Planting Seeds - Food & Farming News from CDFA

From Fresno Bee – New app helps with citrus disease fight

By Robert Rodriguez – The Fresno Bee

Tuesday, Apr. 10, 2012 | 07:09 PM

What to do if you spot a bug on your backyard citrus tree that you suspect is the dreaded Asian citrus psyllid?

Well, there is now an app for that.

A new iPhone application called “Save Our Citrus” is available for free on iTunes.

The app was created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a way to provide the public with a quick and easy way to get more information about the psyllid and the disease it can carry, huanglongbing (HLB).

An application platform compatible with Android smart phones is expected to be released soon.

Federal and state agriculture officials have been on heightened alert after California’s first case of HLB was detected in Hacienda Heights on March 30.

The app allows a homeowner to upload pictures of their own citrus trees and compare it to pictures of infected trees.

People also can report suspicious insects and tree symptoms to the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

There is also a link to the Save Our Citrus website and YouTube channel where people can watch videos about the insect and tree disease.

“We are very excited about the outreach potential this application has,” said Joel Nelsen, president of California Citrus Mutual.

“Every informed citrus tree owner is a huge step toward preventing HLB from devastating the California citrus industry as it has in Brazil, Mexico and Florida.”

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