Citrus greening disease takes USA by a storm!!!

indexThe Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri, is a sap-sucking, hemipteran bug in the family Psyllidae.It is an important pest of citrus as it is one of only two confirmed vectors of the serious citrus disease, Huanglongbing  abbreviated as HLB or greening disease.  It is widely distributed in southern Asia and has spread to other citrus growing regions. The Asian citrus psyllid originated in Asia but it is now also found in parts of the Middle East, South and Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. In the United States, this psyllid was first detected in Florida in 1998 and is now also found in Louisiana, Georgia and South Carolina.

The Asian citrus psyllid is a four-millimeter-long brown insect that feeds on the stems and leaves of citrus trees. The adult pysllid  is about four millimetres long with a fawn and brown mottled body and a light brown head. It is covered with a whitish, waxy secretion which makes it look dusty. The fore wings are broadest at the back and have a dark edging around the periphery with a pale gap near the apex. The antennae  are pale brown with black tips. It typically adopts a head down, tail up posture as it sucks sap.

Psyllid nymphs are found on new shoots of citrus trees. 1As they feed, they produce a toxin that causes the plant tips to die back or become contorted, preventing the leaves from expanding normally. Of more importance is the fact that they are vectors for the bacteria that causes one of the most devastating of citrus diseases, Huanglongbi ng. This is also called as citrus greening disease. The Asian citrus psyllid can fly short distances and be carried by the wind. However, a main way the Asian citrus psyllid spreads throughout the state is by people transporting infested plants or plant material. The Asian citrus psyllid feeds on all citrus trees, including orange, lemon, lime, mandarin, pomello, kumquat, grapefruit and tangerine trees. It also feeds on some relatives of citrus, like orange jasmine and curry leaves.

Citrus greening is one of the most serious citrus plant diseases in the world. It is also known as Huanglongbing (HLB) or yellow dragon disease. Once a tree is infected, there is no cure. While the disease poses no threat to humans or animals, it has devastated millions of acres of citrus crops throughout the United States and abroad. The disease was first described in 1929 and first reported in China in 1943. It has seriously affected Taiwan since 1951. The African variation was first reported in 1947 in South Africa , where it is still widespread. The disease has affected crops in China , Taiwan, India 

d1This disease is distinguished by the common symptoms of yellowing of the veins and adjacent tissues; followed by yellowing or mottling of the entire leaf; followed by premature defoliation, dieback of twigs, decay of feeder rootlets and lateral roots, and decline in vigor; and followed by, ultimately, the death of the entire plant. Affected trees have stunted growth, bear multiple off-season flowers, and produce small, irregularly-shaped fruit with a thick, pale peel that remains green at the bottom. Fruit from these trees tastes bitter. ACP nymphs can only survive on the new flush tips of citrus.  Because they produce a toxin, the flush tips die back or become twisted and the leaves do not expand normally. HLB causes asymmetrical blotchy mottling of leaves. Fruit from HLB-infected trees are small, lopsided, poorly colored, and contain aborted seeds. The juice from affected fruit is low in soluble solids, high in acids and abnormally bitter.  The fruit retains its green color at the navel end when mature, which is the reason for the name citrus greening disease .  The fruit is of no value because of poor size and quality.  There is no cure for the disease and rapid tree removal is critical for prevention of spread.

“The [Asian citrus psyllid] is of grave concern because it can carry the disease huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening,” the California Department of Food and Agriculture, or CDFA, said in a press release . “All citrus and closely related species are susceptible hosts for both the insect and the disease. There is no cure once a tree becomes infected.”

University of Florida estimated  that between 2007 and 2012, the state lost 6,600 jobs, direct revenue of $1.3 billion and indirect revenue of $3.6 billion due to citrus greening disease. 

This disease has caused continued mayhem in the citrus industry year after year. Since the psyllid arrived in Southern California in 2008, the citrus nursery industry has been in a tizzy! Florida, the world’s largest orange grower after Brazil , will harvest 121 million boxes of the fruit in the season that began Oct. 1, 2013 the fewest since 1990, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates.

