The discoveries come on top of numerous psyllids from the Rio Grande Valley that have been tested and found positive for citrus greening, also known as huanglongbing.
Although the positive psyllids don’t result in regulatory action, they are a good indication that the disease is present in the area, according to the TexasCitrusGreening.org website.
Trent Bishop, a TexaSweet board member and sales manager with Mission-based Lone Star Citrus Growers, said he strongly supported the marketing group’s change in priorities.
“That’s not to say that in years to come we may not go back to the original intention of what TexaSweet was built for,” he said.
Efforts also focus on isolating any psyllids that are found, Hawkins said.
“On the research side, there hasn’t been a breakthrough, but we do have pretty good work going in terms of finding methodologies that may have promise in the future, with nursery stocks that have some resistance to the disease. I think it’s going pretty well in that regard,” he said.
Ongoing surveys have detected no other outbreaks, Hawkins said.
“We continue to look throughout the state in terms of surveying to find any other outbreaks, and it hasn’t found any new detections,” he said.
Worries about greening are widespread across the region, although Texas’ problems with the disease pale in comparison to Florida, Hawkins said.
“It’s been found in every citrus-producing county there,” he said.
Hopes are high that the problem eventually will be eradicated, Hawkins said.
“I think they’re doing all the right things and everything they can,” he said.
Jeffrey Arnold, salesman with the Edinburg, Texas-based Edinburg Citrus Association, said his organization is doing all it can to fight citrus greening, with regular spraying and monitoring.
“We remain cautiously optimistic, and are fortunate to have the (Texas Citrus Mutual) in direct communication with Florida in order to take advantage of catching this early enough to minimize the spread of greening,” Arnold said.