattle?  What else did they eat?  Was their pasture sprayed with insecticide?  Were the citrus trees sprayed with insecticide?  Is it all better now?  What’s happening now with the citrus?  Is it safe to eat?  They determined in the article mentioned above written in 2000 that the culprit was plant toxicosis with the only variation in diet being citrus pulp 6 weeks prior to the first death.  Citrus pulp was commonly fed to cattle without adverse effect but reports of toxicity have emerged during the last 20 years from England and Holland.  http://jvdi.org/cgi/reprint/12/3/269.pdf

The Yellow Dragon attacks the United States of America

First noted in African citrus psyllid 1929, Brazil 1942 by Cost Lima, China in 1943, then 1947 in South Africa,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huanglongbing,  Likubin has seriously affected Taiwan since 1951, Catling 1970.  Saudi Arabia (Wooler et al. 1974)  USA 2000 ( Halbert 2001) Rio Grand Valley, Texas. http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/citrus/acpsyllid.htm

Distribution of CVPD is primarily in tropical and subtropical Asia. It has been reported in all citrus-growing regions in Asia except Japan. The disease has affected crops in China, Taiwan, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Pakistan, Thailand, the Ryukyu Islands, Nepal, Réunion, Mauritius, and Afghanistan. Areas outside Asia have also reported the disease: Saudi Arabia, Brazil and, since 1998, Florida in the U.S..

Citrus greening known by it’s Asia name huanglongbing or as Yellow Dragon Disease is a bacterial disease that attacks the heart of the plant.  The bacteria is usually spread by an insect Asian citrus psyllids.  The insect that carries the Asian strain of the disease was found for the first time in the U.S. in 1998 in Delray Beach, Florida but no citrus greening infection was found at that time.  

 By September of 2000 the pest had spread to 31 counties in Florida.  The disease is from the Southern Asia countries especially India where there has been a serious decline in citrus. 

October 2005 Article – Citrus Greening – Another Threat to Agriculture. http://okeechobee.ifas.ufl.edu/News%20columns/Citrus%20Greening%20Disease.htm  

By 2008 the disease had widely spread throughout Florida,  Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, and 32 counties of Texas,   Jefferson and Orleans Parishes, Louisiana. (USDA 2008a).


  • Florida: All counties in Florida.
  • Texas: Aransas, Atascosa, Bee, Bexar, Brazoria, Brooks, Caldwell, Cameron, Dimmit, Duval, Harris, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Kenedy, Kleberg, Live Oak, Matagorda, Maverick, McMullen, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Starr, Uvalde, Val Verde, Victoria, Waller, Washington, Webb, Willacy, and Zapata counties.
  • Guam: All islands of the Territory of Guam.
  • Hawaii: All islands of the State of Hawaii.
  • Puerto Rico: The entire Commonwealth.

The culprits appear to react like micro vampire bats clinging to the leaves of healthy plants and sucking out the sap, the life of the plant much as vampire bats suck out the blood of it’s victom leaving the plant greenless or yellow and lifeless. 

Hostess plants  http://www.doacs.state.fl.us/pi/chrp/greening/hostlist.pdf  12/2008 – largley spread through discount nurseries.  With a large percentage of transmission through plant grafting.  Where do discount nurseries get their plants?

March 2010 – What’s happening now with our diseased citrus trees:  Early detection, propagation and insect proof facilities will help but the disease is indurable. The most powerful long term management tool could be genetic engineering.  Reduceing the rate of the greening disease insect psyllid population by insecticide does  not help to slow down the disease.  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100323105956.htm The dramatic use of insecticides is tampered by the possible damage to natural enemy populations that keep the potential pest below damaging levels.  We don’t want to kill the bees.  This disease is a very serious problem threatening the citrus population of the world.  Too bad someone wasn’t trying to stop it before it spread so far.  First noted in at least 1942 in Brazil?   

I use to use soapy water on my plants to keep the bugs off.  Maybe something that simple just as the citrus become flush with new growth so the female psyllid can’t lay eggs could help.  Wonder if there is a way we can give the trees an antibiotic that will kill the psyllid?  Must be pretty expesnsive to keep insecticide on plants in tropical areas where it rains a lot and that’s where this greedy creature flourishes.

I always say we don’t know what we’re eating.  If the citrus rinds infected with disease can kill cattle in 2000, what’s it doing to humans?  http://skinsenseblog.wordpress.com/  see article “Citrus good inside and out”



et cetera