Let us take a look at the below news article:

Florida Orange Juice Industry Squeezed by Citrus Disease

Colleen Casey |

December 26, 2013

An insect — no bigger than the head of a pin — is wreaking havoc on the Florida orange industry. The Asian citrus psyllid is responsible for spreading citrus greening across the state, all of which is under quarantine for the disease. Citrus greening, also known as Huanglongbing, causes oranges to turn green, grow misshapen, and take on a sour taste. Infected citrus trees normally die within a few years.

Already, the forecasts for orange harvests in Florida are down. According to the December data by the United States Department of Agriculture, Florida orange production is expected to be 3 percent lower than November’s numbers. Hale Groves, a florida based citrus grower , says that the citrus industry in Florida accounts for more than 75,000 jobs, and is worth $10 billion annually. In the U.S., citruses, including oranges, grown in Florida supply 70 percent of the market, and is second only to Brazil in terms of growing oranges. Florida’s dominance in the orange juice market is even more impressive, with the state producing 90 percent  of the U.S.’s supply.

Recognizing the severity of impact  a devastated orange market can produce, the USDA announced a multi-agency response. ”USDA listened to the citrus industry’s request for more urgency and greater coordination on the response to HLB and is implementing an emergency response structure,” Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said in a statement To jump start this initiative and affirm our commitment to industry, USDA is also providing $1 million to be used in support of research projects that can bring practical and short-term solutions to the growers in their efforts to combat this disease.” Companies, like the Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo, Inc.will feel the impact of a limited orange market as well. This year, the USDA expects  121.0 million boxes of oranges will be produced by Florida. If this is the case, it will be a 9 percent year-over-year decrease.

PepsiCo, so far, does not appear to have been affected. ”The chilled juice business as well, both in terms of base Tropicana as well as the innovation that we have with Tropicana Farm stand and Trop50, all continue to perform well,” the company’s Executive Vice President and CFO Hugh Johnston said in PepsiCo’s 2013 third quarter earnings call. In 2012, the U.S imported 2.3 billion in oranges  and orange-related products with the top supplier being Brazil. It is possible that imports will offset any issues for corporations, leaving the growers to be the main sufferers of the damaging effects of citrus greening.

Florida, however, isn’t the only orange juice market that has recently experienced issues. Coca-Cola, the parent company of Minute Maid and Simply Orange, incurred losses in 2012 due to Brazilian orange juice. The company discovered in 2011 that carbendazim residues were in orange juice Coca-Cola was importing from Brazil. Carbendazim is a fungicide not registered for use in the U.S. As a result, the company had to purchase additional Florida orange juice, which costs more than Brazilian. Charges to Coca-Cola during the nine months ended September 28, 2012 associated with the changes totaled $21 million.

HLB can kill a citrus tree in as little as five years,d2 and there is no known cure. The only way to protect trees is to prevent spread of the HLB pathogen in the first place, by controlling psyllid populations and removing and destroying any infected trees. Conventionally used toxic pesticides have been of little help. In this scenario of growing despair, Termirepel™ a product by C Tech Corporation can prove to be a worthy solution. Termirepel™ which by nature is a non-toxic, non-hazardous and eco-friendly termite aversive is also highly effective against a host of other insects and pests. It works by the mechanism of repellence, through which it will work at protecting the trees from this deadly pathogen by repelling the vector i.e. psyllid from the citrus trees. This will in turn contain the spread of the pathogen among the trees. Termirepel™ is available in the form of a liquid concentrate that can be diluted in a favorable medium and sprayed on the trees as well as around them.

Wood borer attack in Surrey!

images (1)The term wood boring beetle encompasses many species and families of beetles whose larval  or adult forms eat and destroy wood. In the woodworking industry, larval stages of some are sometimes referred to as woodworms . The three most abundant species families of wood boring beetles are longhorn beetles, bark beetles and weevils, and metallic flat-headed borers.

Wood boring beetles most often attack dyingimages or dead trees. In forest settings, they are important in the turnover of trees by culling weak trees, thus allowing new growth to occur. They are also important as primary decomposers of trees within forest systems, allowing for the recycling of nutrients locked away in the relatively decay-resilient woody material of trees. Though the vast majority of woodboring beetles are ecologically important and economically benign, some species can become economic pests by attacking relatively healthy trees or by infesting downed trees in lumber yards. Species such as the Asian longhorn beetle and the emerald ash borer are examples of invasive species that threaten nature forest ecosystems.

downloadAbout three hundred different species of wood-boring beetles are known as occurring in our domestic woodwork indoors, but of these only seven are of frequent occurrence, and it is to the larval or grub stage that we apply the description ‘woodworm’. Woodboring beetles are commonly detected a few years after new construction. The lumber supply may have contained wood infected with beetle eggs or larvae, and since beetle life cycles can be one or more years, several years may pass before the presence of beetles becomes noticeable. If you have an infestation of woodboring beetles, it is best to consult a professional entomologist  before contacting an exterminator. In many cases, the beetles will be of a type that only attacks living wood, and thus incapable of “infesting” any other pieces of wood, or doing any further damage. In other words, only some types of beetles should be of concern to a homeowner or a household (see list below), and exterminators may be unable or unwilling to make this distinction.

Genuine infestations are far more likely in areas with high humidity, such as poorly-ventilated crawl spaces. Housing with central heating/air-conditioning tends to cut the humidity of wood in the living areas to less than half of natural humidity, thus strongly reducing the likelihood of an infestation. Infested furniture should be removed from the house before the infestation spreads.

You might see other wood-boring beetles such as flat headed or round headed  borers and bark or ambrosia beetles in your home if you store infested firewood inside. However, these typically are forest insects that won’t attack wood structures or furniture. They begin their life cycles on declining trees that are old or that have sustained fire or insect damage. Sometimes these forest insects are present in trees when they are milled into wood products, and they might cause alarm when they emerge from infested wood used in newly constructed buildings.

Let us look at the below news article:

Fears over possible spread of highly destructive beetle centered around Surrey

2:00 am Sunday 23rd March 2014 

A national trade body has raised fears of the possible spread of a “voracious” wood-destroying beetle apparently centered around Surrey.

The Property Care Association (PCA) has opened a register to track any reported sightings of the House Longhorn Beetle.

The insect can cause severe structural damage to properties.

Experts from the association are keeping a watching brief and have urged their members across the UK to report any sightings of the insect.

The move comes as the trade body fears changing weather patterns could provide a more fertile environment for the beetle to spread across the UK.

The PCA has called the impact the House Longhorn Beetle can have on property “devastating,” as it attacks the sapwood in softwood timber. Steve Hodgson, chief executive of the PCA, which represents UK specialists in the remedial preservation sector, said: “We are picking up the reins of a study last completed ten years ago.”

He said: “Over the years there have been reports of the Longhorn House Beetle centred around the Surrey area, and now there is concern that our changing climate could enable the beetle to spread.”

He continued: “It’s a voracious pest and, left untreated, can even cause roofs to collapse. “We need to know where it is in the UK, and plot any sightings.”

Mr. Hodgson added: “The information will be collected and a report published annually in an attempt to map the spread and distribution of this highly destructive insect in the face of our changing climate.”

The PCA incorporates the British Wood Preserving and Damp-proofing Association (BWPDA), which has been in formation for 80 years.

It represents the UK’s structural repair sector, as well as the structural waterproofing, wood preservation, damp-proofing, flood remediation and invasive weed control industries

The article shows the immense potential of these beetles for causing damage worth thousands of dollars! Our precious and many a times antiquated wood is at threat from these notorious borers.

A fool proof way of dealing with these is the use of Termirepel™, a non-toxic, non-hazardous and eco-friendly termite and insect repellent manufactured by C Tech Corporation. Termirepel™ works by the mechanism of repellence by which it strives at effectively keeping the termites and other insects away from the application to be protected. Termirepel™ is available in the form of a lacquer which can be applied on wooden articles directly. It offers complete protection for long periods of time. It is also available in liquid concentrate form which can be directly pressure injected in the wooden articles ensuring protection from beetles and other insects.


Termite damage: monetary gloom

imagesHome is where the heart is might be true, but not always. Termites are a breed of nasty insects that can threaten the structural integrity of the very house we live in. Termites are wood feeders and they ravage anything containing cellulose. Wood is by far termites’ favorite food of all time. Moreover they eat 24*7, thus increasing their potential for causing damage by leaps and bounds. The after effects of termite damage are seen in various sectors and application.

Termites attack in groups and feed on any form of cellulose especially wood. This little bit of trivia makes us realize that almost everything around us is susceptible to a termite attack. Termites always seek for moisture filled places and therefore basements and the space under wooden boards are their favorable infestation places. Termite damage often looks similar to water damage. Outward signs of termite damage include buckling wood, swollen floor sand ceilings, areas that appear to be suffering from slight water damage and visible mazes within walls or furniture. Termite infestations also can exude a scent similar to mildew or mold. Dry wood termite infestations may only become apparent after a colony has burrowed so deeply into an infested item that the veneer cracks and the maze-like tunnels beneath become visible. Such damage is common in antique furniture pieces. Termite infestations are rampant all over the world.

Let us look at the following news article:

Builder to pay $98,000 over termite damage to home

Vanessa Marsh

18th Sep 2013 6:00 AM

A Woodgate builder has been ordered to pay a client almost $100,000 after their home suffered severe termite damage due to “faulty construction”.

A WOODGATE builder has been ordered to pay a client almost $100,000 after their home suffered severe termite damage due to “faulty construction”.

In November 2001, Martha and Todd Tracey hired licensed builder Rodney Wagner to build a low set brick veneer home on a concrete slab on their block of land in Woodgate.

“While the builder was the company Olindaridge, the construction was carried out by Mr Wagner and of course the builder’s subcontractors,” a judgement by Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) member David Lewis said.

“One of those was Termimesh – its role was to install a product called termimesh around the perimeter of the slab, and to penetrations in the slab.”

In 2008, the Tracey’s noticed “odd things” about their Woodgate house.

“The cornices were dropping in places, and doors were binding,” Mr Lewis said.

“They did not understand the problem. However in September that year they discovered what looked like dirt coming out of the walls, and contacted another builder, a Mr Keith Morgan, who lived nearby.

Mr Morgan investigated and found live termites in the wall between the main bedroom and the ensuite. He advised them to contact a pest control contractor.”

The couples were unable to contact Termimesh so they engaged Victory Pest Control who treated termites in the bedroom wall and placed a chemical barrier around the perimeter but this did not solve the problem and they had to return eight times between September 2008 and May 2010.

Mr Lewis was presented with evidence of two possible points of entry by the termites.

“A very considerable body of evidence points to the ensuite shower floor and the vent pipe as being the points of entry for the termites,” he said.

“The only evidence (as opposed to speculation) to the contrary is Mr Wagner’s statement that there were no holes visible in the shower recess at the time of construction. Given that this is contrary to the established facts, it must be discounted.

“This tribunal must decide on the balance of probabilities, not on scientific certainty. On that basis the evidence is all one way, and I find that these two points are the entry points for the termites and that such entry has resulted from faulty construction.”

Mr Lewis said the home had been “extensively damaged”.

“A number of rooms are affected, and the engineers confirm that in some respects the structural integrity of the walls has been compromised to the extent that they should be replaced,” he said.

Mr Lewis ordered Mr Wagner pay Mr and Mrs Tracey $98,600 within 28 days from the judgement date of August 5.

The above article just illustrates the extent of damage these inconspicuous creatures can cause if over looked. A termite infestation is extremely difficult to counter and takes a long time to do so.

Thus an effective solution needs to be formulated to keep these creatures from giving us any further grief. Avoidance is a better solution than treatment in his case, as it is very difficult to save a piece of wood once it has been attacked by termites. The right and smart thing to do would be to keep them away from our precious wood. This is effectively achieved by Termirepel™ a non-toxic, aversive termite repellant which keeps the termites away while at the same time not killing them.



Why should termites decide the house we buy?

images (3)Termites can seriously damage the structure of a house or building.  Years ago, it was considered sufficient to have only a termite inspection performed before purchasing real estate.  If there was no evidence of an active termite infestation, it was assumed that the building had no termite damage or structural damage.  In some cases, there was serious termite damage to the structure of the building.

Termites feed on wood and serve an important function by converting dead trees into organic matter.  Termites (sometimes called white ants) have microorganisms in their digestive system that help digest cellulose.  Although termites are soft-bodied insects, their hard jaws bite off small fragments of wood.  As the termites feed on the wood in buildings, they can cause serious structural damage.

Wood is one of the oldest friends of man and is always found in proximity to them in the imagesform of bed, dinner table, chairs, grandfather’s clock, grandpa’s arm chair and many more. Loving and decorating our homes with wooden furniture is fine but protecting them from some of the vile species is of utmost importance. Species which were meant to help environment by giving a hand in biodegradation of wood have actually now become a big menace. Termites attack healthy wood and have the capability to turn them into dust.

images (1)They are a major threat to our home as they have the capability to ruin the entire house by damaging it. Today, people before buying the house are more interested in knowing if the house is termite proof rather than the structural beauty of the house. Let’s take a look at the following article;

Termite damage holds power over home contracts

OCTOBER 12, 2013

THEY may only be tiny but termites hold huge power over home contracts with nearly three quarters of Australians saying they would immediately disregard a property if they were found.

A June survey for pest control company Rentokil showed 74 per cent of respondents would definitely cross a home off their list if it had termites and a further 16 per cent would probably do so.

Rentokil national technical manager Simon Lean said he was surprised by the strong reaction.

“It might only be a little nibble here and there, not structurally damaging, but people get very worried about it,” he said.

He was less surprised, however, by the perceived drop in value for termite-affected homes.

Fifty-four per cent of survey respondents believed homes with termites would lose at least 25 per cent of their value.

download“Serious problems, where suddenly you’re losing $100,000-plus off the property, that’s where the current owners haven’t had an annual termite inspection,” Mr Lean said.

He said buyers who didn’t have a pre-purchase inspection were making a big mistake.

“You could be buying a hell of a lot of problems that you just wouldn’t be aware of,” he said.

Compass Building and Pest Inspections manager Peter Ranchow said Queensland homebuyers had become increasingly pest-savvy in the past decade.

“There are more properties now being sold with an inspection than 10 years ago,” he said.

“Whether that’s driven by the lending societies or solicitors, it appears 99 out of 100 are getting them done now.”

But he said the vendors, as much as the buyers, should be on top of the issue.

“I suggest the seller gets a pre-sale report, knows the condition of the home, then can market it accordingly,” he said.

“It gives them a chance to address the issues before they put the property to market.”

He said a pest inspection, which costs about $500 combined with a building inspection, might also save them the heartache and lost time of a contract falling through down the track.

Homebuyer Ricky Michaels said he would recommend a pest inspection to everybody after recently pulling out of a contract in Middle Park when termites were found.

“I was going to purchase it and they found it was pretty bad with white ants. They recommended for me not to buy it and after that I just pulled out,” he said.

“When you’re investing in a home, that’s the biggest asset a person has.

“You wouldn’t buy a car that only has two wheels.”

Mr Lean said Queensland was particularly susceptible to termite problems because of its warm climate, high rainfall and the popularity of slab-on-ground housing.

“They can be active in Queensland all year round simply because it never gets that cold,” he said.

Termite damage is not covered by home insurance.

The most ideal solution to remove the termite clause from the house contract is to make the house termite proof. The only product which capable making the house termite proof is Termirepel™.

Termirepel™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous and environment friendly product, with a high efficacy to repel insects like wood borers from the wood. Termirepel®™ is a multitasking product; along with wood borer it protects the wood from vicious termites, notorious carpenter ants and other insects. Termirepel™ in solution form can be injected at high pressure in the lumber so as to prevent the infestation. It is also available in lacquer form which can be applied on the furniture, patios, floor as coating so as to prevent further infestation.


Keeping bed bugs at bay!

downloadBed bugs are one of the most nuisance causing and annoying creatures ever. They reside in warm places in our homes especially in the bed and linen storage areas. They are blood suckers who venture out at night and attack us. A bedbug infestation even if a mild one at that is a cause for worry as it can be quite difficult to get rid of them.

Bed bugs are parasitic  insects of the cimicid  family that feed exclusively on blood. Cimex lectularius, the common bed bug, is the best known as it prefers to feed on human blood.images A number of adverse health effects may result from bed bug bites, including skin rashes , psychological effects, and allergic symptoms. Diagnosis involves both finding bed bugs and the occurrence of compatible symptoms. Bed bugs can cause a number of health effects, including skin rashes, psychological effects, and allergic symptoms. They are able to be infected by at least 28 human pathogens, but no study has clearly found that the insect is able to transmit the pathogen to a human being. Bed bug bites or cimicosis  may lead to a range of skin manifestations from no visible effects to prominent blisters.

There can be serious ill effects of a bed bug infestation. Let us look at the following article:

Bed Bugs Hitch Ride On Books, Prompt Library Fumigation

Rare Book Lover Banned From Library

Posted: 09/24/2009
Last Updated: 1416 days ago

Who knew bed bugs could be book worms?

The Denver Public Library had to quarantine and fumigate four areas at the main branch in just the past three weeks because of bed bugs. The tiny insect is being spread by a customer trying to preserve rare books, but ironically it’s because of his actions that the books now have to be destroyed.

“Some of the bed bugs fell out of those materials that had been returned,” said Denver Public Library spokeswoman Celeste Jackson.

The infected books came from 69-year-old Denver resident Roger Goffeney. He checks out historic books, some 200 years old, and helps archive them online in an effort called the Gutenberg Project.

When he brought a few of the rare books back, bed bugs from his downtown apartment hitched a ride. Goffeney said the landlord is to blame. Goffney lives at Cathedral Plaza, which is owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Denver.

“We’ve always had some kind of insect infestation, but it’s never been to this degree,” Goffeney said of the building where he lives.

Still, Goffeney said he didn’t think it was a big deal.

“I thought that they could easily be cleaned if they had discovered that to be the problem,” Goffeney said.

The library said the items with bedbugs were immediately quarantined and were not released into circulation, so it didn’t affect the public.

The library banned Goffeney three weeks ago and asked him to return the rest of the books to a secure drop.

Instead, the library said Goffeney returned the books a week later to the main book drop and reinfected the library.

The library said it had to destroy 31 books that Goffeney checked out. Now it wants him to pay as much as $12,000 for the rare books and $6,000 for fumigation costs.

“I have no intention of paying a dime,” the retired minister said.

“It’s disappointing that he would do that to his neighbors. It’s disappointing that he would do this to the community,” Jackson said.

Librarians said it could cost as much as $12,000 to replace the rare books they’ve had to destroy.

Goffeney said he’s considering filing a lawsuit to get his library privileges back.

download (1)One would have never thought that a thing as miniscule as a bed bug could ruin historic books of great importance and at the same time incur heavy monetary losses too.

To avoid recurrence of such an abominable event in the future, we should take care that the bedbugs are kept away from our priceless books. A sure shot way of achieving this would be using Termirepel™ which is a non-toxic, non-hazardous, eco-friendly product manufactured by C Tech Corporation. Termirepel™ works on a mechanism of repellence by which it strives at keeping the target insect such as bedbugs and termites away from your application. It is available in the form of a liquid as well as masterbatch.